Georgia Tech’s Keion White can see himself fitting with Falcons

INDIANAPOLIS — The Falcons need pass rushers. A good one happened to play collegiately right up the street.

Georgia Tech edge rusher Keion White quickly ascended from general unknown to potential first-round pick. White spoke at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday and was asked if he could envision himself with the Falcons.

“Yeah, (I could see myself fitting in), especially with their defensive coordinator (Ryan Nielsen) coming from the Saints, and having players like Cam Jordan and everybody like that,” White said. “I could see them wanting a player like that.”

White hasn’t yet met with the Falcons, who pick No. 8 and No. 44 in the first two rounds. But the team is seeking pass-rush help, even with its encouraging group of young players such as Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone. The Falcons collected only 39 sacks across the past two seasons, and they’ve had only one player reach a double-digit sack total in the past decade (Vic Beasley, 2016).

Nielsen would like White for a multitude of reasons. He was measured just under 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds at the Senior Bowl in January. Jordan, with whom Nielsen worked closely as the Saints’ defensive line coach, is listed 6-foot-4, 287 pounds.

White has sold himself as a defensive chess piece, which would appeal to any coordinator, but it would especially help Nielsen’s effort to build a malleable unit in Atlanta. The buzz word among defensive linemen Wednesday was “versatility,” a term often overused in football but nonetheless a vital trait.

“I’ll go wherever I need to go (positionally),” White said. “Personally, I like playing the 5 technique. Anywhere from 3 to 9 I feel is reasonable for me. And I like being able to play anywhere from 3 to 9, that versatility I have, because that only makes you more valuable as a player.

“I’m 285 (pounds), reasonably strong, I can play in and I’m quick enough to play on the outside as well. So I like the weight I’m at. If the teams need me to (add weight), you give me the money for it, I’ll go anywhere. So that’s how I feel about it.”

White wasn’t noticed nationally as Tech struggled, but there were moments of brilliance. His best game came in Tech’s upset victory over North Carolina when White sacked quarterback Drake Maye three times. White had 7.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss last season.

“He thinks broader than somebody our age,” former Tech linebacker Charlie Thomas, the only other Yellow Jacket in Indianapolis this week, said of White. “He thinks differently. … Him coming to Georgia Tech, he had some hype building. The way he played this season, he regained his (hype). I feel like it was already destined for him to get this attention.”

White could become the 12th first-round pick in Tech history. Tech hasn’t produced a first-round selection since edge rusher Derrick Morgan and receiver Demaryius Thomas in 2010.