Falcons’ projected top draft pick the “best pass rusher” this coach faced

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Middle Tennessee at Alabama

Regardless of your favorite mock drafter, every respectable and even the less respectable pundits have the Falcons drafting one particular prospect — Dallas Turner.

It makes sense for a number of reasons. Firstly, Atlanta hasn’t had a consistent double-digit pass rusher since John Abraham. In fact, they have the longest active streak in the NFL without a 10+ sack season. The last time was Vic Beasley in 2016; it’s a clear and obvious need.

Secondly, Dallas Turner’s athletic profile makes his ceiling incredibly high, higher than any of the other edge prospects. The Falcons, if they can help him realize his full potential, could potentially add the premier edge rusher they’ve been missing for a decade.

Thirdly and most importantly for Terry Fontenot, the Alabama product very well could be the best player available when the Falcons are on the clock. It’s been the M.O. of Atlanta’s GM since he took over, and I don’t anticipate it changing anytime soon.

For a couple of nuggets on the projected top draft pick for the Falcons, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic spoke to a few sources from the college and NFL ranks, with one college coach telling Feldman that Turner was the best pass rusher his team had faced in the last two years.

“He’s violent with his hands and is the best pass rusher we’ve faced the last two years. He’s freaky athletically. We thought he was very versatile.”

Given Alabama’s schedule, it’s safe to assume the anonymous coach works for Texas or an SEC West program. That’s some high praise. Another source had some less-than-kind words for Feldman regarding Turner.

“He takes some plays off but he also played like 900 plays this year. I’m not building in an excuse but that’s a s—ton of plays. There are times the guy gets tired and looks lazy. That’s the only knock. But on average, it’s 60 plays in the NFL compared to 80 or 90 in college. It’s a different deal. His A to B quickness, his hip fluidity, his length, his willingness to play physical is all so impressive. He can beat a block in a number of ways, not just with speed.”

Granted, Turner produced 14.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks to go with 13 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles in 2023. Though he may have taken some plays off, the production is still there. The source also notes the amount of snaps Turner took for the Crimson Tide, which wouldn’t necessarily be the case for him in Atlanta.

There’s a lot to like about Dallas Turner physically, but as we know with Terry Fontenot, the intangibles matter just as much, if not more to the Falcons.

Photographer: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire


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