The upcoming NFL Draft is chock-full of intriguing options at linebacker, and the Falcons, who have a number of vacancies in its front seven, could be ready to invest heavily in that area. Here's a look at some LB prospects Atlanta might target.
Deion Jones, LSU: The Falcons conducted a private workout with Jones, so the interest is there. The 6-foot-1, 222-pounder ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at his pro day—faster than every other LB/DL time at the scouting combine. LSU coach Les Miles told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure that Jones is the fastest linebacker with size he's been around. "That fits into the NFL game as a guy that can move and make plays and has ball skills. (Jones is) going to fit right into the NFL game," Miles said.
Darron Lee, Ohio State: A Freshman All-American who helped the Buckeyes to their 2014 National Championship, Lee is a linebacker who thrives in all defensive situations. Known for his speed, the 6-foot-1, 232-pounder tallied the fastest 40-yard dash among linebackers at the combine (4.47 seconds). Lee's initial burst is impressive, as well, and his ability to bend the edge makes him especially dangerous during blitz packages.
Kamalei Correa, Boise State: If Atlanta doesn't choose a linebacker in the first round, Correa may be a worthwhile pick in the second or third. The Hawaii native impressed at the combine and his pro day—which the Falcons attended—and has the kind of explosiveness Quinn desires. Correa also offers a variety of effective pass rushing moves and can hold his own in coverage.
Reggie Ragland, Alabama: With a high football IQ, a unique ability to shed blocks and good coverage skills, Ragland projects to be a solid inside linebacker at the NFL level. He thrives against the run, too, and has the kind of closing speed needed to track down pro RBs. Ragland was named the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American thanks to his 97 tackles (56 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Leonard Floyd, Georgia: While he remains on the skinny side, Floyd opted to leave college following his junior year and projects to be a first round selection. Atlanta may agree: After taking in UGA's pro day, Thomas Dimitroff, who was one of 16 Falcons representatives on hand, said Floyd is a "top-notch athlete."
Su'a Cravens, Southern California: It's unclear at this point if Cravens will be a linebacker or a safety in the NFL, but with needs at both of those positions, it's not surprising he visited Atlanta this week. There's been a lot of chatter of Cravens taking on the kind of role Kam Chancellor assumed in Quinn's defense in Seattle. As someone who has impressive closing speed who's good at defending the run, is smart in coverage and attacks with reckless abandon, there's reason to believe he could thrive in Atlanta.
Jordan Jenkins, Georgia: The Falcons love versatile defenders, and Jenkins, who lined up all over Georgia's front seven last year, can be used in multiple ways in the NFL. His intelligence, strength and coverage ability makes him someone who could be worth a third or fourth round pick. Jenkins is a natural leader, too, and served as one of the Bulldogs' captains in 2015.