In the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, after swapping second round picks with the Houston Texans, the Atlanta Falcons selected LSU linebacker Deion Jones. The Falcons then went on to choose Stanford tight end, Austin Hooper, in the third round.
After previously selecting the Florida safety Keanu Neal in the first round, another defensive pick in Deion Jones furthers the notion that the Falcons are on a mission to improve their defense this offseason.
With the selection of Jones, Atlanta can expect to be adding some speed to their defensive line. At LSU’s pro day, he wowed everyone, including himself, with a 4.38 second 40-yard dash.
As a senior, he led the LSU Tigers with 100 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and was named LSU’s Defensive MVP. LSU Coach Les Miles referred to Jones as, “maybe the fastest linebacker that I personally have been around that has any size to him at all.”
After the pick, Atlanta Falcon’s general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in an interview, “He adds tenacity to our defense. You see the theme that we’re going for here. Obviously that’s what Dan Quinn is about. That’s what this defense is about. Ability to cover, that’s going to be an important part of it; ability to have range.”
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In the third round, with the No. 81 overall pick, the Falcons shifted their focus to the offense with the selection of Stanford tight end Austin Hooper. This past season, he totaled 438 yards and six touchdowns.
Hooper’s NFL Combine highlights include a 4.72 second 40-yard dash and a 7.00 second 3-cone drill. Not to mention, at 6-foot-4, 254 pounds, he’s a pretty big guy. His size and speed will complement the Falcon’s current starter, Jacob Tamme.
Though he will not need to start immediately with Tamme as starter and Levine Toilolo holding the position of second tight end, being a rookie will give Hooper time to develop and grow as a player.
Now that the Atlanta Falcons have found their safety, linebacker, and tight end, they still have the positions of pass rusher, guard, and even cornerback to fulfill in future rounds.