I have unfortunately been sick from school for a while so I decided to spend my time scouting some players the Falcons could draft this year and I wanted to compare them to other guys in the same position. First we will start with a glaring need in the Falcons defense, especially if they plan to stick with a 4-3 scheme next year. Also these players may be fits in a more multiple defense. So to kick off a series I plan to start.
Alex Okafor vs Sam Montegomery.
These are two DEs that should fall somewhere around where the Falcons are drafting and personally I hope the Falcons snag one of them.
Alex Okafor: DE
Unofficial average 40 time- 4.78
Best scheme fit- At his size coming out of college it would be best to put him as a standing OLB lining up near the line. If he can put on some more weight, he can fit in the 4-3 scheme better.
College Career- Okafor was quiet in his first two years on the Texas defense but emerged as a star in his junior and senior year. In his Junior year he put up 12.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 7 sacks and 3 passes batted down. Notably he struggled mightily that year against Texas A&Ms tackle combination of Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, but since Texas A&M moved to the SEC he never faced them his senior year. His senior year he progressed in the Big 12 which is a pass happy conference, he totaled 16.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. In the senior bowl he flourished against highly rated OT Eric Fisher and was praised by many coaches for his athleticism.
Awards- He received the Nagurski, Bednarik, and Lombardi awards his senior year.
Overview: Okafor is slightly undersized but can fit in a multiple defense well. He has great hand placement when attacking his blocker and has some good moves to get off blocks. He has struggled at times in the run defense but this isn't too big of a hole in his game, he effectively gets to the quarterback with his speed and ability to get low on his blocker. He can upgrade some of his pass rush moves but as of right now can succeed in the NFL level.
Sam Montegomery: DE
Unofficial average 40 time- N/A as of right now.
Best Scheme fit- Like Okafor, Montgomery is undersized to be a pure defensive end and would be a nice OLB in a 3-4 scheme. If he adds some weight he could fit in multiple looks.
College Career- Montgomery started off with a frustrating sophomore season that was cut short by a knee injury. His junior year he had a good comeback with 13.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, and a forced fumble. These stats could be slightly overblown as he was on one of the nations best defenses that included Mingo, Brockers, Mathieu, Claiborne and many other talented players, but that's the SEC and many good NFL players come out of the SEC. In his junior year he struggled against Barrett Jones who at the time was playing tackle for the Crimson Tide. In there rematch in the national championship, he was again held in check by Jones. His senior season he commanded more attention and racked up 8 sacks.
Overview: Sam is a great physical presence that needs a little more work on his game to be great. He has great speed and athleticism but can struggle to get off the ball at times. He uses his speed to run past linemen and has an average bull rush move that he uses often. He is solid in the run game, and fills holes nicely. He needs some work on his pass rush but it isn't a major concern yet. My only concern is that he reaped the benefits of a good SEC defense that opposing teams couldn't focus solely on him.
My Choice: Okafor. He seems to be more NFL ready and can fit in multiple schemes if he puts on a few pounds. I expect him and Montgomery to put on some more weight but Okafor seems to have the better hands, hips, and all around better moves. Okafor also didn't have as much help from teammates as Montgomery had im college. So if the Falcons decide to go with a DE round one, I'd take Okafor over Montgomery assuming they are both there.
Id like to keep this going so feel free to leave a comment with suggestions of how to make this better, if it's worth making more, and what matchups you'd like to see broken down.