Defensive tackle options for Falcons with the 16th pick

Jeremy Johnson

Its going to be an odd offseason for this current adaptation of the Atlanta Falcons. There are a lot of jobs that will be available and there’s little cap space to fill them. In fact the lack of cap space is why many of the jobs will be open. The Falcons have just over $7 million in cap space to work with prior to the soon-coming shakeup.
With the 16th pick in the draft the Falcons can address some of the more pressing holes with a fairly elite level talent.
Defensive tackle position could be at the top of the list of things to be addressed. Here are four names to watch for if the Falcons look for anchors in the front four with the 16 selection in the draft in April.

Derrick Brown DT Auburn 6’5 320 pounds
Brown in a long shot for the Falcons. He could go as high as third to the Detroit Lions and it would likely require a trade for the Falcons to acquire the mammoth, hole plugging dynamo. If Brown somehow slides to 16 or the Falcons move up to acquire him, he instantly slides in next to pro bowl tackle Grady Jarrett to create a combo of quick penetrating tackles that will require double teams freeing up one of fastest linebackers in the NFL in Deion Jones up to roam. Brown has pro bowl potential, a nasty streak, and at the very least he will impact the Falcons’ run defense that ranked 18th in the NFL even if he never develops into much of a pass rusher. Brown only had two sacks for the Tigers in 2019. Brown is also a local product. He played his high school football at Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, GA which is located nine miles from Flowery Branch where the Falcons practice.

Probability of selection: 5%

Fit: A+

Potential: Dominant starter

Javon Kinlaw DT South Carolina 6’6 310 pounds
He looks the part. He gets off the bus and long arms and 310 pounds effortlessly sashes to full speed in a blink of an eye. Though he and Brown are similar in size Kinlaw has proven to be more of a pass rusher. Kinlaw recorded six sacks in 2019 and was recruited as a defensive end out of high school. Kinlaw also found his way into passing lanes to bat down balls at the line of scrimmage. Teaming Kinlaw with Jarrett improves the Falcons’ pass rush and eventually the run defense as Kinlaw gains strength and experience. Kinlaw may be the most likely of the available tackles as he projects as a mid first to early second round prospect prior to testing.

Probability of selection: 55%

Fit: B

Potential: Game changer

Neville Gallimore DT Oklahoma 6’2 300 pounds
Compared to the two prospects mentioned earlier in Kinlaw and Brown, Gallimore is of the smaller variety. Standing 6 foot 2 inches tall isn’t short, but compared to the 6’5 Brown and 6’6 Kinlaw, Gallimore provides a different type of matchup. Gaillimore would fit in perfectly with Dan Quinn’s defense. The Falcons have a history of drafting interior defensive linemen who play with leverage and penetrate. Gallimore fits that description. He uses quick bursts in small spaces to find ways to penetrate and is hard to move off the line of scrimmage when blocked to a stalemate. Gallimore may be the best scheme fit for the Falcons and could be a bit of an unknown at least early in the process.

Probability of selection: 50%

Fit: A-

Potential: Starter

Ross Blacklock DT Texas Christian University 6’4 305 pounds
Blacklock is taller than Jarrett and Deadrin Senat, who were both drafted during the Quinn tenure in Atlanta, but he weighs in on the lighter side as well. Blaylock is capable of covering multiple gaps and has some quickness to him. He’s stout at the point of attack and like Gallimore, fits the mold that Quinn seems to covet in interior tackles. Blacklock has an opportunity to be a fast riser through the combine and his pro day. Playing in the pass-happy Big 12 could knock his stock down a bit initially, but once he tests and teams go back and check the tape, there will be a lot of intrigue in his stock. The Falcons selecting Blacklock at 16 may not be as much of a stretch in April that it appears to be in February.

Probability of selection: 10%

Fit: B-

Potential: Starter