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NFL Scouting Combine 2017: Our writers weigh in with positions to watch

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We’ve all got positions we think the Falcons need. Here are the positions—and players—our staff will be watching.

NFL Combine - Day 6 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Matt Chambers

Defensive tackle

Chris Wormley, Michigan. The Falcons have surprisingly few holes, but they desperately need a talented lineman to plug the run. Wormley fits the bill, and scouting reports suggest he’s got the quickness to take snaps at defensive end. He’s still a raw prospect, and has a way to go when rushing the passer, but the 6-foot-5, 298-pound prospect has been solid against the run in college.

Caleb Rutherford

Tight End

The popular pick may be someone on defense, but a tight end is something the Falcons will likely look into as Jacob Tamme may not have a future with the team. Austin Hooper was a pleasant surprise, but we’re playing with fire having him, Toilolo, Perkins, and Tialavea as our options. I’m looking to see what someone like David Njoku - yet another ridiculous athletic freak Miami TE - does at the combine.

Dave Choate

Edge Rusher

The Falcons might get Dwight Freeney back, and they’ll certainly have Adrian Clayborn and Derrick Shelby healthy enough to start the season. That’s helpful for the pass rush, but the team could use a long-term bookend for Vic Beasley, and someone who is first and foremost a young, gifted pass rusher. This class isn’t loaded with those players, but there should be someone worth a long look at #31 or #63, at minimum.

I’ve got my eye on a few players, but Charles Harris seems to me at this early juncture to be both the player most likely to be available at #31 and one of the better possible options for Atlanta.

DW

Offensive tackle

Yes, the Falcons have two young, quality tackles in Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder. Even though this draft class is considered to be weak in OL talent, it never hurts to draft OL who are young and versatile. The Falcons likely want Wes Schweitzer to compete for the starting RG position in 2017, but having a young swing-tackle could be critical over a 16 game season. God forbid anything happens to Matthews or Schraeder, but if something does, having a quality backup could be the difference in watching a season fall apart or surviving it.

Kevin Knight

Guard

The Falcons will likely be spending a pick at some point in the 2017 draft on a guard to replace Chris Chester. Whether that pick falls in the first, second, third or later rounds, you can bet Atlanta will be watching the athletic testing of this year’s guards closely. Atlanta needs an athletic player that can thrive in the zone blocking scheme while being stout enough to hold up in pass protection. A player to watch is Forrest Lamp, who may be the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft. A strong performance by him could vault him into contention for a top-20 pick, but there’s also a solid chance that he’s available for the Falcons at 31.