Falcons bolster pass rush in draft expert Dane Brugler’s mock


Though many, including myself, want the Falcons to find their franchise quarterback this offseason, it might not come to fruition through the draft.

As it currently stands, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith will be selecting 19th overall in the next cycle. It’s certainly not impossible to move up from that position and land the signal caller of the future, but it will take considerable compensation.

Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels are the only prospects worth trading up for, in my eyes. That might not be how Atlanta’s regime sees it, but let’s play this scenario out for a second.

Williams and Maye will require the Falcons to trade up within the first three picks. The opportunity will present itself in the form of the Bears or Cardinals wanting to build around Justin Fields or Kyler Murray. Daniels will likely still require the Falcons to trade up, but won’t require as much draft capital.

Needless to say, the Falcons could be in a precarious spot this offseason with Desmond Ridder and their options to upgrade because the free agent market is bare, especially if Kirk Cousins decides to return to the Vikings.

The worst-case scenario, at least from where I sit, would be Smith and Fontenot feeling confident enough in Ridder to pass on the opportunity to upgrade the position. He limits the ceiling of this club, but nobody should have faith in the new regime getting the quarterback position right. They haven’t since they arrived in Atlanta.

If not quarterback, it seems likely the Falcons bolster the pass rush in the draft, right? Well, that’s what draft expert Dane Brugler of The Athletic has Atlanta doing in the form of the ultra-athletic ball of clay, Chop Robinson.

19. Atlanta Falcons: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

A player with a wide projection range, Robinson’s body of work says third round, but his ceiling and flashes point to Round 1. The Falcons’ pass rush has ranked near the bottom of the league for far too long, and Robinson’s explosiveness off the edge is a potential answer to that problem.

Honestly, I hate the idea of drafting someone like Chop Robinson but not because of the prospect. Robinson is a freak of nature athlete and if developed properly could turn into the dominant pass rusher the Falcons have been dying to find. So, why wouldn’t I like the idea of drafting the Penn State product?

It’s pretty simple. What makes you, or Brugler, confident this staff can develop a prospect like Robinson? There’s a difference between Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Bijan Robinson, and Chop Robinson.

The other three first-round picks weren’t finished products by any means but were plug-and-play type prospects. Robinson and edge defenders in general take time to nurture. There are very few instances, especially at this point in the draft, where a pass rusher doesn’t need much development.

The Falcons don’t have the most pristine track record of development; just look at their first draft class, which is smack dab in the middle of their third NFL season.

Jalen Mayfield and Darren Hall are no longer with the club. Richie Grant hasn’t taken the strides many had hoped, while the rest have been mostly non-factors. The one bright spot has been Drew Dalman — a fifth-round pick that has turned into a reliable starter.

It’s far too early to make sweeping judgments on Arnold Ebiketie, but in his second season, the 2022 second-rounder probably hasn’t developed into what many had hoped. The Falcons’ pass rush has been practically non-existent since Grady Jarrett’s injury, and Atlanta’s premium draft pick hasn’t been the solution.

I wouldn’t trust the Falcons coaching staff to turn Chop Robinson into the solution either.

Photographer: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

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