clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Falcons Work Out TCU Stars Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington

News from two days ago, you say? Don't turn your nose up. Take the foil off, reheat it and it's just as good as it was on Friday.

The workout for Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington is important, though your heart yearns for Sean Weatherspoon and your brain tells you you'll never love another. Both players are talented and would fill a position of need, Hughes at defensive end and Washington at linebacker, and both are likely first round picks. More thoughts on this after the jump.

Washington could be Plan B if the Falcons miss out on Weatherspoon, as he's got similar size with room to add strength and is an absolutely fantastic pursuit linebacker who plays against the run and pass fairly well. His biggest weakness might be instincts against the pass, which is more than coachable, and he's rising up draft boards to the point where he may be the best outside linebacker available by the time the team picks. Giving him a workout was a smart move.

More than that, a second workout of a top linebacker prospect indicates that the Falcons' apparent interest in linebackers isn't just a clever ruse to throw every other team in the NFL off their trail. You know that Thomas Dimitroff would just kidnap other teams' general managers if that's what he was going for. No, the Falcons are looking at Washington because he's a very talented linebacker, and a real possibility at 19 or if the Falcons decide to trade down a few spots.

Hughes is a little bit of a difference case. Many would consider him undersized for a 4-3 defensive end, and I'm not expecting to change anyone's mind here, but I love Jerry Hughes. I think he's incredibly underrated, especially because he might be the best pure pass-rushing defensive end in the draft. He's quicker than he is fast, but in the NFL, lateral agility and the ability to get around a blocker is much more important than straight line speed in the first place. He's also an incredibly intelligent athlete and a guy who has a great reputation for being a hard worker and someone who is determined to learn. Does he need to get stronger and a little bigger? Depends on what you're asking him to do.

If you accept the argument that he's too small to play end, you could bulk him up a little and see how he does. If that doesn't do the trick, he's a quick enough learner that I think he could make a nice transition to outside linebacker, where he'd be an unholy terror off the edge. No matter where he ends up playing, I think Hughes will be a terrific pro. We won't know if the Falcons agree until April, though.

Your thoughts on these two, and other guys you'd like to see the team take a hard look at?