This year, the annual game took special interest from the coaching staff of the Atlanta Falcons, as the coaches were able to get up close and personal with this year’s rising draft class as the North Coaches. This week, let’s reflect on some of the stand out performers that possibly caught Coach Smith and Thomas Dimitrioff’s eye.
#1- Dee Ford, Auburn
Arguably, no one had a better week than Ford, he showed explosiveness off the edge and brute power off the line of scrimmage. Before the week, he was expected to land somewhere in the 2nd to 3rd round of the draft. At 6’2, some believe his body type may better suit a linebacker. However, his 10.5 sack season is really worth notice. During the Senior Bowl, he was the dominate pass rusher on the field with multiple pressures and a combined 2 quarterback sacks. Dee Ford has moved his stock up into maybe the first night of the NFL Draft. The ability to play with his hand on the ground and standing up gives 3-4 and 4-3 defenses something to be intrigued about.
#2 Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State
This standout tight end prospect is gaining steam heading into the Combine. His small school stature has limited his buzz, but at 6’6 he is quite nimble for his size. A deep threat receiver, and possibly a replacement to look at for Tony Gonzales. Gillmore had 61 yards and a touchdown at the Senior Bowl. He is one to watch over the next month.
#3 Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
This big defensive tackle had a great week showing off his talents to the Falcons’ staff. His career numbers are impressive, at 29.5 career sacks, Donald is a terror rushing the passer. A consensus 1st round pick, Atlanta could use his talents as they look to rebuild their defensive line. If Atlanta does trade down, Donald would be a “no brainer” selection. He made quite the impression on Mike Nolan this week. Donald is the most decorated defensive tackle since Ndamukong Suh to come out in the Draft. Atlanta currently has three of their interior guys heading to free agency, defensive tackle will be a priority in May. Scott Pioli being hired this past week as Asst. GM is a huge asset. He has an impeccable draft history when it comes to defensive linemen.
#4 Charles Sims, WVU
This running back prospect has everything Atlanta is lacking from the position: Explosion. He has great vision and agility, he is a one cut terror from the edge. The Falcons are very big on their screen game, and this past season, they were not able to get those explosive plays from their running backs. Sims, is the complete package, he can run, catch, and block with the best of them. He also played a lot of slot at WVU, versatility is something Atlanta loves.
#5 Seantrel Henderson, Miami
Henderson is a 6’8 345 lb offensive tackle from the U. He has had his run-ins with the law. However, He is good in pass protection and could excel under Mike Tice’s man blocking scheme. Atlanta needs offensive linemen with a mean streak, Henderson is a mauler. He may have his red flags but Mike Tice could be the kick in the rear-end Henderson needs. A plug in starter at right tackle, Henderson could be a 2nd to 3rd round selection this May.
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