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Falcons player profile: DT Marlon Davidson

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We’re kicking off our Falcons player profile series with a look at the projected starters. We continue our preview of DT with second-round draft selection Marlon Davidson. What can we expect from the rookie in 2020?

Auburn v Mississippi State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.

We’ll get things started with the projected starters. The second group I’ll be taking a look at is DT, where the Falcons invested a second-round pick in Marlon Davidson and re-signed run-stuffing specialist Tyeler Davison. Just how good can this unit be in 2020?

Today we’ll shift our focus to second-round draft selection Marlon Davidson. What can we expect from the rookie in 2020?

DT Marlon Davidson

Age: 22

Contract: $1.25M cap hit in 2020 (projected), rookie contract through 2023 ($1.75M APY)

Career Production: 50 games played | 90 total tackles, 28.0 TFL, 14.5 sacks, 9 PD, 3 FF (College)

2019 Production: 12 games played | 29 total tackles, 11.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1 PD, 1 FF (College)

Previous Teams: Drafted 2nd round (#47 overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2020)

Measurables:

An imposing player throughout his college career at Auburn, Marlon Davidson was drafted by the Falcons in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Davidson made a name for himself with his fiery demeanor and versatile skillset in the SEC, offering the flexibility to play both at EDGE and at DT. While his size (6’3, 303) suggests a bigger role on the interior at the NFL level, Davidson has uncanny athletic ability for someone that big.

Davidson actually spent a majority of his time on the outside, giving tackles fits with his massive size and surprising agility. He’s capable of winning with both athleticism and raw strength, and can utilize his bull rush and burst to overwhelm lesser competition. While Davidson didn’t post amazing production during his first three seasons at Auburn—he played in 13 games as a true freshman—he turned in an excellent senior season. His 29 total tackles, 11.5 TFL, and 6.5 sacks were all career highs, and he began to show a more advanced understanding of the game.

Davidson now comes to the Falcons projected to play a sizable role on the interior as a pass rushing DT. While he also has the ability to play EDGE in base packages, most of those snaps are likely to go to the veteran Allen Bailey. Davidson’s 2020 success will likely depend on how quickly he can acclimate to a full-time role on the interior against NFL-caliber offensive linemen, but the future seems quite bright.

Projection: As a passing-down specialist lining up next to Grady Jarrett, we should expect Davidson to post solid, if unspectacular, production for a DT. Something in the area of 4.0 sacks and 7.0 TFL seems like a reasonable rookie season for a player as talented as Davidson who is making a slight positional change. If the defense plays more like the second half of 2019, however, Davidson could turn in a better overall season than expected.