Falcons Day 2 NFL Draft Recap

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After shocking the football world by taking Michael Penix Jr. with the 8th overall pick on Thursday night, Terry Fontenot and the rest of the Falcons War Room had to block out the noise in order to nail a critical Day 2 of the NFL Draft. Most hoped they would finally place an emphasis on the defense, particularly the defensive line, and they did just that, selecting two players that could potentially boost their pass rush.

Ruke Orhorhoro, DT/DE, Clemson

The Falcons were originally slated to have three Day 2 picks, two in the third round and one in the second. However, they decided to move up eight spots to pick 35 in the second round, sending a second and one of their third round picks to the Arizona Cardinals, which they used on Orhorhoro.

I’ll admit, there were a lot of sexy names still on the board when the Falcons were on the clock, but Orhorhoro was not one I was expecting. He was projected to go in the third or fourth round, but Terry Fontenot must have caught wind that somebody in front of them was going to take him unless they moved up the board. Regardless, the Falcons were aggressive in getting a player they believe can help them right away. Conviction is what you look for in the draft; we can judge whether they were right or not once we see Orhorhoro on the field.

Orhorhoro is listed as a defensive tackle that stands 6-4, 295 pounds, but he’s a guy that can play defensive end in the 3-4 base defense new defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake plans to run. His stats don’t jump off the page, only recording 16 tackles for loss with nine sacks over his last two seasons at Clemson. However, what he lacked on the box score, he makes up with crazy athleticism.

This is a ball of clay that has the potential to develop into something special. Orhorhoro might be the most athletic prospect in this class for his size, and if coached properly, he’ll be a significant boost to a defensive line that needs several additions.

Bralen Trice, DE, Washington

Most people were rightfully critical of the Michael Penix Jr. selection in the first round because the Falcons just signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract. There were just as many scratching their heads about trading up and snagging Orhorhoro with the 35th pick. However, the Falcons third-round selection — Bralen Trice out of the University of Washington — was universally praised among fans.

This is a guy who was a game-wrecker for the Huskies as their defensive captain. He led the NCAA in pressures with 77, nine more than UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, who was the first defender taken off the board.

The biggest knock on Trice is his measurables. He’s not very big for a true defensive end, and he tested poorly at the NFL Combine, but few players in all of college football have better tape. Some guys just know how to make plays, and the Falcons are hoping that continues at the next level for Bralen Trice

Photo: Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire

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