Potential top Falcons draft pick compared to Vic Beasley

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Middle Tennessee at Alabama

The Falcons are expected to add to the defense later this month in the NFL Draft.

Whether it’s at the no. 8 pick or in a scenario where they trade back, most pundits have the team landing one of the top defenders. Quinyon Mitchell, Jared Verse, and Laiatu Latu are among the most popular prospects mocked to the Falcons, but none compare to Dallas Turner.

Everyone and their mothers have the Alabama product coming to Atlanta in their mock drafts, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a clear need for a premier edge defender, and Turner’s incredible athleticism makes his ceiling insanely high. The fit makes a lot of sense.

However, because of that raw ability, it may make some Falcons fans hesitant, bringing up bad memories from a similar prospect the team took with (ironically) the 8th pick in 2015 — Vic Beasly.

Aaron Schatz of ESPN recently went through the edge class and compared Dallas Turner to Von Miller and Beasly.

1. Dallas Turner, Alabama

SackSEER projection: 26.3 sacks through five NFL seasons
Scouts Inc.: No. 6 overall
Similar historical prospects: Von Miller, Vic Beasley

Turner comes out as the top prospect in the Explosion Index that combines various combine drills. He led all edge rushers in the 40-yard dash at 4.46 seconds, had the highest vertical jump at 40.5 inches and was close to the top in the broad jump at 10-foot-7. Turner also tops all other prospects in the SRAM metric, as he had 10 sacks as a junior and, more impressively, 8.5 sacks as a freshman in 2021.

What’s holding Turner’s projection down is his low total of passes defensed. Passes defensed is a good indicator of pass-rush ability, as it shows a player’s skill to get up and slap down the ball when close to the quarterback. Turner only had one in three seasons.

When looking for similar historical prospects, I couldn’t find any similar to Turner in weight, sack stats and combine drill performance but also very low in passes defensed. (Miller had five in his junior year, for example, plus an interception as a senior.)

I think these comparisons are perfect for the debate going on among Falcons fans.

On the one hand, we’ve seen a super raw, athletic player come to Atlanta and not realize his full potential for one reason or another. On the other hand, Miller, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, is an excellent argument for taking a guy as athletic as Dallas Turner.

The Falcons will have to have conviction in their coaching staff’s ability to get the most out of whoever they draft, not just Turner, but especially the Alabama product.

Photographer: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire

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