The Atlanta Falcons need help at offensive guard, and ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. could see them plucking one right out of their own backyard.
Kiper's latest mock draft has the Falcons selecting Georgia's Isaiah Wynn with the 26th overall pick. Kiper didn't have Wynn going in the first round of his first mock draft and instead had the Falcons selecting Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk.
Of course, Wynn would be a popular choice among Atlanta fans who also support the Bulldogs and are familiar with his talent. The 6-foot-2, 302-pound Wynn started at left tackle in college but transitioned to left guard in Senior Bowl practices, where he dominated despite dealing with a torn labrum. He did not play in the game and reportedly was set to have surgery after the Senior Bowl.
"He took to it like a duck to water," Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said Wynn playing guard, the position he started 12 games at during his junior season. "He was terrific. ... Isaiah Wynn is going to be a long-time starter in the NFL."
But will Wynn be a Falcon? Again, the Falcons need to upgrade at guard with Wes Schweitzer not the answer at right guard and left guard Andy Levitre coming off a season-ending triceps injury. The Falcons started versatile Ben Garland at the end of the season, but he's better suited for a backup role and now is a restricted free agent.
The Falcons need an athletic lineman who can get out and run in the zone-blocking scheme while holding up in protection to keep quarterback Matt Ryan upright. General manager Thomas Dimitroff implied that the Falcons might be better suited finding such guard help via free agency, considering the Falcons struck gold with luring Pro Bowl center Alex Mack from Cleveland. Carolina's Andrew Norwell, who doesn't give up sacks, top's the list of guards set to become free agents.
If Wynn is available when the Falcons select and they don't find the free-agent help they're looking for, it would make sense to strongly consider him. The Falcons might value a pass-rushing, run-stopping defensive tackle ahead of a guard, but Wynn would make such a decision rather interesting.
The Falcons' last three first-round picks -- Takk McKinley, Keanu Neal and Vic Beasley Jr. -- have all been defensive players. The last time they selected a guard in the first round was Bill Fralic in 1985.