Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

D. Led's breakdown of the defensive linemen in the 2016 draft

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons are expected to pick either a defensive end or a linebacker with the 17th overall pick.

One of the prospects, who's been in regular contact with Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox is defensive end Shaq Lawson.

But is Lawson "just a guy?"

Louis Riddick, ESPN's front office insiders, is concerned that Lawson is a major slacker.

“As many good splash plays as he has had, he has had too many, for me, plays where Shaq looks slow, sluggish and not very competitive,” Riddick said. “Quite honestly, in scouting terms, he looks like just a guy. That concerns me.

“I know in the scouting world, people will start (comparing) him to some other defensive players from Clemson, namely pass rushers who haven’t panned out very well.  Scouts do that all the time and Clemson hasn’t had a very good run of players who’ve been successful as pass rushers in the NFL.

"I think people are trying to figure out, are we going to get more of the good splash plays that Shaq Lawson put on tape or are we going to get a lot these dog plays that we see from him. Is he going to be another one of those Clemson defensive ends who people thought were going to be good, but never panned out.”

The Falcons have drafted three Clemson defensive linemen in Malliciah Goodman, Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley.

Teams in need: Atlanta, New Orleans, Buffalo, New York Giants, Cleveland and San Francisco.

Need area for Falcons? Yes. The Falcons were last in the with 19 sacks last season.

Sleeper pick for Falcons: Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State. He's 6-6, 277 pounds. Led the nation in sacks with 15.5 last season. He's projected to go in the fourth or fifth round.

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The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter gives his top players for the Falcons to draft at #17, talks about the interest in LB Myles Jack & tells CineSport’s Noah Coslov where the team may go in round 2.


Sunday, April 17 -- QUARTERBACKS

Rams quest for franchise quarterback behind big trade --Wentz or Goff?

D. Led’s breakdown of the Quarterbacks

A look at the top 10 Quarterbacks in the draft


D Led’s breakdown of the Running backs -- Is Derrick Henry the next Charles Muncie?

A look at the top 10 Running backs


D. Led’s breakdown of the Wide receivers

A look at the top 10 Wide receivers

Wednesday -- TIGHT ENDS

D. Led’s breakdown of the Tight ends

A look at the top 10 tight ends


D. Led’s breakdown of the Offensive linemen

A look at the top 10 offensive linemen


D. Led’s breakdown of the Defensive linemen

Defensive linemen chart

Saturday, April 23 -- LINEBACKERS

Falcons searching for hybrid linebacker/safeties

D. Led’s breakdown of the Linebackers

A look at the top 10 linebackers

Sunday, April 24 -- CORNERBACKS

D. Led’s breakdown of the cornerbacks

A look at the top 10 cornerbacks

Monday, April 25 -- SAFETIES

D. Led’s breakdown of the Safeties

A look at the top 10 Safeties

Tuesday, April 26

D. Led’s breakdown of the Specialists, kickers, punters and returners

Position by position: Specialists chart

Wednesday, April 27

Final mock draft

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