2013 NFL Mock Draft: Falcons projected to upgrade running game

US PRESSWIRE

SB Nation's latest mock draft has the Falcons upgrading their running game by taking Giovani Bernard out of North Carolina.

The 2012 NFL season is officially in the books, and teams now turn their attention to the draft and free agency. The Atlanta Falcons will be looking to upgrade several positions after another disappointing finish to the season.

For more on the Falcons and the NFL Draft, check out The Falcoholic

One position of need is in the running game, which has several question marks. Michael Turner is nearing the end of the line at age 31, and he's set to make $6.9 million next season. He will almost certainly be a cap casualty. Jacquizz Rodgers is an interesting change-of-pace back, but he's done little to prove that he can handle a full workload. This position could be addressed in the draft.

SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn released his latest mock draft on Monday, and he projects the Falcons to select North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard with the 30th pick. The 5'10 sophomore is leaving college early, and Fairburn believes he "has the tools to be an every-down back in the NFL."

This year's running back class is pretty thin, but Bernard could sneak his way into the end of the first round with strong workout performances. Alabama RB Eddie Lacy would be another possibility at this position.

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