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Falcons pass on A.J. Epenesa to select Javon Kinlaw in latest mock draft

Atlanta snags the big defensive tackle to solidify the interior line.

Appalachian State v South Carolina Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

We are deep in mock draft season with analysts consistently sending the Atlanta Falcons defensive linemen. If this feels like every offseason the last 15 years, it is because the team has not had a good defensive line for about 15 years.

That has not changed, especially with the pass rushers the team drafts. With Vic Beasley mercifully heading to free agency, there is a big opening for a starting defensive end. Most mock drafts have an edge player going to Atlanta at 16, but Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft has the Falcons passing over presumptive favorite A.J. Epenesa.

After a strong Senior Bowl week, the Falcons would be fortunate to land Kinlaw at No. 16. While people have said for years the Falcons need to get pressure from the edge, Kinlaw can help do it up the middle.

This sure would have been a great plan a decade ago when the Falcons were getting blown out by Drew Brees twice a year. Outside of one-man wrecking crew Grady Jarrett, the defensive tackles range from the good but unsigned Tyeler Davison and Jack Crawford to the oddly inactive Deadrin Senat.

There is a pretty big need at defensive tackle. Improving the interior pass rush could also help Takkarist McKinley. It is odd to see Epenesa drop to 18 considering his rave reviews and impressive size. The Falcons need to get this pick right after they passed on TJ Watt for McKinley in 2017.