We all remember where we were when ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper released his first mock draft. Kiper believed the Falcons would take a Clemson defensive end. Now weeks later, he believed Atlanta will take the other Clemson defensive end.
While previous coaches believed sacks didn't matter, Dan Quinn is likely hoping to supercharge Atlanta's pass rush. Which defensive end is the fastest and
physicalest most physical? Here is what Kiper had to say in January about potentially selecting Kevin Dodd.
Shaq Lawson led the nation in tackles for loss, but Dodd was right there with him, No. 2 in the nation, and a constant presence in the backfield. The Falcons added pass-rush help with Vic Beasley last year, but is Beasley an every-down player? At 275 points, Dodd has the frame to hold up against the run and should help a D-line that lacks depth.
At the very least, the Falcons could look to provide Beasley with some help on the other side of the line. The same thinking continues in this mock draft where Kiper likes Shaq Lawson.
While Vic Beasley flashed potential as a rookie, he wasn't a force consistently, and the Falcons can't go wrong adding more to the pass rush. Lawson is well-coached and has more size to stay on the field and hold up as a three-down defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3 look, thanks to a versatile skill set.
While it is far too early to put too much weight into a mock draft, it is good to see Atlanta consistently connected to blue chip positions. Tight ends and running backs are great, but the impact from a pass rusher is so much greater. The Falcons have had a desperate lack of talent at the left defensive end position since Patrick Kerney left for the Seattle Seahawks a decade ago, and they can finally fix that problem by taking Lawson.