The Combine is all over for the 2015 draft class. What will come of the findings for the Atlanta Falcons as we approach draft night? Many-a-draft stock rose and fell over the course of the week and the Falcons are in a position to capitalize from these movements in order to fill the holes on their roster. Additionally, WR Harry Douglas, RB Steven Jackson, G Justin Blalock, and LB Jonathan Massaquoi were all cut by the Falcons last week, presumably to make room for a significant free agent signing. Most analysts expect that Quinn and Dimitroff will try to fix the team’s shortcomings through a mix of free agents acquisitions and draft selections. Perhaps the biggest shortcoming of the Falcons’ 2014 campaign was the egregious lack of pass rush. The team finished with a total of 22 sacks. For comparison, Houston Texan JJ Watt single-handedly amassed the same number of sacks last year. This is why a pass rusher, at either the defensive end or outside linebacker position, represents the most pressing need for Atlanta. There are a few studs at these positions in the upcoming draft that could help torment offensive lines for years to come. Here are a few that the Falcons could take with the eighth overall selection.
Vic Beasley – The explosive Defensive End from Clemson University put on a showcase at the NFL Combine. Beasley awed NFL scouts
with his 4.53 sec. 40 yard dash, 41 inch vertical jump, 35 reps of 225 bench press, and 130 inch Broad Jump. If he remains on the board, the Falcons could certainly make Vic Beasley this year’s eighth overall pick.
Shane Ray – The DE/OLB standout from the University of Missouri boasts freakish athleticism. He couldn’t participate in the combine due to an injury, but scouts are well aware of his physical abilities. His speed rivals that of Beasley, and his functional strength is solid as well. The Falcons also have a history of selecting Missouri Tiger defenders towards the top of the draft with Sean Weatherspoon and Will Moore.
Dante Fowler Jr.- No one understands the upside of Dante Fowler more than Falcons Coach Dan Quinn. Quinn who coached at the University of Florida was the one who recruited Dante Fowler four years ago. Fowler has fantastic speed, and long arms. Some scouts see Fowler as a little raw defensively, but agree that he has enormous upside.