The Atlanta Falcons are going to start Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell at linebacker, and when they need three on the field at once, they could look to Kemal Ishmael, Brooks Reed, LaRoy Reynolds, or perhaps noted linebacker Courtney Upshaw. They could also draft one, and it appears they will.
#BoiseSt LB Tanner Vallejo is visiting the #Falcons today and tomorrow, source said, then he heads to a visit with the #Panthers.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2017
Linebacker is not a massive need—Jones and Campbell look like the real deal, and Reynolds and Ishmael are at worst quality depth—but the Falcons just don’t have enough bodies to make things work right now, even if Reed winds up playing there more in 2017. Vallejo is the kind of player they’re likely to target in this class after they’ve snagged the pass rusher, offensive lineman, safety, and whatnot they’re after earlier.
The Boise State product is known for solid coverage chops for a linebacker, and piled up 36 tackles for loss over his four year career, which tells you a little something about his ability against the run. At least, I hope so. If he brings any kind of special teams value to the table, chances are Atlanta will gladly bring him aboard as a seventh rounder, which is where he’s projected to go. I don’t think he’s got starter’s upside, necessarily, but capable reserves are needed, especially with Reynolds and Ishmael only under contract for this coming season.
Don’t be surprised if Atlanta calls his name before the end of this draft.