Falcons Senior Bowl Spotlight: EDGE Defenders

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One of the most beneficial events for aspiring draft-eligible prospects is the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which is a showcase for a group of talented seniors in Mobile.

The Falcons selected four participants from last year’s Senior Bowl in Richie Grant, Ta’Quon Graham, Ade Ogundeji, and Frank Darby while also acquiring undrafted free agent Feleipe Franks. It is no coincidence that nearly half of the Falcons’ nine-man 2021 draft class attended the showcase in Alabama.

Since their introductory press conference, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith have been adamant about the kind of players they want inside the building — accountable, intelligent, and tough. The players invited to the Senior Bowl epitomize those characteristics.

This begins a series where Jake and I will break down each position group at the Senior Bowl. As I file through the defenders’ film, I will begin with the EDGE group.

National Team

Myjai Sanders — Cincinnati

Sanders will be someone that I imagine gains national notoriety as the Senior Bowl progresses. He’s one of the most under-hyped prospects in this EDGE class and will be a productive pass rusher in this league immediately. Sanders projects as a 5-technique, but his combination of power and quick-twitch makes him position versatile.

Logan Hall — Houston

Hall is more versatile than Sanders, given his stature. For the Cougars, Hall pressured opposing quarterbacks from multiple alignments and even resembles former Houston EDGE Payton Turner in some ways. I’d be shocked if he made it out of the top of the second round, and he might even climb into the first round.

Dominique Robinson — Miami (OH)

Robinson is a very raw prospect. Given he only recently switched sides of the ball, a former quarterback turned tight end, Robinson has a long way to go, but he’s certainly worth a flyer on a depth/developmental piece.

Boye Mafe — Minnesota

Mafe’s skillset projects best for odd-fronts, but he consistently improved as a Gopher so that development could open doors his collegiate film didn’t show. His versatility should intrigue Dean Pees.

Tyreke Smith — Ohio State

Like a few of these EDGE defenders, Smith is a position-versatile prospect that can rush from the inside or outside. However, Smith has shown a slight ability to drop in coverage, which the others aren’t quite touted for. This is something Dean Pees asks of his outside linebackers — dropping into coverage along with rushing the passer and defending the run. He’s a large human being, and it shows when he defends against the run.

 

American Team

Jermaine Johnson — Florida State

Johnson is the best prospect of this group. He’s a reliable pass rusher with an explosive first step and the flexibility to bend around the edge. Johnson is also steady in setting the edge when defending the run but possesses the athleticism to chase down ball carriers. He is the best all-around prospect at his position in Mobile.

Cameron Thomas — San Diego State

Even though he’s a former defensive tackle, Thomas showcases plenty of athleticism and presents defensive coordinators with the challenge of harnessing his raw talent. He can work inside and out, but his most noticeable attribute is how violent he is at the point of attack.

Deangelo Malone — Western Kentucky

Malone possesses an impressive frame with the ability to convert speed to power when rushing the passer. Given his outstanding production in Conference-USA, the Senior Bowl will be necessary for him to showcase his talents against similarly skilled players.

Kingsley Enagbare — South Carolina

His best football is right in front of him. Enagbare is raw, but he’s incredibly long and powerful, similar to Kwity Paye from the 2021 draft cycle. The canvas is blank with this former Gamecock, but he should be able to carve out a role in his first season.

Amaré Barno — Virginia Tech

Barno’s length is the first thing that popped from his film. If he can utilize that reach regularly, a team should have no problem correcting some of his other flaws — pad level.

Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

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