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2018 NFL Draft: Falcons do extensive work scouting at N.C. State

Atlanta could add a member of the Wolfpack to the Brotherhood.

Notre Dame v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

A large contingent of Falcons front office figures and coaches headed to N.C. State’s campus Saturday to check in on a fair number of draft prospects from the Wolfpack.

That much interest in players from the program must mean Atlanta is giving serious consideration to adding a member of the Wolfpack to the squad.

Let’s lead with DT B.J. Hill, because this is not the first time the defensive tackle prospect has gotten some time in with the team. As draft analyst/Blogging Dirty writer Raekwon Gilbert notes, the defensive tackle has met with the Falcons in all three phases of the cycle -- at the Senior Bowl, at the combine and now, for an on-campus workout with key faces like Dimitroff, Quinn and Pioli in tow. That is a *lot* of focus for a guy at a position Atlanta is assured to spend some draft capital on, and it might mean Atlanta is very keen on getting Hill in a Falcons uniform at some point in the draft.

One of our draft gurus, Eric Robinson, has scouted Hill, and offers these thoughts.

Hill is an interesting prospect. He has good size and is well put together and has more than enough intangibles for the Falcons to add to their talented bunch on defense. His issues are fixable and when watching his film, it is obvious that he has untapped potential. Potential that a head coach like Dan Quinn and defensive line coach like Bryant Young can pull out of Hill.

His Combine and postseason workouts have helped his cause. Hill can be implemented into the Falcons scheme at roughly 315-320 lbs and be a disruptive 1-Tech defensive tackle. Hill’s athleticism will blend right in to what the Falcons are currently building. Currently, he has a late 2nd-3rd round range and has the potential to be a great piece in Atlanta.

He’d certainly meet the kind of qualifications Quinn mentioned in being interested in for the draft’s DTs, so here’s a key name to watch as a non-first round pick for Atlanta.

As for the other guys, RB Nyheim Hines could be the team’s eventual Tevin Coleman successor if the latter is bound for free agency after the season. NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein compares him loosely to electric Saints RB Alvin Kamara.

Hines has dual-threat talent but doesn’t have the size for full-time work at running back and is in need of much more work as a receiver. Hines’ value to teams could rest upon how they envision using him. It is possible that he benefits from the success of Saints rookie Alvin Kamara with teams looking to plug him into that role, but he’s not on Kamara’s level. Hines is a linear runner whose ability to cut and burst would fit with teams looking for a change of pace back in an outside zone running scheme.

The team also got a look at versatile offensive weapon Jaylen Samuels, who really can play anywhere on the field. He’s taken reps at tight end, running back, fullback and even wide receiver, and we all know this era of Falcons football loves a versatile player. We’re unsure what Atlanta would want to exactly do with Samuels if they drafted him, but they’ve got need at all of those spots. We could see him getting reps at all those spots listed. Here’s what Zierlein thinks.

Some may see Samuels as a valuable hybrid talent, while others may see a player who offers roster flexibility but lacks a position where he can win consistently. Samuels isn’t a tight end and has to prove he can handle blocking duties well enough to be a fullback. He will, however, appeal to teams looking to disguise their attacks with more diversified personnel groupings. Samuels best fit may be with a zone-scheme team as a RB/FB with the ability to play slot receiver and become a core special teamer.

G Tony Adams is less familiar, but Zierlein thinks he’s got the potential to be a solid starter early in his career, and expects him to go somewhere around the fifth round.

Three-year starter who lacks length, but carries a powerful, compact frame. Adams plays with plus balance and body control and it’s rare to see him fall off of blocks. As a youth tennis player until the age of 15, Adams has developed above average footwork for a big and has the play traits to fit into any run scheme. His lack of length will concern some teams, but he’s talented enough to become a solid NFL starter fairly early in his career.

Adams could vie for the right guard spot if Brandon Fusco isn’t as advertised in camp, or could sit for a year and be groomed to replace Andy Levitre at left guard (or even Fusco) in 2019. The team would probably have to throw their fourth rounder to get Adams, which would be the second year the team would take a guard with that pick. The jury’s still out on Sean Harlow.

We should also note the Falcons have met with NC State DT Justin Jones in the past at the combine, and there’s a chance he might’ve gotten in on these workouts as well. Let’s see what Zierlein thinks of this projected sixth-rounder.

Strong player who plays his role along the North Carolina State defensive front, but he doesn’t really shine in any single area. He’s tough enough at the point of attack to give him a shot as a rotational defensive lineman if he’s able to add a little more size, but his shot may come late or undrafted as he lacks the athletic traits and overall production teams will be looking for.

So, there are plenty of guys listed above that could fit in with Atlanta in some way, shape or form. With that much brainpower on the ground, the interest looks real in N.C. State’s crop of draft talent. We’ll see if that comes to fruition.