Could Oklahoma Sooners defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey be the answer for the Atlanta Falcons?
There isn’t one player who is the answer to what ails the Falcons on the defensive line. Truth be told, the Falcons need upgrades at four of the five positions across the defensive front not manned by Grady Jarrett.
But one thing at a time.
Winfrey was the MVP of the Senior Bowl on February 6th, following up an impressive week of practice.
At a shade under 6’4 and 303 pounds, Winfrey might best fit a 4-3 scheme as a defensive tackle, but he has absurd length. Winfrey’s wingspan measured 85 5/8″ at the Senior Bowl. Yes, his wingspan is just under 7’2 on a player under 6’4.
He has the burst and and athleticism to play defensive end in Atlanta’s 3-4 scheme and looks like he would be an immediate upgrade over Jonathan Bullard or Marlon Davidson who helped man the end position opposite Jarrett last year.
Pro Football Network has Winfrey as the #31 prospect in the draft, but that was published BEFORE his outstanding showing at the Senior Bowl. The Falcons have picks #8, #43 and #58 in the first-two rounds, and Winfrey may fall between those first and second picks for Atlanta.
If the Falcons want a shot at a versatile defensive lineman like Winfrey, they may have to package #43 with another pick and move up several slots. Last year the Falcons picked up a fourth-round pick from the Denver Broncos to move down from #35 to #40.
If Winfrey is still hanging around in the second round, it would be worth trading an early fourth to move up to get him if there are any takers.
The defensive line class on the edge and interior are much deeper than last year. Christian Barmore was the first interior defensive lineman off the board last year when the Patriots took him in the second round with the 38th overall pick.
Depending on how early the run on defensive linemen starts this year with the likes of Jordan Davis (UGA), Travis Jones (UCONN), Devonte Wyatt (UGA), and Winfrey among others, will help determine if the Falcons need to move up a few spots in the second round to get one of the top guys.
For the Falcons’ sake, they’ll hope the quarterback desperate teams start getting antsy and leave the big men in the trenches to fall to the second day of the draft.
I wouldn’t count on Winfrey being available at 43 though.
His stock is soaring.