The Falcons have added Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson with their second round pick, adding size, power, and skill to a unit in need of all three attributes.
Davidson can and probably will be asked to play both defensive tackle and defensive end at times in Atlanta, with his best work coming in his senior season with 6.5 sacks. He’s insanely nimble for a man of his size and is a high-end run defender who is at least a capable pass rusher. In Atlanta, he’s likely to be one of the better defensive lineman on the roster at both of those things pretty much instantly.
The chief knocks on Davidson have been the lack of usage against the run—NFL.com notes he played just 51% of run down snaps in 2019—and inconsistency in general, as well as a perceived lack of a “true” positional fit. None of that is likely to matter for the Falcons, who rotate their defensive linemen and move them around as much as just about anybody. Davidson won’t technically start many games his first year in the NFL, but he’ll wind up getting a ton of snaps both next to Grady Jarrett on passing downs and potentially as a defensive end on run downs.
This is a smart, if slightly unexpected, pick for Atlanta. This team needed at least one more defensive end and defensive tackle to really get this unit clicking, and with Davidson they landed a player who can potentially do both and offers a well-rounded game with significant room to grow, given that he’s just 21 years old. That’s a welcome upgrade for a team that hasn’t prioritized its defensive line nearly enough in recent years.
Welcome him to Atlanta!
What grade would you give the Falcons’ selection of Auburn DL Marlon Davison?
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