Atlanta Falcons: Chuck Smith Gives Thoughts on who Falcons Should Draft in First Round
By Adnan Ikic
Former Atlanta Falcons All-Pro defensive end Chuck Smith believes that Alabama inside linebacker Reggie Ragland would be the perfect player for the Falcons to select with their first round pick, in the upcoming draft.
Smith made an appearance on local Atlanta sports radio station 92.9 The Game, on Friday Afternoon, and participated in an interview the station’s afternoon show “Dukes and Bell” where he talked about the defensive players in the upcoming draft class.
When asked straight forward at the end of the interview about who the Falcons should take with their 17th selection in the draft, Smith took a moment of contemplation to himself before citing Alabama’s Reggie Ragland as his answer.
The 1997 All-Pro defensive end selection had nothing but kind words to say about the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Paraphrasing here, Smith claimed that Ragland is a player who is a hard worker and consummate professional, in the Nick Saban mold. Saban, Alabama’s illustrious coach, is known for instilling a valuable work ethic into his players.
One of those player’s was Atlanta’s very own Julio Jones, whom Smith compared Ragland to in terms of that professionalism; while also making it known that the ILB will stay out of trouble, and that he has the chance to be a franchise player on defense.
As for his on-field abilities, Smith said that Ragland is a big hitting “thumper” at inside linebacker, while also being able to rush the quarterback as an outside linebacker or defensive end, on passing downs.
Smith is a defensive consultant for a number of NFL teams, and works as a personal coach for a number of defensive football players, at the professional level and the collegiate level.
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He has personally worked with Reggie Ragland since the Alabama alum’s sophomore year in college. Among other players in this draft, he has also worked with Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence, and Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche
When discussing Nkemdiche possibly falling to the second round of the draft due to his off the field troubles, Smith emphatically stated that if any team in need of a pass rusher lets the former Grayson highschool star fall beyond their grasp in the first round, they would regret it.
Both Ragland and Nkemdiche are coming off of rough combines, Nkemdiche more so after he reportedly bombed the interview process, so both have been projected to be there at 17 when Atlanta picks. In a very recent mock draft, NFL Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein has the Falcons selecting Ragland.
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The draft isn’t until April 26th, so we won’t know anything for sure until then, but we do know which direction former Falcon Chuck Smith thinks the birds should go in come draft day.