As the Falcons head down the final stretch of the season, their needs for the offseason are clear. Luckily the 2016 NFL Draft appears to be strong in just about every area of need for the Falcons. From wide receiver to defensive line depth, there are studs littered all over college football.
Here are a few prospects to watch in the twelfth week of the college football season.
Miami vs Georgia Tech (12pm ET, ESPN)
Georgia Tech: DT Adam Gotsis
Miami: S Deon Bush
The Falcons have needs on defense, but right they're needs that can be filled in with "projects" through the draft. Georgia Tech's Adam Gotsis and Miami's Deon Bush are two players that fit the prototype of players that will be ready sooner than later, but that time might not be right now. Gotsis (6'5", 285) has the ideal body type to play strongside defensive end in Dan Quinn's scheme. Tyson Jackson has been playing well while he's been in the lineup, but with his contract situation and role on the team, it makes sense to groom an heir apparent for his position. Gotsis has the length, strength, and tenacity to fit in seamlessly after he learns the rope at strongside defensive end.
Miami safety Deon Bush is a more versatile piece than Gotsis is. From the tape that he's put forth during his senior season, he appears to be a player that should be considered for strong safety and free safety alike. Bush isn't afraid to lay the lumber in run support and he shows solid range against the pass. Right now, he looks like the perfect heir to the Falcons strong safety throne. The team will have a tough choice to make in the offseason in regards to bringing William Moore back; Deon Bush could be the perfect replacement for him.
#13 Utah vs UCLA (3:30pm ET, FOX)
UCLA: DT Kenny Clark
While Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator in Seattle for 2013 and 2014, he led one of the top defenses in the league that demolished the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8. That defense was predicated on athleticism on every level of the defense. Kenny Clark from UCLA fits the mold of athletic, high upside defenders that Quinn would love to have on his defense. Clark has the athletic ability and size to be a versatile defender in just about any front; with the Bruins he has played 0 technique, shade, 3 technique, and 5 technique.
He's a smart defender who understands offensive blocking schemes but doesn't always have the technique to take advantage of what he recognizes. To get a closer look at Clark, I made a video breaking down the first half of his game against the Stanford Cardinal.
Missouri vs Tennessee (7:15pm ET, ESPN 2)
Missouri: C Evan Boehm
Tennessee: LB Curt Maggitt
The SEC East showdown between Missouri and Tennessee features two prospects that would fit in nicely with what the Falcons run on offense and defense. First up is Missouri senior center Evan Boehm (6'3", 320). Despite his size, which is big for a center prospect, he moves very well. Missouri's spread option offense has left him in a favorable spot as he transitions to the NFL. Mike Person is a nice piece and certainly a free agent surprise as he was a backup in St. Louis, but he could be upgraded in the offseason.
Boehm possesses a nice combination of size, athleticism, and technique to immediately make a difference at the next level. He recently accepted an invite to the 2016 Senior Bowl where he'll be able to showcase his abilities against some of the best senior defensive lineman in the country.
Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt fits the strongside linebacker mold that the "Under" package typically looks for. Atlanta runs its Under package with their biggest defensive linemen and linebackers. Maggitt (6'3", 256) has the ability to rotate in at strongside linebacker as a rookie and the potential to become a starter down the road. RIght now, Maggitt wins by shocking his opponents at the snap of the ball with his hands; he needs to develop lower body strength in order to sustain blocks along the edge against tackles, tight ends, and fullbacks. A rotational role would best suit him while he develops physically in order to accommodate to the NFL talent level.
Another prospect that the Falcons should heavily be looking at is Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. He lacks a true position right now, but he plays similarly to Adrian Clayborn. If Atlanta is able to pick him up in the draft he could be a player that grows with Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, and Ra'Shede Hageman. For a closer look at his game versus LSU check out this video breakdown.