Atlanta Falcons 2022 mock draft: Not moving on from Matt Ryan yet

Atlanta Falcons 2022 mock draft - Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons 2022 mock draft - Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Falcons mock draft
Atlanta Falcons mock draft: Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes celebrates sacking Brendon Lewis #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game November 26, 2021 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Falcons fans already have their eyes set on the 2022 NFL Draft. The Dirty Birds shouldn’t look to replace their franchise quarterback just yet.

The days of the Atlanta Falcons being one of the better NFC South teams are long gone. 2021 has shown the Dirty Birds aren’t flying as high as they expected — or at all. Fans already have their eyes set to the 2022 NFL Draft with some ready to Matt Ryan, easier said than done. Ryan’s with his fifth offensive coordinator, but he’ll understandably get a ton of blame for the Falcons’ lack of success.

Offensively, the Falcons aren’t all there. For one, Calvin Ridley currently finds himself on the Non-Football Injury report. However, tight end Kyle Pitts showed promise as the lone bright spot so they can use another weapon on the outside.

Mr. Everything Cordarrelle Patterson is their shining star at running back. Qadree Ollison has shown flashes, but they can use an upgrade. The Falcons averaged less than 80 yards per game with 3.4 yards per carry. Jake Matthews (tackle) and Chris Lindstrom (guard) lead the struggling group upfront. Right tackle Kaleb McGary has shown progress, despite some shaky play.

On the defensive side of the ball, the corner position looks solid. AJ Terrell has all the makings of an elite corner. Isaiah Oliver holds down the slot, giving Atlanta a solid young duo, but they could use another boundary corner.

Up front, things aren’t looking promising at all.  Grady Jarrett is still their best defensive lineman, by far.  He’s getting older and needs help from solid pass rushers. Foyesade Oluokun is a rangy athletic linebacker, but he’s not an elite pass rusher.

The Falcons have some core pieces, both aging and young. With the 2022 NFL Draft approaching, the Falcons have a chance to fill some holes and set themselves up for success.

Atlanta Falcons First-round pick: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Dean Pees’ defense needs some help getting after the quarterback. This class has the answer. Whether it’s a standup backer or hand in the dirt, Utah’s Devin Lloyd is that guy. The 6-3 235-pound backer lines up as the MIKE and wreaks havoc, but he’s the most versatile defender in the 2022 class. He’s shown improved instincts against the run, as evident by his team-leading 100 tackles.

The junior backer uses his athleticism, length, and bend to get to the quarterback. Lloyd lives in the backfield. He’s amassed 22 tackles for loss through 12 games in 2021. Additionally, he’s totaled 15.5 sacks in 31 starts.

Pees can use the Utes’ defender any way he wants. However, putting him outside as an off-ball backer who gets after the quarterback is the best option. There’s no need to get cute with a guy who can dominate as a pass rusher. Having Foyesade Oluokun and Devin Lloyd gives the Falcons a dangerous pair of backers. If not Lloyd, getting a true edge rusher or a five-technique like George Karlaftis III could be the pick here.