During the Dan Quinn era in Atlanta, the Falcons have tapped the LSU farm system for talent. Here is an in-depth outlook on another Tiger that can improve the team’s pass rush.
One underlying tactic within the depths of the NFL Draft is identifying a particular team’s tendency to draft in certain areas. For the Atlanta Falcons, they have developed a healthy habit of using the LSU football program as a resource to improve their football team, often with a focus on the defensive side of the ball. In terms of results, it has been a mixed bag under Dan Quinn. But in essence, so is the concept of drafting as a whole.
The Falcons are in true need of improving their pass rush this offseason. Whether it will come in the area of free agency or the draft remains to be seen. Either way, this area of the roster can no longer be a sore spot for the team in 2020. Sitting in the middle of the first round, the Falcons may be able to get their hands on an athletic specimen out of LSU that can definitely speed things up on defense for Atlanta. Let’s take a look at my latest report on LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson.
K’Lavon Chaisson Scouting Report
Weight: 250 pounds
Career stats: 24 career games, 92 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, four pass deflections, one forced fumble
Games watched: 2017 vs. Chattanooga, 2018 vs. Miami, 2019 vs. Alabama, 2019 vs. Texas, 2019 vs. Oklahoma, 2019 vs. Clemson
Simply put, Chaisson is a freak, but in a good way, of course.
A very agile and fluid defender, Chaisson has the athletic chops to make a name for himself in the NFL. During his three seasons at LSU, Chaisson added on roughly 30 pounds to his frame as he entered college football as a weak-side defensive end out of the state of Texas. You don’t quite often see speedy edge rushers convert speed-to-power consistently enough but Chaisson has that ability within his arsenal, which is a big plus for him.
Chaisson has the ability to dip underneath opposing blockers and get his hips parallel to the ground while also maintaining proper balance. When asked to stunt, Chaisson’s loose hips allows him to scrape easily over the top of interior linemen and crash inside. Opponents made the mistake to use tight ends to block Chaisson in the run game.
Chaisson is seen on tape to be stronger than he appears, and often he makes offenses pay for sticking him with a tight end. LSU did not always deploy him as strictly a pass rusher. When playing in coverage, Chaisson is more than capable of being impactful thanks to his athleticism and very impressive length. Chaisson is blessed with a lethal first step as an edge rusher but what is more impressive is his capability to use counter moves when speed does not win the battle initially.
In just three seasons, 24 career games is a tough barometer to fully evaluate and gauge Chaisson. He tore his ACL in the season opener in 2018 and missed the rest of the season. He was able to bounce back with his best collegiate season in 2019. But it’s understandable to wonder if he can maintain that consistency over the course of 16 NFL games. Only posting 9.5 sacks in three seasons is also a red flag.
When coming off the edge, Chaisson has shown here and there to overrun the pocket and take himself out of the play. Chaisson still needs some refinement from a technical standpoint as a pass rusher, especially when engaging at the point of attack. At times, Chaisson was near unblockable, even against the most respected of opponents. But even as LSU’s best pass rusher this past season, there were times where you didn’t even hear his name.
Let me start off by saying that if you’re reading this as a Falcons fan, do not compare this prospect to former Falcon Vic Beasley. Simply looking at both as undersized pass rushers truly limits Chaisson and his overall potential. In addition, he is a little more developed overall than Beasley coming out of Clemson. So there’s that.
With that being said, Chaisson has IMMENSE potential. He is possessed with an All-Pro ceiling and can be exactly what the Falcons need in their scheme as a dynamic, athletic chess piece to get after the quarterback. Is Chaisson a full-time defensive end for Atlanta? Probably not. It may be best for the Falcons to expand his role and implement him in various duties within the front seven. Something that Chaisson showed during his time at LSU that can make him a worthy add was how he applied the work off the field to improve and make himself known as a viable weapon. In many cases, for developmental prospects, that’s the difference in being a future pillar or bouncing from team to team.
If you enjoy speed and someone who can get to the quarterback in a flash, Chaisson is eye candy. While he won’t completely solve the pass rushing woes for Atlanta (and no one truly will unless you’re Chase Young), Chaisson can be an explosive add to a defense that looked lifeless for most of 2019.