So, it’s getting closer and closer to draft night, and the Falcons are getting in their last pre-draft visits, workouts and meetings.
While, sure, not every visit, workout and meeting gets reported, most of them do, and we’ve got a good list so far of the potential visits available from our own head honcho Dave Choate and our friend Aaron Freeman. If you’re at all curious of all the draft prospects the team has zoned in on this pre-draft process, you’ll have your fill of names.
Different organizations do different things in different eras, but in the Dan Quinn era of Falcons football, it’s actually, in retrospect, a good thing to track. They’ve only drafted a handful of players that didn’t have previously-reported interest — G Wes Schweitzer, CB Jalen Collins, T Jake Rodgers, CB Damontae Kazee and TE Eric Saubert.
Schweitzer did have his college position coach, Keith Carter, in the building as an advocate, and there have been rumblings that Quinn wasn’t interested in Collins, which ended up being Thomas Dimitroff’s call. Rodgers got cut before the 2015 season, and Kazee and Saubert came with added draft picks via trade.
That means Vic Beasley, Tevin Coleman, Grady Jarrett, Takkarist McKinley, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, De’Vondre Campbell, Duke Riley, Austin Hooper, Justin Hardy, Devin Fuller, Akeem King and Brian Hill all got verified looks by the team before their draft selections.
In this year’s report, guys like Da’Ron Payne, Vita Vea and Taven Bryan pop up, as do first-round talents like Rashaan Evans, Leighton Vander Esch, Hayden Hurst, Isaiah Wynn, James Daniels, Kolton Miller, Mike McGlinchey and Jaire Alexander.
So, if we’re going by the trend, and no other names come up, one of those guys is your next Atlanta Falcon.
There’s still time on the clock, but one really big name is missing: Michigan DT Maurice Hurst.
Hurst is one of the top-rated defensive tackles in the draft, known for his pass rush ability and motor. He’s got everything Quinn likes in a prospect, but curiously, isn’t registered in any piece of Falcons draft news. Not one. Unless he’s featured in a mock draft, Hurst and Atlanta don’t come up in the same conversations.
Now, that’s not to say that it won’t happen within the next week or so, and Atlanta did attend Michigan’s Pro Day, but historically, the Falcons get linked to the guys they draft, especially the guys that go in the first round. They haven’t been linked to Hurst...at all. Unless something changes within the week, this doesn’t look like it’s going to happen at the moment.
Now, yes, again, not every pick gets reported, so it’s hypothetically possible the team has interest in him yet. But, look, this isn’t all that secretive. These visits, workouts and meetings get reported in bulk, and more often than not, we have a pretty good idea of where things are going. Beasley, Neal and McKinley all had met with the team before their selections.
Right now, the cricket choir is playing a ditty for Atlanta and Hurst. This isn’t at all to say Hurst won’t be a good pro (too many smart people think he will be), but maybe either Atlanta likes someone else, or they just aren’t on the Hurst bandwagon.
So, y’know, don’t bank on this one happening. I’ll eat a hearty serving of these words with a slice of humble pie if this ends up being the pick (and will also be elated, since this would be my choice).