The Falcons are, in all likelihood, going to head into either the Seahawks game or their Week 9 bye without Vic Beasley. They appear to be motivated to move him, and while they’re probably not going to get the return they might have hoped for, I’d be a bit surprised if they didn’t find a taker in the end.
With that in mind—and heck, just because they have an open roster spot after trading away Mohamed Sanu—it’s no surprise that the Falcons are working out free agent edge rushers.
#Falcons worked out DE/OLB Nate Orchard, OLB Shane Ray, DE Quinton Bell.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 22, 2019
Shane Ray, 26, has the best history of production as a pass rusher, but like fellow 2015 pick Beasley, has fallen well short of expectations. Ray managed four sacks as a rookie and a career-high eight sacks in 2016, but his career stagnated thanks to injury in 2017 (he only played eight games and grabbed one sack) and he was swiftly buried on the depth chart when the Broncos added Bradley Chubb in 2018. He’s received some interest and cups of coffee in 2019, but has yet to land with a team and contribute. Ray has never lacked for physicality or speed, but has never put it all together. He’d be a rotational end in Atlanta, obviously.
The same is true of fellow 26-year-old Nate Orchard. I’ve always really liked Orchard, who turned in a fine rookie season for the Browns with three sacks, but he played just three games in 2016 and has only made a small impact since. He’s a more solid run defender than Ray but has even less of a track record as a pass rusher, and would probably fill something like the Steven Means Memorial Role on this defense as a 10-15 snaps per game guy on the defensive line. I’d like to see the Falcons seriously consider bringing him board, even so.
The final name on this list is the least well-known but maybe the most intriguing. Quinton Bell is a 23-year-old Prairie View A&M alum who needs considerable work, but in the words of NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, is a “tremendously gifted athlete with rare traits.” Bell would not really contribute this year, in all likelihood, but would be an interesting addition as a moldable defender who could make an impact down the line, if the team is interested in developing one. Given that a coaching change is in the offing, maybe not.
If the Falcons do end up trading Beasley in the coming days, don’t be shocked to see one of these guys on the roster shortly after.