Every offseason, the NFL Scouting Combine produces both stars and busts. This year was no different. The defensive backs were not one of the bright spots heading into the Combine, and after the workouts, teams were left somewhat baffled at this year’s defensive back class. There were not many defensive backs that challenged the jaded perception. Thankfully, the Atlanta Falcons are not in the market for any of the supposed top tier corners. They will not have to make the gamble that many teams will have to come May. Keep in mind that Atlanta still does not have a solid return man, could they look to the draft to supplement this desire? Harry Douglas will most likely be our punt returner, but he is not by any stretch of the imagination a lock. However, Atlanta could utilize some added depth in their secondary rotation, and could use a mid-round pick to satisfy this need. Here are a couple names to watch over the next few months.
Pierre Desir, Lindenwood University (Formerly of Washington University)
Pierre Desir is a 6’1” 195lb defensive back that fits into the new trend of bigger corners. His combine numbers were not overly impressive, running only a 4.59 in the forty yard dash. He did however record the top broad jump of the defensive back class at 133 inches. He hadan eye opening week at the senior bowl, and his stock continued to rise leading into the Combine. This big bodied corner showed enough explosiveness to warrant a look by Atlanta staff. He has the ability to be a contributor in special teams early on, and has the potential to be an explosive playmaker down the road.
Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
Kyle Fuller is one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft class. He comes from a defensive back factory at Virginia Tech, and has big play potential from both the secondary and the return game. Fuller ran a 4.49 forty yard dash and was expected by many to break that 4.4 barrier. At 6’0″ Fuller has the size to be a threat on an island or inside. His combine performance was more than impressive enough to warrant a late first round look, but most likely Fuller will slide into the second day of the NFL Draft. Fuller is a second-team All American, and first-team All ACC selection. The Falcons most likely will not get a chance to pull the trigger on Fuller, however if they stockpile picks, he may be available in the late second round to early third. The defensive back class is just too ordinary to project these players as high as some years. Players like Fuller can see their stock drop in a blink of an eye.
Craig Loston, LSU
Craig Loston is potentially a replacement for Thomas DeCoud, as widely reported this week, Atlanta is most likely leaning towards cutting the veteran safety in March. This would leave a void that Atlanta could satisfy in the draft if Free Agency turns up no answers. At 6’2” 217lbs, Loston is the type of playmaker that can impact games. Watching tape on Loston really highlights his vicious ability to make contact in the open field, similar to that of current Falcon strong safety William Moore. Could Falcon fans handle seeing two big hitters in the back end of their defense? He ran a 4.65 in the forty yard dash, showing off his uncanny ability fill space.