The Atlanta Falcons have added a lot of quality players to begin NFL free agency. But edge rusher remains a major position of need the Falcons should address in the NFL draft.
In the newest NFL mock draft from The Athletic, the Falcons added an edge rusher in the first round.
The Athletic’s Josh Kendall projected the Falcons to select Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy at No. 8 overall.
“He’s still almost 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds with 14.5 sacks in the past two seasons, and the Falcons didn’t sign an edge rusher in free agency,” Kendall wrote. “Murphy will hold a private workout for NFL teams on April 4. Bet on Atlanta being in attendance.”
Murphy is considered one of the top edge rushers in the 2023 class. Both NFL draft big boards from The Athletic and ESPN have the Clemson defender ranked as one of the best three edge players in the class.
The draft experts from Pro Football Focus have Murphy ranked a little lower but still a top five edge rusher in the 2023 draft.
Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot should jump at the chance to select an elite edge rusher this year. The past two seasons, Fontenot selected went with the best available player and both selections were pass catchers — tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Drake London.
The Falcons made those choices despite the team’s pass rush being an obvious need for the past several years. Atlanta has not posted more than 30 sacks in a season since 2018. The last time the Falcons finished in the top half of the league in sacks was 2017.
Coincidentally, that was also the last time the Falcons made the playoffs.
In 2022, the Falcons recorded 21 sacks, which was second-to-last in the NFL in front of only the Chicago Bears. During 2021, the Falcons were last in the league with 18 sacks.
In 35 career college games, Murphy recorded 18.5 sacks with 36 tackles for loss. He also had 116 total tackles with 6 forced fumbles and 5 pass defenses.
During 2022, Murphy had 6.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 2 pass defenses and 1 forced fumble.
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