ESPN’s favorite draft fit for Falcons isn’t a surprise

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 10 CFP National Championship

We are less than a month away from the NFL Draft, and the Falcons are a bit of a wild card, as I see it.

With Kirk Cousins in the fold, Terry Fontenot can be flexible with the team’s first-round pick. As he’s done in each cycle since taking over in Atlanta, Fontenot can take the best player available, regardless of the position, which includes Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze.

He can also trade out of the pick because there’s a laundry list of teams that could be interested. Not only could Fontenot make a deal with a quarterback-needy team like the Vikings, Broncos, or Raiders, but he could also make a deal for a team that needs a starting left tackle (Joe Alt, Olu Fashanu) or No. 1 receiver (Nabers, Odunze.)

There are more than a dozen potential suitors, but the Falcons could very well see one of the pass rushers as their best option. Jared Verse is a complete defender who can win with power, while Laiatu Latu is the most technically refined of the three.

However, Dallas Tuner’s ceiling is higher than the other two because of his athletic profile. It’s why ESPN’s Matt Bowen believes they’re a perfect fit for each other.

Turner has the physical tools and the speed — he ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the combine — to fit in coach Raheem Morris’ front as a versatile outside linebacker. Morris can get Turner loose on inside stunts and loops, maximizing his elite closing burst. Plus, Turner will use his explosive jump off the ball to win with power in schemed matchups. His 17% pressure rate last season ranked second in the SEC and eighth in the FBS.

Turner is a linebacker with tremendous upside who can also drop underneath to curl zones or run with backfield releases. He projects as a building block for the Falcons’ defense.

If the Falcons pick Turner, they must have conviction in their ability to develop him because his game certainly needs some refining. The worst-kept secret in the NFL seems to be the Falcons and Dallas Turner.

I’m not quite sure he’s worth a top 10 pick, but neither are Jared Verse or Laiatu Latu. The need is obvious; that much is true. Still, Terry Fontenot has always taken the best player available. The fit may be there. The value might not.

Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: