General manager Thomas Dimitroff opened the presser by expressing his pleasure that the team was able to draft Beasley, and Dan Quinn said that the things that they saw on tape from Beasley made it clear to them the ways that he'll be able to help the team and improve the defense, citing "the style and the speed and how fast he plays and getting turnovers," as some of the major reasons they see Beasley as a fit, adding, "We couldn't be more fired up."
Beasley started by thanking owner Arthur Blank, Dimitroff and Quinn for having enough faith in him to draft him with the eighth pick, and also thanked his family for their support.
As an Adairsville, Georgia native, Beasley grew up a Falcons fan, and being drafted by the Falcons is a dream made reality. "I grew up a Falcons fan. I always wanted to play in Atlanta," Beasley said. Beasley has not, however, ever had the opportunity to attend a Falcons game. "Honestly, my first NFL game will be a game that I'm playing in." So Beasley's first NFL game will be a Falcons game; it's just that he'll be playing in it rather than observing.
Beasley wasn't always a pass rusher. He was a running back and returner in high school, was a three-star running back/tight end recruit coming out of high school, and he came into Clemson's program as a multi-purpose athlete. Beasley said he wondered why they wanted to transition him to defensive end since he hadn't played that position before, but said he was able to use his speed to thrive at the position. What caught the coaching staff's eye and paved the way for his transition to defensive end? "I was blessed with a great first step," Beasley said.
The draft process is long and arduous for prospects, and Beasley is relieved to have it all settled and know that he's coming home. "Over the course of the months [leading up to draft day], we were overwhelmed by all the teams that we were meeting with," Beasley said. "We didn't really know where we were going to end up, but I was hoping I was going to end up in the red and black."
Last night, Beasley said that he expects to fill the LEO role in the new-look Falcons defense, and he believes that's a good fit for him. He does recognize that transitioning from college to the NFL is a big adjustment. I asked Beasley what element of his game he sees as needing the most improvement at the NFL level. His answer was unexpected.
"I think the biggest transition for me from college to the NFL will be just playing lights out on every play and not taking any plays off," Beasley said. "I think that's my biggest weakness right now, and I plan to change that as I transition my game."
Beasley has a reputation for generally being a high motor, high effort player, particularly when rushing the passer, and that is the main reason his answer was surprising. Before you panic, consider the fact that his response demonstrates an understanding of what will be expected of him in general at the next level, and more specifically, what Dan Quinn expects out of every player on the roster.
One knock on Beasley coming out of Clemson was his ability to defend against the run, and some did see his effort against the run as inconsistent. When asked to share some insight on his run defense, Beasley again said that effort will be a big part of it. "I think the main thing for me is just playing lights out every play," Beasley said, adding that he wants to transition [into the NFL] as an overall player."
Your thoughts on Beasley in the red and black?