The NFL Draft is only days away and the Atlanta Falcons are starting to fine tune their draft board and have a clear sight on prospects they want to don the Red & Black.
So far, I have pinpointed a number of prospects that can be selected by the Falcons to become a key chess piece to the pass rushing department. Players such as Tyus Bowser, T.J Watt, and Takkarist McKinley can find themselves as Atlanta Falcons in just a few days. However, the Falcons probably won't stop at just edge rusher to add to their defense. It is likely that the team will add another disruptive force at defensive tackle, probably within the middle rounds (3rd & 4th) of the draft. It’s time to take a look at a possible Falcons draft selection out of the University of Alabama.
Dalvin Tomlinson Scouting Report
Strengths: This past season, Tomlinson shined even with a plethora of NFL talent surrounding him at Alabama. He totaled 62 combined tackles, with 5.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks. Tomlinson has garnered the reputation of being one of the best run defenders among interior lineman in this draft class. A 3-time heavyweight wrestling champion in high school, Tomlinson brings a physical nature to the field. When watching his film, you can easily detect that Tomlinson rarely (if ever) gets pushed back or driven several yards by offensive linemen. He is also rarely washed out of a play which is atone to his impressive natural strength. His thick, long arms are utilized when he can't get to the quarterback by knocking down passes and disrupting the reads of quarterbacks.
His bull rush technique can be effective and has been seen throwing linemen a few times. Tomlinson has nice size in which his frame looks very compact and not flabby and out of control. His awareness is also evident when recognizing pass and run sets. One thing Falcons head coach Dan Quinn will approve of is Tomlinson’s effort, which is also constantly on display. During this offseason, Tomlinson met and was interviewed by the Falcons at the Combine and also visited the team as well. Prime indications that the team is very interested in the prospect.
Weaknesses: He’s not exactly quick off the ball and does not have twitchy athleticism. Tomlinson relies excessively on his bull rush and needs to utilize other maneuvers. While playing at Alabama may have been a privilege, the fact that he was surrounded by elite NFL talent has some scouts questioning if he benefitted from talented teammates. For those who expect Tomlinson to be a reliable factor as a pass rusher, they may be sadly disappointed. Tomlinson only racked up four sacks in his four seasons at Alabama.
Conclusion: By paying attention to the obvious context clues, you can determine that the Falcons have a genuine interest in the 310-lb interior defensive lineman. I’m sure most are wondering how Tomlinson fits into the Falcons defense. Tomlinson will fit quite well in the Tyson Jackson type role, where his presence on the field provides stout run defense. Tomlinson can see time as the team’s base defensive end on early downs and if he improves his pass rushing ability, Tomlinson can be a three-down addition.
One thing that also shows how Tomlinson can fit in the Falcons defense is his effectiveness in executed stunts and twists. In that aspect on film, Tomlinson proved that he can at the very least get home and apply pressure when the S/T is carried out. If the Falcons target Tomlinson, it will likely be in the third round at the earliest. For a defense that allowed 104.5 rushing yards per game last season (18th overall), adding Tomlinson to a defensive tackle rotation that includes Dontari Poe, Grady Jarrett, Courtney Upshaw, and Ra’Shede Hageman will fix the interior and allow the Falcons defensive front to be even more disruptive. Not to mention the addition of Tomlinson will provide insurance as the team is current locked to Poe and Upshaw for only one season. Getting tougher and more aggressive in the middle can make the Falcons that much more dangerous on defense.