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"atlanta Falcons Play 2015 Nfl Draft To Perfection"


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http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2451561-atlanta-falcons-play-2015-nfl-draft-to-perfection

CHICAGO — After three days of watching picks come off the board in the 2015 NFL draft, there were multiple teams that collected high-level talent, addressed positive needs and upgraded their rosters. I can look at the Baltimore Ravens or New York Jets as teams that really improved this weekend by targeting the type of players who will fit in their respective systems.

But if I had to point to just one club that leaves Chicago with a group of prospects that stands above the rest, I have to go with the Atlanta Falcons, based on the core group of guys they acquired to play for new head coach Dan Quinn in 2015. This started on Thursday night in the top 10, when the Falcons identified the need to upgrade the pass rush with Clemson outside linebacker/defensive end Vic Beasley at No. 8 overall.

Beasley is one the top edge-rushers in this class, an athletic freak who produced ridiculous numbers back at the combine with a 40 time in the low 4.5 range at 246 pounds. This is a guy who can win on the edge, get home to the quarterback and impact third downs because of his speed off the ball. That’s key for any defensive system, especially in Quinn’s, where the ability of the front to impact the pocket allows the secondary to play their single-high coverage schemes.

Like every pass-rusher who comes into this league, Beasley will have to develop more counter moves at the point of attack to use his strength and power versus NFL offensive tackles, but the measureables and college tape back up his ability to produce.

In the second round, the Falcons landed LSU’s Jalen Collins, a cornerback with pro size (6’1”, 203 lbs), speed (4.48) and length (32 1/8 inch arms) to play press-man coverage outside of the numbers. Sound familiar?

It should when looking at the personnel Quinn coached in the secondary with the Seattle Seahawks. This is a defensive scheme that leans on Cover 1 (man-free) and Cover 3 (three-deep, four-under zone) with cornerbacks who can walk up in press, challenge receivers at the line of scrimmage and impact the release. Collins can bring that same type of skill set to Atlanta along with the leaping ability (36-inch vertical jump) to make plays down the field on contested throws.

Yes, he only started 10 games in Baton Rouge, but this is about taking that skill set and projecting the talent to the NFL game. That’s a fit with Quinn. And I like the look of this secondary with Collins lining up with Desmond Trufant at cornerback. Those are two man-coverage players to build around.

At the running back position, the Falcons added Indiana’s Tevin Coleman during the third round. He’s a game-breaker on tape who produced over 2,000 yards on the ground this past season while working through a foot injury.

Coleman has true vertical speed (4.39/4.44 at pro day), and he plays with a sudden burst that caters to his style in the backfield. At the NFL level, he will need to showcase a little more patience in both zone and power schemes, but that ability to get up the field sells at the position. He can put a foot in the ground, change direction and expose the defense's second level.

I see some good value here with the Coleman pick. He isn’t Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon, but I love the upside and the threat he brings out of Atlanta's backfield. Spread the field and get the ball to Coleman on the nickel runs versus a light defensive box and then watch him run.

Remember talking about filling needs above? That’s how I view the Falcons' fourth-round selection of East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy. He can replace Harry Douglas inside of the numbers. While Hardy doesn’t have elite measurables (5’10”, 192 lbs) or testing numbers (4.56 40 time), we have to think about his impact in the slot.

Hardy will constantly catch the ball, move the sticks and block in the run game when Atlanta brings its three-wide-receiver personnel on the field. He was a productive player at the college level who can make plays with Matt Ryan at quarterback.

As the draft moved into the fifth round, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was a hot name. A projected second-round pick, Jarrett was still on the board, and the Falcons saw an opportunity here to move up and get him. That’s when Atlanta put together a trade to land the Clemson product.

At 6’1”, 304 pounds, Jarrett doesn’t have the ideal size on the interior of the defensive line, but he can get off the ball and make some money playing in Quinn’s scheme as a disruptive defender. Plus, to get this type of talent in the fifth round might be the best overall value we saw on Day 3 of the draft.

To close out this draft in the seventh round, the Falcons added offensive tackle Jake Rodgers (6'6", 320 lbs) out of Eastern Washingtonand then picked up safety Akeem King (6'3", 212 lbs) from San Jose State. This is when teams look to grab developmental linemen along with linebackers/defensive backs who can make the squad as key special teams contributors.

Evaluating a draft class immediately after the final pick comes off the board doesn’t tell the entire story. We still have to see these rookies compete versus NFL competition, handle the accountability that comes with being a pro and also work though the adversity of a 16-game season. That transition can be a bumpy road at times for a variety of factors during a player’s first year in the league.

But this class in Atlanta, which was handpicked by Thomas Dimitroff, Scott Pioli and the new coaching staff, will have opportunities to play important roles in 2015. This is a great start for Quinn as he looks to rebuild the Falcons with young, core talent that addresses a need and fits in the new system.

Seven-year NFL veteran Matt Bowen is an NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.

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Good read. We did well.

An all-around solid NFL draft...something we haven't had in a few years.

I'm sure some would have picked differently here or there (I would have gambled on Gregory with our 2nd as I believe Collins would have been available in the 3rd) but I can't see how any rational person could give us anything less than a "B" grade overall.

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An all-around solid NFL draft...something we haven't had in a few years.

I'm sure some would have picked differently here or there (I would have gambled on Gregory with our 2nd as I believe Collins would have been available in the 3rd) but I can't see how any rational person could give us anything less than a "B" grade overall.

Agree. The overall quality of this draft deserves at least a solid B grade from the skeptics, but I think this draft grade should be an A based on their production and/or potential every one of these players has to excel in Quinn's D.

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Guest Mr Plow

(I would have gambled on Gregory with our 2nd

You do realize, don't you, that his agent told all NFL teams that Gregory had major issues, and that any team drafting him would need to dedicate significant resources to his mental health, including a 24/7 security team to be with him? This is what you believed to be a wise gamble?

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An all-around solid NFL draft...something we haven't had in a few years.

I'm sure some would have picked differently here or there (I would have gambled on Gregory with our 2nd as I believe Collins would have been available in the 3rd) but I can't see how any rational person could give us anything less than a "B" grade overall.

Highly unlikely Collins would have been available in the third. He had a first round grade, with all the measurables teams want in CBs. And DQ knows exactly what makes a successful corner in his scheme, and clearly he felt like the value was too good to pass up at that stage. That's good enough for me.

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You do realize, don't you, that his agent told all NFL teams that Gregory had major issues, and that any team drafting him would need to dedicate significant resources to his mental health, including a 24/7 security team to be with him? This is what you believed to be a wise gamble?

Actually, I didn't.

I do, however, find it nothing short of amazing than an agent, whose primary purpose is to "sell" his client, would offer such that he would so devalue his client. While I applaud his forthrightness, I question his need to be so brutally honest about one's cognitive shortcoming.

If your comments are accurate (not that I question your integrity; I'm just baffled at such candor) then I must acquiesce somewhat my choice of words...you are correct, indeed this would not be a wise gamble of the millions gambled on a 2nd rounder.

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An all-around solid NFL draft...something we haven't had in a few years.

I'm sure some would have picked differently here or there (I would have gambled on Gregory with our 2nd as I believe Collins would have been available in the 3rd) but I can't see how any rational person could give us anything less than a "B" grade overall.

Agree.

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