“The meetings have been going good,” Smith said of his virtual meetings with NFL teams. “Just getting in, talking and getting to know some of the coaches, just talking football is the best thing about it.”
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has a simple approach.
“It’s nothing that you have to worry about,” Smith said. “Just go in and be yourself. At the end of the day, you are talking football. It just feels like another day in the meeting room here at Alabama.”
Smith, who’s projected to be a top-10 pick, discussed his approach to sizing up cornerbacks.
“Really just seeing if they are comfortable with being in front of me,” Smith said. “You can look at some guys and tell if this is something they really want to do or if it’s something they really don’t want to do. That’s the first thing, seeing if they are really comfortable or not. Then eventually going along in the game and just finding things they are uncomfortable doing. Just keeping them uncomfortable.”
He followed with 42 catches for 693 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018 and 68 catches for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.
Last season, he caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns.
He waited his turn behind Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy.
“I think just being around here, not just me but everybody, when you come to a place like this, the people that are ahead of you, you kind of look up to them and soak in everything that they are doing,” Smith said.
Smith, who said he weighs 170 pounds, believes he’ll be fine in the NFL.
“I feel like there are high expectations for everybody that wins the Heisman,” Smith said. “Everybody expects you to do this and that. I have my individual goals.”
Smith, who’s from Amite, La., believes he can play inside or outside receiver in the NFL.
“I haven’t come this far to just stop,” Smith said. “The journey is not over. Just continuing to write my story. Just keep pushing through everything that I’ve been through, knowing that it’s a lot of people that say I’m not supposed to be here.”
He said last season that when he decided to return to college is when he thought he could become a top-10 prospect.
The Falcons hold the fourth overall pick, which is worth 1,800 points on the NFL Draft Trade Value Chart. Going by the chart, the Falcons could get a top-10 pick and a second-rounder for the No. 4 pick. However, recent trades, suggest the Falcons can get much more.
In 2018, the Cardinals gave up the 15th, 79th and 152nd picks to the Raiders for the 10th overall pick, which was used to draft UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
In 2016, in a trade with the Browns the Eagles gave up the eighth, 77th, 100th picks in 2016, a first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018 to move up to six spots to the second spot. They drafted Carson Wentz and also received a fourth-round pick in 2017.
So, in Mock 3.0, we have Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot trading back with the Denver Broncos and picking up a bushel of picks and drafting Penn State edge rusher Micah Parsons with the ninth overall pick.
So, here are the picks for the Mock Draft 3.0 (trades allowed):
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson, (QB, BYU)
3. San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance(QB, North Dakota State)
29: Green Bay Packers: Asante Samuel (CB, Florida State)
30: Buffalo Bills: Alex Leatherwood (OT, Alabama)
31: Kansas City Chiefs: Zaven Collins (LB, Tulsa)
32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Azeez Ojulari (DE, Georgia)
2. Dickerson on Falcons: Alabama center Landon Dickerson, one of the top players at his position in the draft, started his career at Florida State.
He was a graduate transfer last season.
“It really means a lot to me that I was able to be a part of not only a national championship winning team, but a Joe Moore award-winning offensive line, an Outland (Trophy) winning tackle and me receiving the (Dave) Rimington (award),” Dickerson said.
Dickerson said he’s talked with the Steelers, Falcons and Giants.
“Quinton Nelson is a guy I enjoy watching,” Dickerson said. “I like the way that he plays.”
He also likes former Falcons center Alex Mack and Tennessee tackle Taylor Lewan.
“The biggest thing just watching (Mack’s) game, he’s extremely smart and athletic,” Dickerson said. “He’s gifted. He does a great job of putting himself in situations where he knows he can win.”
3. Forristall on blocking: Alabama tight end Miller Forristall, who lost his quarterback spot at Cartersville High to some kid name Trevor Lawrence when he was a junior. He moved to tight end and also is an NFL prospect.
Forristall said he improved his inline blocking.
“That’s one of the reasons I came to Alabama,” Forristall said. “In recruiting, coach (Nick) Saban told me you do A, B, and C really well, but you (are bad) at blocking. That was one of the things. That was brutally honest and no one said that to me. He said come here and be the best version of yourself. I think in five years, we’ve come pretty darn close.”
Would he like to play for the Falcons?
“I haven’t heard from the Falcons much,” Forristall said. “I’ve looked a little bit at their offense and the way they use (the tight ends), but nothing in depth yet.”
4. Mingo signing. Falcons linebacker Barkevious Mingo played 390 snaps (36%) from scrimmage last season for the Bears and 374 special-teams snaps (82%).
He has played in seven playoff games, including Super Bowl LI, when he was with New England. He played 23 special-teams snaps against the Falcons that day and made two tackles in punt coverage.
5. Falcons fans vote. One fan asked me on the Real Talk sports show with Minister Jonathan Simmons if the Falcons were ready to make the playoffs after the recent free-agent signings.
The fans approved of adding running back Mike Davis and Mingo in my Twitter poll.
6. Falcons stay in touch with Johnson: Taeden Johnson, 12, was struck by tragedy when his family’s house in Athens caught on fire earlier this year.
Darqueze Dennard, CB: Played on a one-year contract in 2020.
Todd Gurley, RB: Unrestricted free agent (UFA).
Charles Harris, DE: Played on a one-year contract. Signed with Detroit.
Brian Hill, RB: Was a valuable special-teams player.
Justin McCray, OL: Was backup offensive line help. Set to sign two-year, $4 million deal with the Texans.
Steven Means, DE: Played in all 16 games and made 11 starts. Finished with three sacks.
Sharrod Neasman, FS: Solid backup and special-teams player.
LaRoy Reynolds, LB: Speedy special-teams player.
Edmond Robinson, LB: Provided quality depth while playing in 13 games in 2020.
Luke Stocker, TE: Blocking tight end who spent time with Arthur Smith and the Titans in 2017 and 2018.
Laquon Treadwell, WR: Played last season on a one-year contract. Made a couple of nice plays late in the season.
John Wetzel, OT: Basically has been veteran insurance at tackle.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB: Has provided quality depth at cornerback spot. Played in 15 games last season and had three interceptions
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Matt Gono, OL: $3.384 million, second-round tender March 15.
Brandon Powell, WR: No tender. Was the kickoff and punt returner last season. He’s now a free agent.
The team can place three levels of tenders on these players for a non-guaranteed one-year deal. Other teams can sign an RFA to an offer sheet, with the current team having a chance to match, or a team can allow the player to leave and receive draft compensation based on the tender level.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
Younghoe Koo, PK: Signed March 11.
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, DE: Signed March 11.
Tyler Hall, CB: Signed March 11.
Christian Blake, WR: Signed March 11.
Jaeden Graham, TE: Signed March 12.
9. Updated depth chart: Here’s a look at the Falcons’ updated depth chart after Davis and Mingo agreed to terms:
WR 11 Julio Jones, 13 Christian Blake
LT 70 Jake Matthews
LG 73 Matt Gono, 66 Willie Wright
C 61 Matt Hennessy
RG 63 Chris Lindstrom
RT 76 Kaleb McGary, 72 Willie Beavers
TE 81 Hayden Hurst, Lee Smith, 87 Jaeden Graham
WR 83 Russell Gage, 16 Greg Dortch
WR 18 Calvin Ridley
QB 2 Matt Ryan
HB Mike Davis, 25 Ito Smith, 30 Qadree Ollison, 26 Tony Brooks-James
FB 40 Keith Smith
DE 91 Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 90 Marlon Davidson, 94 Deadrin Senat
DT 96 Tyeler Davison, 50 John Cominsky, 79 Chris Slayton
D. Orlando Ledbetter, Esq is the award-winning Atlanta Falcons beat writer for the newspaper, has been on the staff since 2003. Every day D. Orlando strives to provide inside in the Falcons and the NFL. He finds the most joy in providing insight into the team, the coaching moves, the offseason business moves, the draft and the games.