The Atlanta Falcons have taken the best defensive lineman still on the board: Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson.
Rick Gosselin’s Final Ranking: 11th overall
Mel Kiper Final Ranking: 13th overall
Scout.com Player Evaluation: Possessing size, growth potential and a lot of natural skill, Anderson is a terrific prospect with a large amount of upside. Can be used as a pass-rushing right end, but also has the abilities to grow into a two-gap lineman. Must physically mature and improve his playing strength, yet will quickly make an impact at the next level if he focuses on the task at hand.
- Pass Rushing Skills
- Techniques and Moves
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
- Disengaging Skills
Pos: Athletic defensive end with tremendous upside. Keeps his pads low to the ground playing with terrific leverage and is rarely off his feet. Plays with terrific balance and body control, and easily beats immobile blockers. Fast off the edge, immediately alters his angle of attack or quickly redirects to the action. Shows skills in pursuit and solid playing speed. Attacks opponents with his hands working to get off blocks and displays an array of moves to protect himself. Quickly gets off the snap with a nice first step and makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Neg: Lacks overall playing strength and is slow shedding blocks once engaged at the point.
The Miami Dolphins are on the board.
Chances are Anderson wasn’t the Falcons’ first choice, as they need to get a safety that can make an impact this year. They were also reportedly hoping to get one of the top two offensive tackles if they didn’t take a safety. But with Landry, Thomas and Brown off the board, Atlanta did well to get decent value and fill their need at defensive end here. Anderson certainly needs to get more consistent and he doesn’t have elite athletic ability.
However, he is a relentless pass rusher who has good closing speed and can deliver the big hits when he gets to the quarterback, which should soften the blow of losing Patrick Kerney. Atlanta’s run defense should benefit from getting Anderson. Anderson has the size to hold his ground against the run and the upper body strength to shed blocks quickly once he learns how to use his hands a little better.
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