Atlanta Falcons Draft John Cominski to Boost Defensive Line

Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

NFL Draft analysts all over the country felt adding to the defensive line, was the Atlanta Falcons primary need coming into this year’s draft. Atlanta had other ideas, waiting until day three to bolster the position. They selected John Cominski in round four to fill that need.

While many Atlanta Falcons fans were focused on the wealth of talent at the defensive tackle position, they also knew Atlanta needed to improve their pass rush and offensive line as well. Adding another edge setting, run stopper at defensive end was also a necessity. Rather than fill all four of those needs with the seven draft picks that they made, the Falcons chose to double up on reinforcements for the offensive line. They did however fill the need of run stuffing defensive lineman on day three, by drafting defensive end John Cominski.

John Cominski comes to the Atlanta Falcons via the University of Charleston in West Virginia. The  6’5 286 pound defensive end was a running quarterback in high school, but converted to defensive end in college. He sat out his freshman season preparing his body and learning how to play his new position. Cominski’s work ethic and physical ability, helped him earn a spot in the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman. He responded, making 37 tackles on the season with five of those stopping his opponent for a loss of yardage. The freshman also had a respectable four sacks and batted down three passes.

John Cominski continued to play well his sophomore season, adding another 41 tackles and four tackles for a loss. He also added 2.5 sacks and another pass deflection to his resume. He was recognized as a member of the All Mountain East Conference Second Team, despite the decline in measurable stats. As a Junior John Cominski took his game to another level, notching career highs in stats across the board. The defensive lineman had an impressive line of 71 tackles, 6.5 sacks and five passes defended. Cominski also had an incredible 23 tackles for a loss and recovered a fumble. He was rewarded by being named to the All Mountain Conference First team.

John Cominski saw many double teams during his final season in college. His sack total dipped down to 3 but he was still dominant, racking up 67 tackles and16.5 tackles for a loss. He also forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble, deflected a pass and blocked a kick. Cominski earned the highest Mountain East accolade for a defender, as he was named 2018 Defensive Player of the Year for his conference. He now becomes a member of the Atlanta Falcons after the team traded up a couple of spots, to select him number 135 overall in the NFL Draft. The Draft Network’s Benjamin Solak wrote a detailed article on the path John Cominski has taken to the NFL. The interesting article can be found by clicking here.

Here is the initial reaction of John Cominski after being selected by the Atlanta Falcons. The video is provided by the Atlanta Falcons YouTube channel:

John Cominski is a terrific athlete. He ran a 40 dash time of 4.69 and was recorded as low as 4.66. That is an impressive time, that ranked second among all non edge rushing defensive linemen at the NFL Combine. Only first round pick Rashan Gary ranked better at the position. Cominski was a full tenth of a second faster than Nick Bosa, the second overall pick who finished third in the event. He also beat Nick Bosa for second place in the three cone drill, however Bosa won the 20 yard shuttle, where as Cominski finished eighth. All this from a man who weighs 286 pounds. He also showed explosiveness, tying the top line prospect Bosa, for sixth place in both the broad and vertical jump events.

Scott Carasick of FalconsWire shows us, that John Cominski compares favorably to defensive end Cam Jordan of hated rival New Orleans from an athletic standpoint. Read his article on the Cominski pick by clicking here. Take a look at the chart in his tweet below:

The previously mentioned athletic ability, is the best trait John Cominski has as a football player. It helps him get a quick advantage at the snap, as well as pursue in the run game. He also has good closing speed when chasing a ball carrier, or seeking out a quarterback in the pocket. Cominski is aggressive and fits in with Dan Quinn’s mantra of fast and physical. He a  has great motor and work ethic, having gained more than 65 pounds of mostly muscle, during his five-year college stint. Cominski is good at stopping the run, but is also flexible and agile enough to beat a blocker around the edge.

Take a look at these John Cominski highlights from the Atlanta Falcons YouTube channel:

One drawback about the game of John Cominski, is the fact that he is not a very good pass rusher at this point. He needs to improve his moves, develop a counter move, and improve his hand placements. A visit to the Chuck Smith Pass Rush Academy, would do John a world of good. The defensive end also needs to refine his footwork and keep his pad level lower when rushing the passer. Cominski also needs to get stronger upper body wise. He completed an decent but unspectacular 22 bench press reps at the combine. The fact that he hasn’t faced power five competition in college, means that adjusting to the speed and strength of NFL opposition, could be a major adjustment for Cominski.

Lance Zierlein of gives us a full bio and scouting report on John Cominski. In that predraft report, he offered this summary of what Cominski brings to the table:

"The one-time option quarterback should be able to impress with his athletic testing during postseason workouts, but he still needs to keep adding play strength to be ready to handle NFL offensive linemen. Cominsky is built like a 3-4 defensive end and flashes potential to handle those types of run duties down the road. However, without more threat as a pass rusher, his NFL potential could be limited."

John Cominski has the physical makeup to be a good edge setting, run stopper from day one for the Atlanta Falcons. Especially if he is not overwhelmed by the step up in competition at the NFL level. Falcons brain trust Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn mentioned that they would like to see John Cominski gain a more weight in this interview on the team’s YouTube channel. If he’s able to do so, while getting stronger and maintaining his speed, he could prove to be valuable as a versatile defensive lineman, that can play both defensive end and defensive tackle. My head told me to take John Cominski in the Atl All Day Mock Draft, but my heart caused me to choose Jonathan Ledbetter of the Georgia Bulldogs instead. I did mention Cominski in the article as a possibility.

The Atlanta Falcons clearly used round four of this year’s draft, to add guys that are development prospects. These guys have high ceilings because they are blessed with physical attributes that can not be taught. I am not at all opposed to the strategy of swinging for the fences with upside. In fact I’m am in favor of the tactic, in the case of John Cominski.

Grade B+

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