Atlanta Falcons Should Still Consider Randy Gregory
Nov 16, 2013; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers defender Randy Gregory (44) celebrates after a quarterback sack against the Michigan State Spartans in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
With less than two weeks to go until the 2015 NFL Draft (woohoo!), the debate is heating up over which of the top pass rushers the Atlanta Falcons should select with their #8 overall pick.
The way the draft is shaking out so far seems to guarantee that at least one of the top five pass rushers will make it to the eighth overall pick.
Tampa Bay is virtually a lock to take a QB at #1, and all signs point to Jameis Winston being their guy.
Tennessee is in play for Mariota, but they may decide to take top overall prospect Leonard Williams or trade the pick to another quarterback-needy team (Rams, Chargers, Eagles all come to mind).
Jacksonville could take a pass rusher (Dante Fowler Jr. seems to be the favorite) or an offensive lineman.
Oakland seems to be enamored with the WR prospects, and will be picking between Amari Cooper and Kevin White.
Washington seems likely to take another pass rusher off the board, potentially Vic Beasley.
The New York Jets are the wild-card – if Mariota is there, they’ll probably take him. Otherwise, they may be interested in several positions.
Chicago has been linked to both the WRs as well, but they could also be in play for a pass rusher or a stud defensive lineman like Danny Shelton.
So, if the draft were to shake out in the worst possible way, with Jacksonville, Washington, New York, and Chicago all taking pass rushers, the Falcons would likely still have options. Call me unconvinced that this scenario plays out.
I think it’s most likely that three pass rushers (including Leonard Williams) are selected before the Falcons go to the podium. If the Falcons top two choices in Beasley and Fowler Jr. are gone at 8, who should the team select?
There could be cases made for each of the remaining players: Randy Gregory, Bud Dupree, and Shane Ray. The Falcons have shown interest in each player, and all are capable pass rushers in their own right.
I’m here to make a case for Gregory to be the Falcons’ pick. Beware: Hot takes ahead.
Next: The Case for Randy Gregory