Falcons Day 3 draft pick earns PFF’s “elite” grade

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese s Senior Bowl

Coming into the draft, the Falcons had clear needs on the defensive side of the ball.

Kirk Cousins filled the team’s biggest roster hole, inking a $180 million deal in free agency, which is why it was shocking that Terry Fontenot drafted Michael Penix with the 8th overall pick instead of a defender or even Rome Odunze.

No matter. There were still plenty of rounds for the Falcons to find defensive contributors. After drafting an offensive player in the first round for the fourth consecutive cycle, Fontenot then went and spent four straight picks on the other side of the ball.

The Falcons traded up in the second round to land Ruke Orhorhoro out of Clemson. Many believed it was a bit of reach, but Fontenot followed it up with an overwhelming loved pick of Bralen Trice.

However, it wasn’t either of the Day 2 picks that might be the best one. Everyone is talking about the Falcons’ fourth-round pick out of Oregon, Brandon Dorlus, whom PFF gave an elite grade.


Dorlus wreaked havoc on Pac-12 offenses. He thrived with Dan Lanning and the Ducks, assuming multiple roles up and down the line of scrimmage. For a Falcons team that needed multiple bodies along the defensive front, Dorlus could be a man who wears many hats.

In 2023, he recorded four sacks, 35 hurries and seven quarterback hits for Oregon. If Dorlus, Orhorhoro and Trice all materialize like Atlanta envisions, they’ll have completely rebuilt the defensive front.

However, that’s a lot of pressure for a group of non-first-round picks. Though everyone likes Dorlus, the reality is that the Falcons still need more help in the secondary. Hopefully, Fontenot isn’t done adding.

Photographer: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

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