Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Dallas Turner Alabama Edge Rusher - Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Falcons get Alabama Pass Rusher in Latest Mock Draft

The Atlanta Falcons need a coach. The Atlanta Falcons need a quarterback. Hitting on both of those needs could determine the 2024 season for the Falcons, but there are more than those two needs for this Falcons team.

The Falcons have the No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft for the third-season in a row. With the top three quarterbacks scheduled to come off the board with the first-three picks of the draft, the Falcons may not want to reach for a quarterback at eight.

That’s been the consensus in most NFL Mock Drafts, including the latest from Bucky Brooks on Brooks has the Falcons addressing edge rusher with Dallas Turner of the Alabama Crimson Tide at eight.

“The need to upgrade the pass rush makes Turner the ideal pick at this point,” wrote Brooks. “The Alabama standout is an athletic speed rusher with outstanding first-step quickness.”

He has quarterbacks going with the first-three picks, which is the consensus right now. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix goes to the LA Rams at No. 19, but no other quarterbacks are taken in Brooks’s first-round mock.

While many Falcons fans will scream “Quarterback!” at the screen, the worst thing the Falcons could do is reach for a player not worthy of a top-10 pick. Washington’s Michael Penix and his injury history become much less risky if he’s there in the second round.

Last week, Daniel Jeremiah made the same pick for the Falcons in his first mock draft.

“The Falcons have been on a seemingly never-ending journey to find pass rushers,” wrote Jeremiah. “They didn’t have a player record more than 6.5 sacks in 2023. Turner has a broad arsenal of tools to help Atlanta.”

Like Brooks, Jeremiah has Nix as the only-other first round quarterback. Nix goes to the Saints at No. 14.

Turner isn’t just the first edge rusher off the board in both mocks, he’s the first defensive player off the board. The Falcons could also take a look at UCLA’s Laiatu Latu or Florida State’s Jared Verse if they go edge.

Receiver is also a big need for the Falcons. While taking four-straight offensive skill players in the top 10 may seem excessive, the Falcons have just-one wide receiver under contract in 2024, Drake London.

Recently-departed defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen did an excellent job with the Falcons defense. He helped the Falcons double their sack total from 21 in 2022 to 42 in 2023. However, Nielsen needed a variety of blitzes to generate pressure. The Falcons could rarely get to the quarterback with a four-man rush.

Yes, the Falcons need a quarterback.

But getting one at No. 8 may not be the best move. The Falcons have enough holes to fill in other positions to not risk reaching for a quarterback. The quarterback position may even be filled before the draft via free agency.

Edge rusher is definitely a need, and Dallas Turner makes sense.

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.