Atlanta Falcons Potential First Round Pick: Clelin Ferrell

Atlanta Falcons, Clelin Ferrell (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Clelin Ferrell (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Clelin Ferrell (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Fit with the Atlanta Falcons

Clelin Ferrell would be a solid fit with the Atlanta Falcons as a 4-3 defensive end. They do ask their pass rushers to drop back in a zone blitz scheme on occasion, a weakness for Ferrell, but not enough to make him a liability in the scheme. With his polish and experience playing high level NCAA football, Clelin would project to be a part of the Atlanta Falcons rotation from day one, should he be the team’s selection.

Clelin Ferrell would immediately help the Atlanta Falcons run defense as he is bigger and stronger than Vic Beasley. He would fill a need as a defensive end that can play on early downs, replacing Brooks Reed or Derek Shelby who were often cast in that role. At the same time Ferrell can also play on passing downs, taking advantage of his pass rushing acumen. He would give the Atlanta Falcons a second versatile defensive end to pair with Takkarist McKinley.

Putting together a high level pass rush, has been an issue for the Atlanta Falcons for years. They have not had a consistently dominant pass rusher since John Abraham. Vick Beasley has been disappointing, other than the 2016 season in which he led the NFL in sacks. Takk McKinley has been solid, but has yet to become consistently disruptive as a pass rusher.

I believe that edge rusher is the most difficult position in the NFL to fill, other than quarterback. Pass rushers drafted in the early rounds have had a high bust rate, making drafting Clelin Ferrell or any other edge rusher in the first round, a risky proposition. At the same time the best pass rushers almost never hit the free agent market due to the franchise tag. Several teams have made bad investments on second tier pass rushers by overpaying. The Atlanta Falcons and their fans know this first hand, from the disastrous signing of Ray Edwards in 2011.

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The Atlanta Falcons are facing a big decision on Vic Beasley and his 12.8 million dollar cap hit. The team must restructure his contract or release him before March 13, in order to avoid paying a hefty salary to a player with disappointing production. Once the status of Vic Beasley is decided, we at Atl All Day will have a clearer picture, as to rather Clelin Ferrell is has a serious chance to join the brotherhood next season. One this is obvious, the Falcons need to allocate more resources to improving their lackluster pass rush. Though it’s risky, selecting an edge rusher early in the draft gives Atlanta the best chance to solve their pressure problems.