It feels like the Atlanta Falcons have been in the market for a pass rusher for the past 10 years. However, current head coach Dan Quinn has found Vic Beasley, Jr., gotten the best out of Grady Jarrett, Ra’Shede Hageman and veteran Dwight Freeney. However, the Falcons face Drew Brees, Cameron Newton and Jameis Winston twice a year, pass rush is a premium need. Fans are left wondering, “What will the Dirty Birds do at 31?”
Many mock drafts believe the Falcons can trade up with a club that doesn’t want to overpay for a QB. The 49ers, the Jets, the Browns and the Bears are the four teams that fit the description of not wanting to overpay for a QB. If they trade up they can land a premium pass rusher. With Dan Quinn being from Seattle, he is indeed looking for a one-two punch like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Recently the Falcons worked out Temple edge rusher Hasson Reddick. Quinn was exemplary of Reddick’s measurables and ability.
Reddick ran a 4.52 in the 40 at the NFL combine. He’s 6’1″, 237 pounds. Many believe Reddick has the strength and speed to run down powerful QBs Newton and Winston while having the technique to tackle Adrian Peterson, whom was recently acquired by the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons have also worked out UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley, Michigan’s Taco Charlton, Kansas State’s Jordan Willis and Tennessee’s Derek Barnett.
A speedy pass-rusher is one of the priorities going into this draft along with potentially a starting right guard and depth at safety. The Falcons need impact players that will help fans forget the nightmare in Houston three months ago.
“The reality is, to move up into the 20s, there will be opportunities there,” Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff replied when asked about the possibility of moving up in this year’s draft. “And there are some interesting candidates that would be there at the early parts of the 20s. You look at that and you think about that and you set eight-to-10 spots, wow, that’s the most you would move. And you never know. Before you know it, there’s another opportunity to move up another four or five, and you start looking at compensation and deciding, as a group. I just want to make sure that it’s definitely open. That’s the important part of the approach here.”