Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks at NFL.com held a conference call to chat about the 2017 NFL Draft, and they managed to touch on one issue near and dear to the hearts of Falcons fans everywhere: The pass rushing complement to Vic Beasley.
It’s a given that the Falcons are going to take a player who can bring the heat opposite Beasley at some point in the first two or three rounds of this draft class. What Jeremiah and Brooks talked about was the style of player Atlanta might wind up with, and it’ll make you think a bit.
When you look at the board, what could be available to them at the bottom of the first round, you think maybe Taco Charlton is able to get there possibly. Outside of the first round, the names that probably will come up, Tarell Basham from Ohio, Deshaun Hull, a little later. Trey Hendrickson from Florida Atlantic. Those guys could be possibilities when you get into day two.
If they're looking for a guy that is more in the mold of Vic Beasley, kind of an outside linebacker that has the ability to maybe rush on third downs, T.J. Watt would have an opportunity to be in the conversation, Tim Williams, Ryan Anderson, Derek Rivers from Youngstown State. There's some intriguing possibilities. It's a matter of what does Dan Quinn want to do with his defense and how does he want to complement his number one rusher in Vic Beasley.
This is kind of a great question. I’ve been assuming that Rivers or Charlton would be logical picks, but the reality is that they are very different players. Rivers is quite a bit like Beasley in that he’s a lighter, faster, more dynamic end who some teams might even view as a linebacker. Guys like Charlton and some of the others on this list are more traditional 4-3 ends with pass rushing chops, with Charlton outweighing Rivers by nearly 40 pounds. It’s a stylistic difference that matters, because the Falcons prized Beasley but have largely built the rest of their defensive end rotation out of larger players who can play both inside and out.
I still firmly believe that the team’s emphasis on physicality, athleticism and speed makes them more likely to take a player like Rivers than Charlton, but I’m curious. What do you think?