The Senior Bowl is over, but no doubt the Falcons will occupy themselves with the conversations and closer looks at prospects they got over the last week until the Combine, and perhaps beyond.
For those who have missed all the talk about the Senior Bowl in recent days, the Falcons have drafted at least one Senior Bowler in each season Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff have worked together. Last year, they drafted two in the first round, which means you really do want to pay attention to any reports of the team’s interest following this game. Those reports will be relatively scarce, because Atlanta moves pretty quietly through these events.
So let’s look at five Senior Bowl participants who might be on the team’s list of draftable prospects in April. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list and I welcome you to add your favorite players, but all five of these players fit a need and look like they’ll be of legitimate interest to the team.
TE Adam Trautman
Trautman was a man amongst boys at Dayton, putting up a gaudy 70 catch, 916 yard, 14 touchdown campaign in 2019. On top of that, he’s a pretty polished blocker already, one who seems enthusiastic about his craft.
Dayton TE Adam Trautman has gotten a lot of buzz as a potential Patriots target this week. He just put a D-end on his first series in the Senior Bowl. pic.twitter.com/NeofNOQEuG— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) January 25, 2020
With ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writing that new tight ends coach Ben Steele had a long meeting with Trautman, with the uncertainty currently looming regarding Austin Hooper’s upcoming free agency, and the enduring long-term need for more talent at the position, Trautman is a player to watch. The blocking would get him on the field early and the upside as a receiver would make him interesting in an offense where he’d have a large role.
The Falcons actually drafting him, though? That’ll probably depend on whether Hooper’s back or not, given that Trautman is probably going on the draft’s second day.
DT Javon Kinlaw
It would likely be simpler to list the teams that weren’t interested in Kinlaw, a South Carolina game wrecker (there it is) that figures to go around when the Falcons select, if not even earlier. Kinlaw pulled out of the actual game, but teams saw what they needed to see from him in practice and during his final season.
The Falcons have struggled, again and again, to get elite pass rushers off the edge. I’m not saying they should give up that dream, but I do think that interior pressure is mighty effective, and pairing Kinlaw with Grady Jarrett would make it much easier for the rotation the team cobbles together at defensive end. I hope they at least seriously consider it, given that Kinlaw and Jarrett could be game wreckers (there it is again) for the next 4-5 seasons together.
LB Logan Wilson
The Falcons are almost certainly looking for a linebacker, even if De’Vondre Campbell comes back, and Wilson could fit the bill. The team reportedly met with him this past week, and the part of his game that gets the most love is his coverage, something that hasn’t always been Campbell’s (or Foye Oluokun’s, for that matter) strength.
Wyoming LB Logan Wilson’s natural feel in pass coverage will make him a higher pick than some might realize— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) January 23, 2020
He’s a good athlete with great instincts, and those four picks he managed in 2019 certainly look good for a defense still a little starved for playmakers. It also gives Dimitroff a chance to draft another guy from Wyoming, and you know he’s been waiting to do that.
S Kyle Dugger
As is the case with Trautman, there’s some easy and obvious dot connecting here, paired with some legitimate interest from the Falcons.
Dugger’s drawn favorable comparisons to Keanu Neal, and like Neal, might be a riser in the draft. He’s a tremendous athlete with an extremely well-rounded game, and he blew the doors off Senior Bowl practices all week. That could very well put him in the early day conversations.
The Falcons, unfortunately, have both an immediate need and a long-term need at safety. Keanu Neal is recovering from another serious injury and may not be 100% for a bit—if at all—and he, Ricardo Allen, and Damontae Kazee are all free agents in 2021. It’s noteworthy that The Athletic’s Jason Butt, a pretty plugged-in reporter when it comes to the Falcons, has written about Dugger more than once as a potential target for Atlanta. If he’s there in the second round—and if the Falcons can resist the temptation to move up—I would not be at all surprised to see him wind up in Atlanta.
WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
This one’s more speculative than the rest, but Jennings is unquestionably a player to keep an eye on for Atlanta.
Thoams Dimitroff alluded to the team’s potential choice at receiver, where they need a #4 guy at worst and could go for game-changing speed or a big body with sure hands to replace Mohamed Sanu. If they’re aiming for the second role—and if they actually give Russell Gage a chance to go downfield, they should—Jennings is a strong choice. He’s a physical, capable player who is plenty fast enough to outrun defenders and plenty good enough to become a needed red zone threat for Atlanta.
Jauan Jennings doing Jauan Jennings things and catching touchdowns in the Senior Bowl.— Ben McKee (@benmckee14) January 25, 2020
Beautiful throw from Jalen Hurts. pic.twitter.com/NJv4FGpEeU
Count on the Falcons drafting a receiver. Jennnings may go a little early for their tastes, but there’s little question he’d be a good pick.
Who’s on your list?