Despite signing Dante Fowler in free agency, ESPN’s draft analyst Mel Kiper doesn’t think the Falcons are done addressing their meek pass rush.
In Kiper’s Mock Draft 3.0 he has the Falcons selecting LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson with the 16th overall pick in the NFL draft.
The top pass rusher in the draft is Ohio State’s Chase Young, who’s slotted to go second to the Redskins.
The Falcons had just 28 sacks last season, which ranked tied for 31st in the league of 32 teams. The Dolphins ranked 32nd with 23 sacks. Vic Beasley (eight sacks) left to sign with Tennessee, and Takk McKinley (3.5 sacks) is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Chaisson, who’s 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds, has a 6.88 grade from NFL.com, which projects him as a quality starter just a level below being considered a “Pro Bowl” talent.
Kiper’s pick ignores that the Falcons’ offensive line gave up 50 sacks and 135 quarterback hits last season and that then has the 29th ranked rushing attack.
Here’s what Kiper had to say about the Falcons’ pick:
“The Falcons replaced Vic Beasley with Dante Fowler in free agency, but they shouldn't stop there. General manager Thomas Dimitroff needs to add another premium pass-rusher, either at edge or along the interior. Takk McKinley, a first-round pick in 2017, just hasn't developed. After fighting through injuries, Chaisson had just 9.5 sacks in his college career, but he has a high ceiling, flashing elite get-off at the snap with a few pass-rushing moves in his arsenal. Before Atlanta picked up Todd Gurley to replace Devonta Freeman, I thought this might be a spot to watch for a running back.”
» D.LED MOCK 1.0: Falcons select LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry
Here’s a look at where things stand Tuesday with the Falcons’ free-agency moves:
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
» Todd Gurley, running back - Agreed to one-year deal with team.
» Laquon Treadwell, wide receiver - Agreed to one-year deal with team.
» Justin McCray, guard - Agreed to one-year deal with team.
» Kenjon Barner, running back -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Matt Schaub, quarterback – Club picked up his option, according to his agent.
» Justin Hardy, wide receiver - Will not re-sign with team.
» Austin Hooper, tight end – Will be allowed to hit the market. Has agreed to terms with the Browns.
» Matt Simms, quarterback -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Keith Smith, fullback – Was re-signed to a three-year deal.
» Wes Schweitzer, offensive guard/center – Will be allowed to hit the market. Set to sign with Washington.
» Ty Sambrailo, tackle - Released by the team March 16.
» Devonta Freeman - Cut by the team March 17.
» John Wetzel, offensive lineman – Vested veteran contract terminated and then re-signed.
» Luke Stocker, tight end - To be released pending a physical.
» D. LED MOCK DRAFT 1.0: Falcons take LSU’s Cushenbery.
» Dante Fowler, end - Agreed to three-year, $48 million deal with the Falcons.
» LaRoy Reynolds - signed by the Falcons on March 24.
» Vic Beasley, end/linebacker – Will not be re-signed. Will join Titans on a one-year deal.
» De'Vondre Campbell, linebacker – Will be allowed to hit the market. Agreed to one-year deal worth up to $8.5 million with Arizona.
» Adrian Clayborn, end -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Jack Crawford, tackle -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Johnathan Cyprien, safety -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Tyeler Davison, tackle - Agrees to three-year deal.
» Ra’Shede Hageman, tackle – Waived by the team Jan. 13.
» Kemal Ishmael, safety/linebacker – Will not be re-signed by Falcons.
» Steven Means, end - Re-signed to a one-year contract March 9.
» Sharrod Neasman, safety -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Jamar Taylor, cornerback -- Unrestricted free agent.
» J.J. Wilcox, safety -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Blidi Wreh-Wilson, cornerback -- Agreed to one-year deal with the team.
» Desmond Trufant - Released by team He signed a two-year, $21 million deal with the Detroit Lions.
» Matt Bosher, punter -- Unrestricted free agent.
» Ryan Allen, punter – Signed to a one-year contract extension for $945,000 on Feb. 18
» Sam Irwin-Hill, punter – Signed to a one-year contract worth $510,000.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
» Brian Hill, running back - Falcons placed fifth-round tender
» Michael Bennett, defensive tackle
» Younghoe Koo, placekicker – Signed a one-year contract extension for $660,000 on Feb. 18.
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