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On Monday's episode of the Bill Barnwell football podcast, Barnwell discussed the Falcons/Chargers game with Matt Bowen, former NFL safety and quality football writer. Here's the link to download the podcast (iphone users can find it in the podcast app as well) http://www.espn.com/espnradio/podcast/archive/_/id/15230808 The pertinent part of the interview starts at ~44:00. Barnwell criticizes the defense a little bit about being a year and change into the system and still making those mistakes without mentioning the presence of rookies on the defense who are not a year + into the scheme. Still, the discussion overall is a good one, even if a bit Chargers-centric.
Vic Beasley Jr., DE, Atlanta Falcons Beasley's combine performance the past February was absolutely ridiculous. At 6-foot-3, 246 pounds, the former Clemson star ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, posted a vertical jump of 41 inches and recorded a time of 6.91 in the three-cone drill. Those are numbers we would expect from a defensive back -- not a 240-plus-pound edge rusher. Oh, and he threw some weight around at the combine, with 35 reps on the bench test. Even with all the buzz Beasley generated, questions lingered. Would his athleticism translate to the field on Sundays? Could he develop the counter moves necessary to get to the quarterback? Beasley recorded only four sacks in 2015, which is low for a top-10 pick. But I caution against looking only at box scores to analyze his production: Beasley progressively improved over the course of the season, based on the tape I watched. That's a sign of development at a position in which rookies often struggle. It's hard to consistently win on the edge in the NFL. Speed, or burst, is one thing -- you need that. But can you set up offensive tackles, use multiple moves at the point of attack, win with your hands and create a positive angle to put a hit on the quarterback? This stuff takes time (and reps) to truly see results. With that one year of experience, tape to self-scout in the offseason and a better feel for the pro game, Beasley will be in position to produce more and become a disruptive edge rusher in Dan Quinn's scheme. Although he needs to improve against the run game (another transition for college players), his development is something to watch in 2016. All that speed and power? A lot of talent here. http://espn.go.com/nfl/insider/story/_/id/14755329/five-rookies-ready-pop-year-2-nfl http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/19027/espn-insider-big-2016-for-falcons-vic-beasley