Elerson Smith, UNI, Northern Iowa
Atlanta Falcons News NFL Draft

Falcons to Address the Pass Rush on Day 3?

The Atlanta Falcons did a good job of getting talent and filling needs with their first three picks.

The Falcons took uber talented tight end Kyle Pitts in the first round and filled a huge need with safety Richie Grant in the second round. With their third round pick the Falcons got a mauler in the trenches with Jalen Mayfield, an offensive tackle from Michigan.

Ideally, the Falcons would like to address their pass rush on Day 3 of the NFL Draft as well, and here are several high ceiling prospects still available. With an extra 4th round pick courtesy of their trade down in the third, the Falcons could acquire at least one of these guys and still get a solid offensive lineman in the middle rounds.

Elerson Smith of Northern Iowa had pro day numbers that would make an NBA power forward envious.

At 6’6.5 and 262 pounds, Smith ran a good 4.69 forty, but it was his explosion numbers that were off the charts. He had a 41.5 inch vertical leap and a 10’7 broad jump. With an impressive 83” wingspan you might think he lacks strength and leverage. Nope. He put up 26 reps on the bench press and showed good lateral movement with a 7.00 L-Cone.

6’6.5″ with a 41.5″ vertical leap? He’d be worth a fourth round pick just to block kicks.

More than just a workout warrior, Smith had 63 tackles and 14 sacks in 2019. Smith caught our attention at the Senior Bowl with his athleticism, and then backed it up with a monster pro-day performance.

Jordan Smith of UAB measured 6’6 and 255 pounds at the Senior Bowl. He had a bounce to his step that oozed potential and was solid during the week. He had a disappointing pro day clocking “only” a 4.8 which may have caused him to slide into Day 3. 

He’s comfortable as an outside linebacker as he initially lined up in his first pass rush drill at the Senior Bowl in a two-point stance, but once he put his hand in the ground he the offensive linemen had trouble with this athleticism and length

Wyatt Hubert of Kansas State was another standout at the Senior Bowl. He measured 6’3 and 265 at his pro day. His 4.93 forty wasn’t great, but his 7.03 L-Cone showed the short distance agility that was evident when he was rushing the passer in Mobile. 

Hubert had 8.5 sacks for Kansas State and two forced fumbles in 2020. 

Janarius Robinson of Florida State is another end that is more potential than production right now. Robinson ran a 4.78 forty at his pro day after measuring 6’5 3/8” and 263 pounds. He’s got terrific measurables with a wingspan of a whopping 87”, the longest (or widest) of any of the defensive lineman at the Senior Bowl.

Robinson had 26 tackles and seven sacks in 2020. He showed flashes of his ability at times both at FSU and the Senior Bowl, but he’s a risk. A risk that might be worth taking with an extra 4th round pick.

Tulane’s Patrick Johnson at 6’6 and 240 pounds is an interesting prospect. He’s a little light to be a three down payer right now, but with a 4.59 forty and 6.97 L-Cone, he’s got great quickness and agility and will put on weight through his career. He could be used as an outside linebacker to cover tight ends, and he knows how to get after the quarterback. He is Tulane’s all time leader in sacks.

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at Scout.com, 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.