Atlanta Falcons: True or False Predictions for the off-season
Will Shaq Lawson or Kevin Dodd be playing for Atlanta next season?
The question isn’t necessarily if the Falcons should draft a pass-rusher but more of WHICH pass-rusher are they going to draft? Multiple draft analysts have linked the Falcons to drafting players like Kevin Dodd (Clemson), Shaq Lawson (Clemson), Reggie Ragland (Alabama), Michael Thomas (Ohio State), and Noah Spence (E. Kentucky). All are great players in their own right but many analysts, including myself, have linked a connection between Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd.
The Falcons made a major improvement from being the last ranked defense to being ranked 17th in the league. Though some may argue that the team’s defensive line was a mixture of older veterans and rookie defenders as a result of the lackluster pass-rush, there are other glaring needs that should be addressed like linebacker, defensive backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen. All are places that need to be improved but if the is to ever make major strides as a team then they will need to draft or sign a premium pass-rusher.
Since the Senior Bowl, many fans have hopped aboard the Noah Spence train but there are other great quality prospects that will demand close evaluations from the Falcons. Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson, both from the University of Clemson, manded the Clemson defense that led them to the National Championship. Both have received first round grades but unlike many of the draft’s top edge defenders, they are physically gifted to play with their on the dirt (Dodd 6’5 275lbs and Lawson 6’3 270).
I do believe that the Falcons will try to address all needs during free agency but there are going to be edge defenders in free agency trying to inflate their contract. If Atlanta feels that adding along another Clemson alum onto their defensive line is an option then the Falcon draft will begin with either Lawson or Dodd.