Report: Falcons to release pass rusher


After selecting two EDGE defenders in the draft, the Falcons are releasing James Vaughters, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Vaughters only played in ten games a year ago, totaling 211 defensive snaps, but recorded four quarterback hits, one sack and one forced fumble. It seemed Vaughters had impressed the staff with the small sample size; I fully expected him to be a part of the rotation going forward. However, Terry Fontenot double-dipped at EDGE in the draft, selecting Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone.

Atlanta traded up at the beginning of the second round to take the pass rush doctor out of Penn State, who is set to have an immediate impact on the Falcons’ defense. There’s a reason they traded up for him; Ebiketie earned 88-plus PFF pass-rushing grades in each of his final two seasons for the Nittany Lions and tested well athletically.

Malone should also be able to contribute immediately, even if he has some parts of his game that need refining. He’s an underrated pass rushing prospect that totaled 180 quarterback pressures across five years in college, never grading lower than 74.8 overall.

With Vaughters out of the picture, both rookies will have ample opportunities to get on the field.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire



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