Atlanta Falcons’ Best Fit With No. 8 Pick, Revealed

Atlanta Falcons
NFL Analysis Network

The Atlanta Falcons signed Kirk Cousins in free agency last month, so quarterback is no longer an issue as they prepare to use the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday night.

But which direction will the Falcons choose to go?

David Helman of Fox Sports thinks that Atlanta should roll with University of Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner at that spot.

Given all of the talent at quarterback and wide receiver in this draft class, Turner may end up being the first defensive player off the board.

Helman doesn’t think this should be a difficult decision for a Falcons club that is in dire need of a pass rusher.

This past season, Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree were the top two sack-getters for Atlanta, registering 6.5 sacks apiece. Neither player is on the roster any longer.

Helman notes that the Falcons have not had a genuinely elite edge rusher in quite some time and that he would be an exciting pick for the club.

Turner is coming off of a fantastic 2023 campaign in which he racked up 53 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and a couple of forced fumbles.

The 21-year-old arrived at Alabama in 2021 and immediately made an impact during his freshman season, registering 30 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.

Turner took a bit of a step back in his sophomore year, as he finished with 37 stops, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown, but as Helman specifies, he was also playing behind Will Anderson Jr. at the time.

The Falcons amassed 42 sacks in 2023, ranking in the bottom third of the league. They absolutely need to do a better job of getting to the quarterback, and drafting Turner would certainly help solve that problem.

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