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NFL Mock Draft 2013: Falcons select Alex Okafor

With Tony Gonzalez coming back, Atlanta has one less need. Could Okafor improve a desperate pass rush, or will it be someone else?

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Falcons may have been one step away from the Super Bowl, but they find themselves with a number of key positions to fill during the offseason. Tight end Tony Gonzalez has decided not to retire, and William Moore was re-signed to play safety, but someone is going to have to fill the large shoes of John Abraham, not to mention Michael Turner and corner DeAngelo Hall.

Which position will they address in the first round, and which player will fill that need?

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic

Picking 30th reduces the number of options, but this class of defensive ends and outside linebackers is expected to be deep. Atlanta could find a very talented player when they choose at the end of the first round. Rob Rang currently thinks that player is Alex Okafor out of Texas, who he projects to the Falcons in his latest mock draft:

The team may need to make a similarly bold move on the defensive side of the ball to add a pass rusher. Okafor showed a better burst off the snap during Senior Bowl practices than scouts expected and he uses his hands well, making him among the more pro-ready pass rushers of the 2013 draft class.

If Atlanta decides to find Turner's replacement, Eddie Lacy of Alabama could be a possibility. And if it's a cornerback they seek, Desmond Trufant of Washington may still be available. The good news is that for a team that had some serious offseason needs, they might not be that far away from staying a serious Super Bowl contender.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.