AJC Mock Draft 2.0: Jalen Carter drops to the Falcons

Georgia's defensive lineman Jalen Carter runs in front of coaches and scouts. (Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Georgia's defensive lineman Jalen Carter runs in front of coaches and scouts. (Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

PHOENIX — The Steelers, who are set to pick 17th in the NFL draft, are one of the better drafting teams in the NFL. They have not had a losing season since they were 6-10 in 2003.

They have won two Super Bowls and made 12 playoff appearances since the 2003 season.

Coach Mike Tomlin, who’s been the head coach since 2007, plays a big role in helping shape his roster. He’s all business on the Pro Day circuit and is a regular at Georgia’s Pro Day. I remember him fussing at us media guys to get out of the 40-yard dash line at Matthew Stafford’s Pro Day in 2009.

That was when the scouts and the media co-mingled. Now, there are roped-off sections at Georgia, Auburn and Alabama. Tomlin was at Alabama’s Pro Day this year, too.

“We are really just interested in the things that you can’t see on (videotape),” Tomlin said Monday at the NFL owners’ meeting. “Those are the intangible qualities, the relationship things that really make teams go. We are pretty intentional about unearthing as much information in those areas as we can.”

Tomlin was asked what was his favorite part about draft preparation.

“I love it all to be honest with you,” Tomlin said. “I think it probably starts with the tape; it has to. My preference is to be familiar with someone on tape before I’m familiar with them (as a person).

“The tape is important. The tape is all of our calling cards. The tape is the player’s calling card, collectively and individually. It’s our calling card as coaches, collectively and individually. We better have a mindset that gears toward to the tape and what’s on it.”

The draft is scheduled for April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot instructed media members not to put too much stock into who the team brings in for visits and who it is not bringing in. The Falcons also go to private workouts.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is set to visit the Falcons, according to NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe. We asked Fontenot about the quarterback group.

“There are some good players there, and you’re not going to be surprised if before we even pick a lot of those guys fly off the board,” Fontenot said. “Maybe there is a player sitting there for us. You just don’t really know how it’s going to go. You really (must) prepare for everything.

“That’s why we bring players in to visit, and we spend as much time as we can with them. Sometimes we go out and see them. Sometimes we bring them in and just do it a different way.

“You can never look at what we do leading up to the draft and think (that’s their guy) because you just never know. We want to spend as much time and exhaust every option. There are some good quarterbacks, different flavors in this draft.”

So, on to the Mock Draft 2.0, the Panthers will get things started by taking former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, and things will get rolling from there.

We have Georgia’s Jalen Carter slipping past Seattle at five and Detroit at six. Then Richardson goes to the Raiders. The Falcons are on the clock, and they drop their Gates BBQ sandwich in Kansas City to rush to the stage with the Carter pick.

Here’s how Mock 2.0 unfolds:

Note: There are only 31 picks this year because the Dolphins had to forfeit their pick for violating integrity-of-the-game rules.

Here’s how the first round will unfold:

1. Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State – Panthers coach Frank Reich’s history with taller quarterbacks kind of rules out Bryce Young.

2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama – They can sit at No. 2 and get their quarterback.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., DE, Alabama – The Bears bailed out of the top pick, which left Anderson available for the Cardinals.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

4. Indianapolis Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky – They’ll be impressed with Levis’ arm talent.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech – The Seahawks add a piece for the defense.

6. Detroit Lions: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson – The Lions get some interior help to go with the outside rushers they picked up in the last draft in Aidan Hutchinson and James “Da Problem” Houston VI.

7. Las Vegas Raiders: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida – CBS analyst Charles Davis compared him favorably with Cam Newton.

8. Falcons: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia – Veterans Grady Jarrett, Calais Campbell and David Onyemata can show him the way.

9. Chicago Bears: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern – The Bears must improve the blocking for Justin Fields.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State – The Eagles value the trenches.

11. Tennessee Titans: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia – The Titans must rebuild their offensive line.

12. Houston Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State – Another Buckeyes receiver coached by Brian Hartline.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

13. New York Jets: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh – A version of Aaron Donald to anchor the defense

14. New England Patriots: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida – His physical style of play will fit in with the Pats.

15. Green Bay Packers: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa – The Packers look to improve their pass rush.

16. Washington Commanders: Nolan Smith, LB, Georgia – He moved up from No. 31. Teams like how he destroys blockers and gets to the ball.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State – Easiest pick in the mock draft.

18. Detroit Lions: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois – Could develop into a lockdown corner.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee – The Bucs must replace left tackle Donovan Smith.

20. Seattle Seahawks: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU – The Seahawks add an offensive weapon after going defense early.

21. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon – He started his career at Colorado and finished strong in a season with the Ducks.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

22. Baltimore Ravens: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia – Had the iconic interception in the national title-game win over Alabama, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at the combine.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina – The Vikings must revamp their secondary.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas – Strong runner who would help Trevor Lawrence’s play-action passes.

25. New York Giants: Jordan Addison, WR, USC – After paying quarterback Daniel Jones, they need to give him a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

26. Dallas Cowboys: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama – The Cowboys get a replacement for Ezekiel Elliott. Gibbs should take some pressure off quarterback Dak Prescott.

27. Buffalo Bills: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College – They get some help for Josh Allen and insurance for Stefon Diggs, if he keeps pouting about not getting the ball.

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia – The Bengals get a big target for Joe Burrow to go with his fleet of wide receivers.

29. New Orleans Saints: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah – He’s considered the best receiving tight end in the draft.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Brian Branch, CB/S, Alabama – “I feel like I’m versatile,” said Branch, who played at Sandy Creek High. “I can play anywhere in the back end.”

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame – Travis Kelce, who turns 34 in October, gets an understudy.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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