The Atlanta Falcons will draft a defensive tackle. That’s not even an open secret, because the combination of their needs and the relative strengths of this draft class dictate that they more or less have to get one. The only question is whether they’ll draft one or two, and who exactly they’ll wind up with when all is said and done.
You can add one intriguing name to our list of potential picks, as the Falcons reportedly spent some time with North Carolina State defensive tackle B.J. Hill. As ESPN’s Vaughn McClure notes below, Hill has drawn favorable comparisons to Linval Joseph, who is a hell of a defensive tackle.
Not at the Senior Bowl but source tells me Falcons met with DT B.J. Hill from North Carolina State, who analyst Mike Mayock called his ``player of the day'' on Day 1 of practice and compared to Linval Joseph. Hill (6-3 3/8, 321) had 57 tackles, 5.5... https://t.co/BbVGEHZXrJ— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) January 24, 2018
A stout run defender, Hill is quick on his feet but offers genuine size at his Senior Bowl listing of 6’3”, 321 pounds. That’s bigger and heavier than Grady Jarrett, yes, but Hill is not just a space clogger, as he can collapse the pocket and has had some success as a pass rusher in college. The physical tools all appear to be there, and the team’s interest in Hill would make a ton of sense. Dontari Poe is a free agent and figures to be hugely expensive again, and both Adrian Clayborn and Courtney Upshaw are free agents, potentially leaving Atlanta perilously thin on the defensive line. Hill’s ability against the run makes him a smart fit for a run defense that could use more beef and acumen at the point of attack.
Hill could be a riser, but in a good all-around defensive tackle class, he seems unlikely to go before the second day. The Falcons could use someone with his run-stopping chops and upside as a pass rusher, and Hill could be a very nice complement to Grady Jarrett in the middle of this defensive line. Keep your eye on him in the coming months.