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 Atlanta Falcons Draft Review


Team Needs: DE LB OG


Selections:


Rd 1. 17 Keanu Neal SS Florida

Rd 2. 52 Deion Jones OLB LSU

Rd 3. 81 Austin Hooper TE Stanford

Rd 4. 115 De’vondre Campbell OLB Minnesota

Rd 6. 195 Wes Schweitzer OG San Jose State

Rd 7. 238 Devin Fuller WR UCLA



Recap:

Dan Quinn clearly wanted to put his stamp on the defensive roster heading into 2016. With their first selection the Falcons selected Florida safety Keanu Neal. Neal is athletic and physical and should start immediately and give the Falcons a more physical presence in run support. Neal is known for being able to lay a big hit but he is also very capable in coverage. Neal might have been the best overall safety in this class anyway, but he’s a great fit for Dan Quinn’s defense. Deion Jones is a safety linebacker hybrid that will line up at OLB for the Falcons. He has incredible speed and is an instant upgrade in that department over what the Falcons had last year. He isn’t going to be the most physical linebacker on the field but he’s make plenty of plays. Austin Hooper is a guy whose tape is fun to watch. He’s not the dominating athlete that many teams look for in a tight end these days but he has great awareness and consistently plays with fundamentals. He should develop into a steady option for the team in the passing game. De’Vondre Campbell is another outside linebacker with amazing speed. Suddenly the Falcons have the athleticism to control opposing offenses. He will likely be asked to earn a spot on special teams, where he should excel, but he could also see action in nickel or dime defensive packages for the team. Wes Schweitzer is a physical guard that gets good push and movement in the running game. He’s a developmental prospect still but he does off some upside for the future. Will Fuller is a speed demon that will look to make his mark in the return game first, and as the team's 5th receiver in certain packages.

Analysis:

  1. Dan Quinn needs a physical safety to set the tone for his defense and Keanu Neal fits the bill perfectly. Neal wasn’t the 17th best player on our board, or anyone else's, most likely, but he is close enough when combined with the fit in Atlanta to make this a very good, if underrated selection.

  2. Speed at linebacker was something the Falcons needed to target, and target it they did. Both Jones and Campbell are faster than any linebacker on their team and will have a chance to earn meaningful playing time in training camp and the pre-season. Quinn will be able to get them in the right position through scheme. If these two guys can pick up that defense quickly then Atlanta will be much better defensively.

  3. The Falcons probably should have looked at a guard before Schweitzer in the 6th round, although it is difficult to see where given their prior picks, but they could have found themselves a potential starter anyway. Schweitzer needs a lot of work in pass protection but he looks like an upgrade in the running game.

Grade: B


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