What appeared to be the weakest link coming into the draft was finally addressed by Atlanta with their third-round pick. There were rumors the Falcons were highly interested in defensive tackle, D’Aron Payne, but he simply went too early in the draft for Atlanta to even think about trading up for him.
Senat does not have the ideal NFL-body or speed like Payne possesses. Barely standing at 6 feet tall with short arms and less than ideal explosiveness, nothing from Senat’s combine pops off the charts, but when you turn on the tape, Senat can really ball. During his college days at USF, he proved to be a much better playmaker than many of the top defensive tackles taken in the draft. He had over five tackles for loss in each of his last three seasons at South Florida, capping it off in his senior season where he collected 10.5 tackles for loss along with 6 sacks.
There are numerous reasons to be positive about the selection of Senat. His on-field production speaks for itself, as he utilizes his strength and instincts to shed blockers allowing him to be effective against both the run and the pass. Some believe that his lack of size will force him to come off the field in passing situations, but his six sacks in his senior campaign say otherwise. At first glance, he has a lot of the same traits that were seen in Grady Jarrett when he was selected in the fifth-round out of Clemson. Jarrett has already turned into one of the best defensive tackles in the league, and the Falcons seemed to pick up on those similarities, as they had no intentions of waiting around until the fourth or fifth round to select the USF product.
Jarrett played in fifteen games and started in two his rookie season. It is hard to say Senat will be as successful as Jarrett early on in his career, but the Falcons will need him to be if they expect to be Super Bowl contenders. Atlanta needs all the help they can get on the interior defensive line, which will allow Senat all the opportunity in the world to make an impact in his rookie season. The Falcons expect big things from the rookie out of South Florida and hope he can turn into Grady Jarret’s “Robin” at the defensive tackle position.
2018 Predicted Statistics: 22 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks