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I'm just dropping this so the peeps can see some filler before "Vic Beasley Part 2" Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you think he will get cut? Will he make the team and be a impact player? Email us suggestions and comments at Unintentionalgrouding@gmail.com YouTube: UnintentionalGrounding - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClCI... Twitter:@UnGrPodcast - https://twitter.com/UnGrPodcast Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Unintentiona... Instagram - ungr_podcast
In a previous thread, I wrote about the false narrative of the Falcons not addressing the pass rush in the draft. Many have criticized the Falcons for not drafting Shaq Lawson. However, drafting a DE does not guarantee that you address your pass rush situation. The media often talks about draft eligible players "rising up draft boards." I think in general, the only boards players truly skyrocket on are the media analysts boards. Teams make FA decisions based upon what they see as available in the draft. The 2016 draft was a weak class for EDGE defenders. Compare that a 2017 mock draft by Josh Norris from Rotoworld. http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/62478/344/2017-nfl-mock-draft (Disclaimer: I understand that much changes over the season. However, at first look, the EDGE class appears much deeper in 2017.) I think it is fair to say that the Falcons did not see much to their liking in the 2016 EDGE class. At 17, Shaq Lawson was always possibility. However, it is unwise to bank on a player being there, and it is also unwise to draft a position just for the sake of it. Let's look at Lawson's draft profile: http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/shaq-lawson?id=2555252 Now let's look at Derrick Shelby's: http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/derrick-shelby?id=2532989 What you will notice is that Shelby comparable athleticism. You could say Shaq is a little more athletic, although Shelby did put up some better numbers in the vertical and 3-cone. The forty time is of little relevance here IMO. Shaq's is better, but at LDE, it's not going to be a detriment. See Michael Bennett's forty time for comparison. However, what is of relevance is LENGTH. It Is something that Quinn emphasizes. Shelby has the advantage here. Heading into the offseason, the Falcons look at both the FA pool and their draft board, which is much more stable at this time than the media's. you have two comparable players, Derrick Shelby and Shaq Lawson. One of them has NFL game film and NFL experience. One doesn't. One of them has shown flashes of very good production in the NFL. One doesn't. As a GM and a coach, are you going to wait for the unproven, or get the NFL vet with upside at a reasonable deal? After Shelby was signed, he became the starter on the depth chart. Shaq Lawson, if picked at 17, becomes a rotational depth player. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of adding pass rush depth. But again, Quinn is very specific on what he wants at certain positions, and LENGTH is a major factor for him. Why draft a guy if he is not THE guy? Let's add some more depth to the discussion when diagnosing the plan of attack the Falcons had. Here is a list of this past off-season's FA Safeties: http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/safety/ Do you see anyone on there that is comparable to Keanu Neal's specific skillset, one that matches Quinn's very detail-oriented outline for what he wants at the position? (Tone-setter, Length, Ball skills, play n the box and cover TE's.) Do you see anyone with the kind of upside that Neal has? Once, Derrick Shelby was signed, it should have clued all of us in that Shaq Lawson was not THE guy. The Falcons may have still drafted him depending upon what happened in the draft, but it was never their plan.
The biggest beef many have with the 2016 draft class is that the Falcons did not add a pass rushing DE. Two things: (1.) Drafting a DE over other talent just because you need pash rush can be costly. Jamal Anderson over Patrick Willis is a cautionary tale Falcon fans should never forget. (2.) Perhaps Shelby was targeted in FA precisely because the Falcons FO did not see "their" guy in the draft. Perhaps Shelby is the young talented player who fully blossoms under Quinn. After hearing Quinn on the radio, I'm confident that is the way he sees it, and this was their plan all along. Outside of Alex Mack, Shelby may turn out to be one of the better FA acquisitions in the league. Only time will tell, but I get the feeling that head coach sees more in Shelby than the general fanbase. Something else to consider... Although the Falcons did not add a DE in the draft, it is a false narrative to say that they did not add to the pash rush. De'Vondre Campbell led the Gophers in sacks (4.0) his senior season. He is a player with a lot of upside in the pass rush department. Also, Deion Jones was not used as a blitzer at LSU, but DQ's comments make clear that the Falcons will blitz him sometimes here.