Falcons take pass rusher in Dane Brugler’s way-too-early 2024 mock draft

DKB221016019 sfo vs atl

The 2023 NFL Draft has just concluded, and draft nerds everywhere are already taking an early look at next year’s class. Dane Brugler of The Athletic is among the most well-respected draft analysts in the business, and he recently completed his first mock draft of the 2024 cycle. Brugler had the Falcons selecting in a familiar position — 8th overall — where they have drafted in each of the past two years, and he had them taking a pass rusher for the first time since 2017, when they selected Takk McKinley out of UCLA with the 26th pick.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Jared Verse, edge, Florida State

A projected first-round pick had he entered the 2023 NFL Draft, Verse enjoyed his first year in Tallahassee and decided to stay for another season. His play speed and NFL-quality hand usage make it tough for blockers to control him.

Verse transferred from Albany to Florida State prior to last season and immediately became an impact player for the Seminoles, racking up nine sacks and 14 tackles for loss. In a weak class for pass rushers, he probably could have been a first-round pick in this cycle but chose to remain in college for one more season and improve his draft stock.

Verse possesses the ideal size for an EDGE rusher, standing 6’4″ and weighing 250 pounds. His quick first step and athleticism generally give him the advantage in pass rushing situations, but like most prospects, he has a lot of work to do when it comes to developing an arsenal of moves. Another year at the top level of college football should do him wonders, and it could result in him being the top EDGE defender selected this time next year.

As a Falcons fan, I would be shocked if this team is picked in the top 10 again in 2024. This roster is far more talented than the year before and should compete for a playoff spot. However, the Falcons’ success will be determined by Desmond Ridder. If he proves to be the guy, there’s almost no chance they aren’t in the playoff mix come January. And if not, the Falcons will surely be looking to find their quarterback of the future during the next draft cycle.

However, if Atlanta does find themselves picking 8th again and doesn’t make a move up the draft board to take a quarterback, Verse would make a lot of sense. The Falcons bolstered their defensive line significantly in free agency this offseason, but most of their acquisitions are not in their long-term plans. They need to add a lot more talented youth to the position, and Verse would be an outstanding start.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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