Falcons Seven Picks And What To Know About Them


Over the three days of the draft the Falcons picked up seven new players to add to their roster. Five of their seven additions are to a defense that was among the worst in the NFL for almost every single category in 2014.

They needed a pass rusher. They got it. They needed a running back. They got that too. They wanted length in the secondary. They added that as well.

  • Vic Beasley: Outside Linebacker 6’3, 235 Clemson
    Adairsville, Ga.

What To Know About Him: Beasley had 52.5 tackles for a loss and 33 sacks during his career with the Tigers. He was moved to defensive end in 2012 by his head coach Dabo Swinney, after he came into the program as a tight end. Once the move was made, it seems the production started to take off for Beasley.

His new head coach Dan Quinn sees what made him such a tough pass rusher in college.

“I think it’s his first step quickness and usually for a rusher when you can really get off the spot,” Quinn said. “That’s one of the things when you talk about a rusher. Is how quick can a guy get off the spot? When we evaluated all the guys that is the thing that really jumped out, is his initial quickness. When you can beat a guy to the punch, that’s when you can have your most success as a rusher. He certainly has the ability to do that.”

Some have questioned Beasley’s ability to play against the run. When asked about it, Quinn says that is not an issue.

If you want to know what Beasley thinks about his ability to play in the NFL, he’ll tell you.

“I think I’m a double-digit sack guy,” Beasley said. “I’m going to bring a great pass rush and just put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”

  • Jalen Collins: Cornerback 6’2, 198 LSU
    Olive Branch, Miss.

What To Know About Him: Collins played in 39 games and made 10 starts during his three year career at LSU. He took his game to the next level this season with seven starts. In his final season in Death Valley, Collins posted 38 tackles and a team best nine pass breakups.

LSU defenses are known for their speed, athleticism, and physicality. When Collins is brought up, all three of those adjectives seem to be used. He would even say as much about his play.

“I’m a big corner that likes to hit people,” Collins said. “I like to jam receivers up. Physical, that’s been my nature since I was knee high. Coming from the SEC/LSU, physical is all I know.”

Some of the experts would say that Collins sometimes struggles in pass coverage. NFL.com’s analysis of his weaknesses said that he would sometimes “plays talent over technique.” They also pointed to the fact he only started 10 games in college.

Collins lists San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid as one of his closest friends in the NFL. LSU is a school that has become known as “DBU” over the last few years. Here’s to hoping Collins adds to that reputation.

  • Tevin Coleman: Running Back 6’1, 210 Indiana
    Tinley Park, Ill.

What To Know About Him: Coleman did something that only 18 players in FBS college football history have ever done and that is run for over 2,000 yards in a season. He ran for 228 yards, with a career-long 90 yard touchdown run against the eventual National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus this season. He also ran for 307 yards against Rutgers on the road. That was the second best game in terms of total yardage in Hoosier history.

In terms of the type of running back the Falcons are bringing in? Coleman has an idea of the player he is.

“I’d say I’m an all down back,” Coleman said. “My style is everything. That’s running inside zone, outside zone, pass protection, (and) catching the ball. I can basically do it all. So I think that’s what they were looking for.”

That said, one of the weaknesses listed on his NFL.com scouting report is that he sometimes, “wasn’t always in position to scan defenses on screen passes, resulting in lost yardage.” Another point of emphasis for him to work on according to the experts on that same website, is his pad-level going into contact. They say that sometimes he is running too high and that allows for defenders to make easier tackles.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn does like his ability to be a decisive runner with the football and believes he is a player who can “turn an eight yard gain into a 25 yard gain.”

  • Justin Hardy: Wide Receiver 6’0, 188- East Carolina
    Vanceboro, NC

What To Know About Him:He owns the FBS career record for receptions with 387 during a four year career at ECU. He was paired up with senior quarterback Shane Carden to bring in 1,494 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in his final season with the Pirates. He was a preferred walk-on coming into college and didn’t have any division one offers coming out of North Carolina. He would earn a scholarship after bringing in 64 catches for 658 yards and six touchdowns in his freshman year.

The Falcons are looking for wide receiver help outside of Roddy White and Julio Jones this season. This is especially true with Harry Douglas no longer a member of the team. So, Hardy could be up for that spot alongside free agent signee Leonard Hankerson.

One thing we do know, is that his new head coach Dan Quinn likes the way he plays the game.

“We love the competitive fire, the toughness, and the edge that he plays with,” Quinn said. “To me when we talk about fast and physical it’s not all the defensive mindset. Playing fast and playing physical can be on offense too. You should see him block. You should see him go after the ball, he’s a terrific competitor. Those are just a few of the things that stuck out to us, as we were watching him on tape.”

NFL.Com says that he “lacks quickness and explosiveness out of cuts to create instant separation.” Hardy thinks he can separate.

“I like to hang my hat on my route running in order to get that separation,” Hardy said. “You don’t necessarily have to be the fastest to fit your craft and get that separation that’s needed.”

We will see what he has on the field, when the Falcons hit the field for their rookie mini-camp.

  • Grady Jarrett: Defensive Tackle 6’0, 290- Clemson
    Conyers,Ga. –Rockdale County HS

What To Know About Him: What a swing of emotions it was for Jarrett this weekend. He goes from being undrafted through the first three rounds, to a fire ravaging much of the house he spent the majority of his life in, and then his father’s team picks him in the fifth round.

Now, it is all football for the Rockdale County/Clemson product. In case you didn’t know who his father is, you might have found out on Saturday when the pick was announced and Falcons hall of famer Jessie Tuggle immediately threw up a happy fist-pump. Yes, he is Grady Jarrett’s father.

Jarrett comes to the Falcons after playing all four years at Clemson. This included Honorable Mention All-ACC Selections in his sophomore and junior seasons. He would eventually become a coaches/media first-team selection in his final season with the Tigers.

His experience should suit him well on the next level and he also thinks that his experience can place him anywhere on the defensive line.

“I feel like my versatility is an asset to me,” Jarrett said. “I can play the one or the three (technique). I feel like the three is going to be my best asset. I love the style that coach Quinn wants to play and I just couldn’t land in a better situation.”

Remember too that Dan Quinn’s specialty as a coach is with the defensive line. That is something that excites Jarrett a lot.

His new head coach is also excited about the attributes that he brings to this team.

“Number one we saw initial quickness off the ball,” Quinn said. “On the defensive line that’s one of the things if you can beat the guy to the punch as an inside player, I think that’s where you can be really disruptive. Then of course the strength, I think that’s what comes out. What a tough competitor. He’s going to play a single-gap scheme with us, where he can penetrate and be disruptive. That’s how we’ll best feature him.”

NFL.com has Jarrett compared to Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. Both players are considered to be undersized. However, they both rely on their quickness to be able to make plays.

That same scouting assessment of Jarrett, says that he is built like a refrigerator. Falcons fans are just hoping he can make the impact that the numbers in college said he could.

  • Jake Rodgers: Offensive Tackle 6’6, 320- Eastern Washington
    Spokane, Wash.

What To Know About Him: This offensive tackle played his final year of eligibility on the FCS-level, after playing the first four years of football at Washington State. He has starting experience in the Pac-12, when he was the starting right guard for all 12 games in one of his three seasons with the Cougars. In one of those seasons he started at least one game at all positions on the Washington State offensive line, except for center.

His versatility and size is something that Dan Quinn says really stood out to them.

“Length, speed, (and) toughness,” Quinn said. “He can get his helmet and run ‘wide-zone.’ He’s from an offense that really is a good pass protection team, they throw it like crazy. Long and we can’t wait to get started with him. We think he’s a ‘swing tackle,’ where he can play both right and left.”

Rodgers will get his first look in a Falcons jersey this weekend as part of the rookie mini-camp.

  • Akeem King: Defensive Back 6’1, 212- San Jose State
    Nipomo, Ca.

What To Know About Him: King played four seasons for the Spartans in the Western Athletic Conference. He played in 33 games, with 12 starts during his career at San Jose State. This past season he recorded 71 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, and two pass breakups. He came into college as a wide receiver and was a three sport athlete in high school He also played basketball and participated in track and field.

His new head coach Dan Quinn feels like he is a versatile addition to the defensive backfield.

“He has the versatility to play both safety and corner(back),” Quinn said. “We’re going to try him off at corner first. We’re going to play him on the end of the line and see if we can start off from there. We love the speed, length, and tackling abilities.”

Another feather in King’s cap, is his experience playing special teams. He played most of his career at San Jose State in this phase of the game. He will no doubt be asked to do the same thing with the Falcons.

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