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Falcons draft picks: Where does Deadrin Senat fit on the Atlanta defensive line?

Senat will be part of a rotation, but he has the upside required to become a nasty defensive tackle.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at South Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons finally addressed arguably their biggest draft need. I had the Falcons dipping into defensive tackle in the first and third rounds and picking up a cornerback in the second, and while they threw us a curve with Calvin Ridley in the first, they’ve otherwise followed that blueprint by taking Isaiah Oliver and then Deadrin Senat.

Senat isn’t necessarily the defensive tackle I expected Atlanta to land, but he’s a good one. Compact and powerful, with the “violent hands” that the Falcons once talked up for the likes of Malliciah Goodman, Senat is a handful for interior linemen and can fight through to impact run plays. Most scouting reports indicate that he’s not going to be a terrific pass rusher at the next level, but the team can work with him on it and hopefully turn him into someone who can disrupt the passer every once and a great while.

If Senat tops out as a two-down player, though, then the Falcons should still be all set for the short-term. Senat’s acumen against the run means he should be able to step into a significant role right away, playing early downs while Jack Crawford and possibly Derrick Shelby get time in clear pass rushing situations. I think there’s enough upside here to consider him a full-time player at some point, but it’s way too early to feel confident about that, so for now you should just go ahead and pencil him in for 20-30 snaps per game as a run stopper.

That has value, and it means this defensive tackle rotation is no longer the team’s great concern, particularly if they snag a fourth, veteran DT to clean up the remaining snaps. Senat looks like another solid player on a very good Falcons defense, and I kind of can’t wait to watch this team in action now.

For the draft’s final day, look for the Falcons to look for high-upside depth at linebacker, running back, safety, and perhaps along the offensive line. They’ve done what they needed to do already in snagging three starting-caliber players, but let’s keep that gravy train rolling.