Falcons 2018 Draft Spotlight Player:
Stanford (rJR) DL Harrison Phillips
Whether or not Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe resigns for an extension this off-season, the Atlanta Falcons will have to address the need for more interior pass-rushers for an inexpensive price.
Besides defensive lineman Derrick Shelby‘s contribution against the run game, the Falcons haven’t got much out of linemen Courtney Upshaw, Ahtyba Rubin, and Jack Crawford (Injured) as a supporting cast to Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe.
Not to say they are bad players but it is a department where their ability doesn’t dominate often.
Looking at this year’s draft class, it’ll be more than likely top interior pass-rushers like Maurice Hurst Jr., Christian Wilkins, and Da’Ron Payne will be gone by the bottom half of the first round.
In some odd ways, the two are similar in their hidden talents that gets over-shadowed by the team’s scheme: Rushing the passer.
In his own rights, Phillips has just as much athletic ability as the other top prospects at his position. He excels at holding his ground against the run with excellent hands to dictate offensive linemen’s body motion.
Phillips could be the versatile piece on the defense that can be stretched as 5-tech end to being lined up as a 3-tech ready to shoot the B-gap.
Heading into the off-season, Atlanta has Donatri Poe, Adrian Clayborn, Courtney Upshaw, and Ahtyba Rubin all heading for free agency, so the demand for interior linemen has to be in high interest.
With just a little over $13.4 million in cap space for free agency, it doesn’t look like the Falcons will be a major contender with some of the top name players.
Just like in years before, the Falcons will be regulated to building most of their roster through select draft decisions and invaluable low-investment free agents.
Harrison Phillips would be a perfect start to that plan.