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Alabama DE Dallas Turner: Falcons Pick at No. 8 & After Kirk Cousins Signs?

The Atlanta Falcons no longer need a quarterback. Could they draft top defensive prospect Dallas Turner?

The Atlanta Falcons have their quarterback in Kirk Cousins and their receivers in Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore, so where will they go with the No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft?

The board opens up for the Falcons with a plethora of options on both sides of the ball. With the most important position now unnecessary, pivoting to another high-value position makes a lot of sense.

Few, if any, early-round defensive players did more for their stock at the NFL Scouting Combine than Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner.

Dallas Turner

Turner was widely viewed as one of the top edge rushers in this class and only boosted his stock this past week. After the Combine’s festivities, Turner posted a Relative Athletic Score of 9.49, the 85th-best score out of 1637 defensive ends since 1987.

The lone knock on Turner is his size, he’s only 247 pounds, but his motor in the run game sparks optimism that his weakness can be mitigated. Everything else, seemingly, is there. He’s a tenacious pass rusher who explodes off the line of scrimmage and turns the corner well. His growing assortment of pass-rush moves is enticing and he converts to power well for an edge rusher of his size.

Simply put, he’s a quality pass rusher with the athletic ability to overpower tackles at the next level.

His 4.48-second 40-yard dash is emblematic of how the sport has changed and his similarly elite vertical and broad jumps showcase his incredible acceleration. Turner is a foil for a Falcons front that prefers to win with power but projects as an easy upgrade to the pass rush.

It’s not their biggest need on paper, but it’s rarely a bad idea to add an edge rusher with an early-round pick – especially after taking offensive skill players in the last three drafts.

Atlanta’s pass rush was mediocre in 2023, and a growing secondary can use the boost from a feared edge threat. Ones with the pedigree, production, and athleticism of Turner aren’t available at No. 8 often.