Jan 2, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Shaq Thompson (7) prior to the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2015 Cactus Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Reinforcements up front
The front-seven needs any help the franchise can find. GM Thomas Dimitroff added linebackers Justin Durant, Brooks Reed and O’Brien Schofield, as well as defensive end Adrian Clayborn in free agency. Don’t think the process of adding talent is done.
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On the assumption the Falcons select a top-notch pass rusher with the eighth overall pick, the odds that the team could bring another edge player in the second round are high.
The front-seven clearly lacked pure talent since the departure of John Abraham at the end of the 2012 season, or even the departure of Patrick Kearney in 2006.
The signing of Clayborn fills a void at the strong-side defensive end position but it is not enough. Adding another talented player at a position is never a bad decision.
It is not a lock but UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa could be available when the Falcons pick in the second round. He is arguably a first round talent, and his powerful and energetic game would bring the qualities the defense needs. Quinn would be happy to steal him with the 42nd overall pick.
Virginia’s Eli Harold still looks to be a project at this time, but an addition like him could pay off down the stretch. A great development and the edge rusher could become a force due to his great athleticism.
Let’s not forget the names of LSU’s Danielle Hunter or even Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha.
The wildcard of the group is Shaq Thompson. […] The linebacker is a true playmaker and has a nose for the ball.
A second edge rusher would be great, but grabbing a linebacker in the second round could even be better. Once again, there is never too much talent.
UCLA’s Eric Kendricks will likely be gone by the end of day one. But keep an eye on Clemson’s Stephone Anthony. As Blogging Dirty’s Kevin Knight spotlighted in a study about the former Tiger, the inside linebacker has all the tools to become a very good player between the tackles.
Miami’s Denzel Perryman could also be in play. He is a leader as well as a thumper inside, and he delivers highlight reels.
The wildcard of the group is Washington’s Shaq Thompson. His talent is undeniable but people across the NFL have a hard time finding him a specific position. His skill set is unique, and this is what will probably save him. The linebacker is a true playmaker and has a nose for the ball.
Next: Skill positions matter