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Senior Bowl Players Who Solve Atlanta’s Needs: Offense Edition

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Nick Trist of Sports Grind Daily gives us scouting reports on three key players.

Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Tris, our correspondent at the Senior Bowl, gives us three intriguing Falcons prospects to look at.

David Cobb / RB /Minnesota

I’ve seen many mock drafts that have Atlanta slated to take a RB (typically Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley) with their second round pick. I think this would be a mistake for two reasons: the Falcons have bigger needs to address in Round 2, and I believe there will be good value at the RB position in the later rounds of this draft. David Cobb had an impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

He is a powerful, downhill-style runner who I could envision new OC Kyle Shanahan using in a similar fashion as he did with Alfred Morris during his tenure with the Redskins. Cobb was ultra-productive during his college career for the Minnesota Golden Gophers despite not having much help around him. In Atlanta, Cobb’s running style would be a nice complement / change-of-pace from the guys already on the roster particularly Devonta Freeman. Unlike some of the other RBs at the Senior Bowl, Cobb is not a guy who will be a liability when called upon in pass protection at the next level. If available in rounds 4 or 5, Cobb would be a major steal for Atlanta.

Clive Walford / TE / Miami

Walford was the best TE during Senior Bowl practices and by quite a substantial margin. His freakish athleticism will ensure that he will also have a very good showing at the NFL Draft Combine. The Atlanta Falcons desperately need to address the TE position in this offseason, but with questionable amount of talent at the position in this class, Walford should get plenty of attention from the Atlanta scouting department. Walford we be the type of matchup-nightmare that is so valuable at the TE position in the NFL.

He’s too big for most corners and safeties but is also too quick for the majority of LBs to cover. His running blocking ability will need to improve at the next level but I believe he possesses the physical tools that will allow him to sure up that part of his game. If he still is on the board in round 3 the Falcons should consider selecting him, because with so little talent available at TE this year they may not have another opportunity to acquire his services.

TJ Clemmings / OT / Pittsburgh

Offensive tackle is arguably the most pressing need for Atlanta entering this offseason. After closely observing TJ Clemmings this week I think he is a guy who is slightly overvalued on most analysts’ big boards. That’s not to say he can’t be highly successful on the NFL level but I believe he is a little more of a project than is currently assumed. He weighed in at 306 lbs on Monday, meaning he will need to add some weight to reach the size desired by NFL executives. Suring up his footwork while pass protecting is another area Clemmings will need to improve to reach his full potential. During practice he did displayed elite ability in run blocking situations as well as being a guy who moves terrifically for his size. I think it is a possibility the limitations I saw throughout this week may cause Clemmings to slip out of the first round.

If so, Atlanta should sprint to the podium to select him and potentially have a long term answer at the RT position.


- Atlanta may need to target a WR in this year’s draft but I would look to players outside of the group at the Senior Bowl. In my opinion the reports about Miami’s Phillip Dorsett improving his draft stock this week are largely being overblown. Most of the plays he made this week came against the inferior CBs in attendance. When matched up with the more talented corners on the South roster, like TCU’s Kevin White, he became a ghost. Yes, he certainly has impressive speed, but Atlanta needs to target a more complete WR instead of a guy who was predominantly limited to running one route during his college career. Also, he will struggle mightily against press coverage on the NFL level. A prospect I would like to see the Falcons target in the middle rounds, is a guy who was scheduled to participate at the Senior Bowl but ultimately pulled out, is Florida State’s Rashad Greene.

- If the Falcons are looking for interior lineman help come draft time, a guy they may want to take a look at is Duke Blue Devil OG Laken Tomlinson. I did not get as good of a look at Tomlinson has I would’ve liked during the week. But I was able to chat with Mile High Huddle’s Chad Jensen, who had extremely high praise for Tomlinson and his week of practice.