With only five picks in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft and many remaining needs, the Falcons' front office is focused on evaluating prospects and how they might fit in Atlanta. Head coach Dan Quinn has hit the road to see prospects in action, visiting several pro days and meeting with players.
Quinn's first two stops, according to his Twitter account, were pro days at the University of Florida and NC State.
First two stops on our trip have been great! Searching for relentless competitors!! pic.twitter.com/u4UiEH5vDu— Dan Quinn (@FalconsDQ) March 24, 2016
Quinn and defensive backs coaches reportedly met with Florida safety Keanu Neal, according to Tony Pauline of Walter Football. Quinn recruited Neal to the Gators during his time as Florida's defensive coordinator, and at 6'1" and 211 pounds, Neal is a prototypical Quinn safety. Neal missed two games last season due to injury and still led the team in solo tackles with 51. He had 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a pick.
At NC State, Quinn et all may have been evaluating tight end David Grinnage and guard Joe Thuney, according to Kelsey Conway of AtlantaFalcons.com.
Grinnage isn't a top-rated tight end prospect, but he has a lot of upside. He's 6'5" and was a reliable receiver for the Wolfpack last season, contributing 290 yards and three touchdowns on 25 catches. Knowing what Atlanta's front office and coaching staff look for in offensive linemen explains why Thuney may be on their radar. Thuney has played every position along the offensive line, and that versatility is valuable.
Next up for Quinn was a trip to The Ohio State University.
Had one last stop yesterday before heading back to the ATL! Jacked about what we saw the last couple of days! pic.twitter.com/WPUZw8juwc— Dan Quinn (@FalconsDQ) March 25, 2016
Linebacker Darron Lee should be on Atlanta's radar for the 17th-overall pick, considering his speed and how well he'd fit in the scheme. The team did host Lee for a private workout last Thursday in Atlanta. However, Lee's not the only Buckeye the team may have their eye on heading into the draft.
Nick Vannett is a very good tight end who should be available when the Falcons are ready to think toward drafting one this year. He's a good receiver and a solid blocker, and Vannett had a very strong showing at the NFL Combine. Defensive tackle Adolphus Washington may be difficult to grab based on Atlanta's draft position and other needs, but he brings a lot of versatility and ability to play the run and rush the passer. If the Falcons want to groom a quarterback as Matt Ryan's heir apparent, Cardale Jones needs to refine his technique, but he has a cannon for an arm and a high ceiling.
Today, Quinn's at the University of South Carolina.
Perhaps the Falcons are eyeing wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, who would fill the slot role nicely. Inside linebacker Skai Moore could potentially transition to strong safety at the next level, and that's a role the Falcons need to fill. Tight end Jerrell Adams, who has prototypical NFL size and should be available later in the draft, is another potential target.
Your thoughts on Quinn's world travels?