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Falcons Projected for Surprising First-Round Pick in Mel Kiper's 2022 NFL Mock Draft

Larry Rupp
The Atlanta Falcons are projected to make a surprising pick in Mel Kiper's latest 2022 NFL mock draft.
The Atlanta Falcons are projected to make a surprising pick in Mel Kiper's latest 2022 NFL mock draft. / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons made a splash on Monday afternoon by trading away quarterback Matt Ryan and signing Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal as the team's new starter. It's surprising to see Mel Kiper does not have Atlanta taking a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick in his 2022 NFL mock draft.

Falcons Mock Draft

Kiper projects the Falcons to take wide receiver Garrett Wilson at No. 8 instead of a young QB. Keep in mind the first signal-caller is not taken off the board until the 18th pick in this mock. The lack of surefire talent may sway Atlanta's front office away from the decision of reaching to address a need.

The simple fact here is that Mariota is much more of a temporary option than he is a franchise player. The 28-year-old has spent the past two seasons backing up Derek Carr in Las Vegas and owns a career record of 29-32. His ability to scramble fails to make up for his lack of arm strength.

Meanwhile, Malik Willis has seen his draft stock rise following a dominant performance at the NFL Combine. His accuracy looked much improved and his footwork in the pocket was stellar. Some experts even compare the Liberty product's game to Falcons legend Michael Vick.

Don't get it twisted, though. Wilson comes out of Ohio State with elite route-running skills and the speed to be a No. 1 WR in Atlanta. The 21-year-old pass-catcher finished his senior year with 2,213 yards and 12 touchdowns on 70 receptions (11 games). He averaged 15.1 yards per catch as well.

The 2022 NFL Draft is set to get underway on Thursday, April 28.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.