2023 NFL Draft: Top 10 Linebackers and their fits with the Atlanta Falcons
No. 6: Owen Pappoe, Auburn
2022: 12 Games Played, 93 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 2 Fumbles Forced, 3 Pass Deflections
2021: 5 Games Played, 23 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 2 QB Hurries
2020: 11 Games Played, 93 Tackles, 6.0 Tackles for Loss, 4.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 2 Pass Deflections
2019: 13 Games Played, 49 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 4 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 2 Pass Deflections
Owen Pappoe is about 15 pounds lighter than ideal for an NFL linebacker, but he has the kind of athleticism that teams will love. He hits like a safety coming downhill. Pappoe can jar the ball loose from receivers going over the middle including big tight ends. He's extremely competent in zones and can drop deep enough for a Tampa 2 and be a top-level coverage guy the way that Deion Jones was early in his career. He also understands route concepts that are used to attack his zone.
Against the run, his lack of size and strength come to play. He does have solid enough instincts, but he needs to get better with his angles and wrapping up his tackles. The Falcons could see him and think that he's another Jones but with more heart than what Jones was playing within 2021. They could have a great scheme idea for him with how defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen saw DeMario Davis used in New Orleans, and he could be that guy for the Falcons if taken as late as the fourth.