D. Led’s mock draft 2.0: Falcons select Florida’s C.J. Henderson

Caption
5 cornerback targets for Falcons in 2020 NFL Draft

On our path to the NFL draft, here’s the second mock draft from Atlanta Journal-Constitution Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter. The draft is set for April 23-25.

The dust has settled after free agency and there’s some roster clarity for the Falcons heading into the NFL draft, which will be held remotely April 23-25 under the firm orders of commissioner Roger Goodell.

The Falcons, who pick 16th overall, still must address cornerback, pass rush and the offensive line in the draft.

The Falcons unceremoniously cut their No.1 cornerback Desmond Trufant and didn’t replace him. Isaiah Oliver, who had a streaky second season, and Kendall Sheffield, who had a strong rookie season, don’t appear ready for the promotion to top cornerback.

That’s why the Falcons will select Florida’s C.J. Henderson with the 16th overall pick.

The Falcons didn’t address the offensive line which gave up 50 sacks and 135 quarterback hits and couldn’t run the ball last season. The Falcons cut backup tackle Ty Sambrailo and signed a potential backup guard/center in Justin McCray, who’s also played some left and right tackle.

So, they are counting on right guard Chris Lindstrom, center Alex Mack and left guard James Carpenter to all be healthy. They are counting on right tackle Kaleb McGary to not be a turnstile after he gave up a league-leading 13 sacks last season and are expecting left tackle Jake Matthews to step it up a bit after giving up eight sacks.

The Falcons must get a guard/center prospect, but may be able to get LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry in the second round.

The pass rush move for them is to pick up the phone and call David Caldwell in Jacksonville and get the No. 9 pick to select South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.

The Jaguars pick is worth 1,350 points on the trade value chart. The Falcons’ pick is worth 1,000 points so there is a 350 point gap. The Falcons already traded one of their second-round picks to the Ravens. The 55th pick was worth exactly 350 points.

The Falcons remaining second-round pick (47th) is worth 430 points, but they need to keep that one to get the guard/center.

Perhaps Caldwell will take a third and next year’s second since they appear to be tanking for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Here’s how the first round will shake out:

1. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: He led the Tigers to the national champion with a spectacular season.

2. Washington Redskins (3-13) – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State: He's the top pass rusher in the draft.

3. Detroit Lions (3-12-1) – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State: Look for a trade here. The Lions could trade back with the Chargers and still get Okudah if the Chargers are looking to move up in front of Miami to get Tua Tagovailoa.

4. New York Giants (4-12) – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson: The versatile defender can play all over the field for the Giants.

5. Miami Dolphins (5-11) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: The Dolphins' alleged "Tanking for Tua" plans would be rewarded. They'd have their quarterback of the future and can allow him to get healthy while playing behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for a year. He pronounced himself 100% healthy on ESPN's SportsCenter on Thursday.

6. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon: Look for the move up here. They are not seriously looking to play Tyrod Taylor next season.

7. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn: He was a force at Lanier High and at Auburn. He can help to anchor the Panthers' defense.

Caption
Former Auburn star and metro Atlanta native Derrick Brown looks forward to life in the NFL. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter)

8. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia: He was the winner of the SEC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy, UGA's first recipient of the award in 21 years. He was an All-SEC first-team selection by the coaches and the Associated Press. He was a key player on Georgia teams that won 11 or more games three consecutive seasons, won three consecutive SEC Eastern Division titles, and played in three consecutive New Year's Six Bowl game (2018 Rose, 2019 Sugar, 2020 Sugar). He was selected as a member of the AJC Super 11 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2016.

» MORE: Andrew Thomas plans to keep making music in the NFL

9. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina: Kinlaw, who's 6-foot-6 and 309 pounds, can play all spots along the defensive line. He's probably too big to drop into coverage as a 3-4 outside linebacker, though. "He's so versatile because he's so big and athletic," Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said. "You can move him all over the place."

» ALSO: Kinlaw sees the light at the end of the tunnel

10. Cleveland Browns (6-10) – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa: The Browns signed Jack Conklin in free agency, but still need another tackle.

11. New York Jets (7-9) – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville: He was the talk of the combine with his fast 40-yard dash time. At 364 pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 5.1 seconds.

12. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama: The Raiders settle the debate on who's the top receiver in the draft, Jeudy or Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. "I think you can make a case for either guy," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "Jerry Jeudy, you're going to get a little bit more separation. You're going to get a little bit more route polish, which you could say that fits (Las Vegas coach Jon) Gruden really well. I think he's going to play primarily inside. I think he's going to be a slot."

13. San Francisco 49ers (from 7-9 Indianapolis Colts) - Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama: The 49ers have to replace Emmanuel Sanders, who was running the deep routes for them last season. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will know how to use Ruggs' speed.

Caption
Former University of Georgia offensive lineman Andrew Thomas discusses his prospects for the NFL. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter)

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama: The former Roswell High standout was named second-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, Sporting News and Walter Camp. He selected as a third-team All-American at safety by the Associated Press and Pro Football Focus. He finished last season 10th in the SEC in tackles with 95 over 13 games. He was named the 2016 Georgia Class AAAAAAA defensive player of the year by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

15. Denver Broncos (7-9) – Jedrick Willis, OT, Alabama: The big fella (6-4, 312) had a 34.5 vertical jump at the scouting combine.

16. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – C.J. Henderson, DB, Florida: The Falcons have to replace Trufant. Henderson is comfortable playing man-to-man coverage. "We played that a lot back Florida," Henderson said. "Press was our main go-to. So that's something I'm very comfortable with." He played under former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham at Florida. "He mixed up a lot of coverages," Henderson said. "So, it was very different for us, compared to freshman year, mostly one coverage. So, it was very different."

» REVIEW: All of Thomas Dimitroff's Falcons draft picks

17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU: He was the ninth player in LSU history to be named a unanimous first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection with 74 tackles (9.5 for loss, five sacks), a conference-high five interceptions and nine pass breakups. Delpit's reputation helped him win the Jim Thorpe Award as well as second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference honors in 2019.

18. Miami Dolphins (from 8-8 Pittsburgh) – D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia: Swift became the fifth running back in UGA history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He had 1,218 yards rushing and 216 receiving with a total of seven touchdowns. Those totals would have been much higher had Swift not been injured at the end of this season. He was limited to six touches and eight total plays in his final two games because of an injury described as a bruised shoulder. Swift left school with 2,885 yards rushing and 666 yards receiving. He ranks seventh on Georgia's all-time rushing list, just behind Lars Tate (3,017) and just ahead of Knowshon Moreno (2,734).

» ALSO: Swift has competition for "top back" in the draft

19. Las Vegas Raiders (from 8-8 Chicago) – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma: The Raiders get some defensive help.

Caption
Former Georgia running back D'Andre Swift talks about his signature move while talking to the media at the NFL scouting combine. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter)

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from 9-7 Rams) – Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU: He measured 6-3 and weighed 312 pounds at the combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.27 seconds and bench pressed 225 pounds, 25 times. "Starting-caliber center with big hands, long arms and good core strength to match power on power when needed," NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein said.

21. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: The Eagles get some wide receiver help for quarterback Carson Wentz.

22. Minnesota Vikings (from 10-6 Buffalo) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson: The Vikings must replace Stefon Diggs.

23. New England Patriots (12-4) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: With Love still on the board, the Patriots take a shot at getting Tom Brady's replacement.

24. New Orleans Saints (13-3) -- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU: The Saints can pair him with newly signed Emmanuel Sanders.

25. Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU: The Vikings continue to build up their already-stout defense.

26. Miami Dolphins (from 10-6 Houston) – Joshua Jones, OT, Houston: After trading Laremy Tunsil last season, the Dolphins must restock the tackle position.

27. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State: Like the Falcons, the Seahawks are looking for pass-rush help.

Caption
LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson talks about what separates him from other prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

28. Baltimore Ravens (14-2) – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: The highly productive running back ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at the combine.

29. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: At 6-3 and 207 pounds, Mims ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds.

30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – K'Lavon Chaisson, LB/DE, LSU: Chaisson measured at 6-foot-3 and weighed 253 pounds at the combine. "As you watched him through the season, you started to see him really pick it up and get better," Jeremiah said.

31. San Francisco 49ers (13-3) -- Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU: The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder helps the 49ers fill a big need on the defensive line as they must replace DeForest Buckner. Blacklock ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds at the scouting combine and received a 6.4 grade from NFL.com, which means that he's projected to be a NFL starter within his first two years in the league.

32. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson: In two years as a starter, he helped Clemson to a 29-1 record. The Westlake High grad finished with 107 career tackles, 20 pass breakups, six interceptions and forced two fumbles over 1,827 snaps in 44 games (30 starts). He scored the first points of the College Football Playoff Championship game on a pick-six against Alabama in 2019. He is projected to be a NFL starter.He was selected as the Class AAAAAAA player of the year in Georgia by the Coaches Association. He was named first-team all-state by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2016.

--

The Bow Tie Chronicles Podcasts:

Can be found on Google, iTunes and TuneIn

For more content about the Atlanta Falcons:

Follow me on Twitter @DorlandoAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now

Atlanta Falcons coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Have a question? Email me at dledbetter@ajc.com