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Falcons 2015 Mock Draft Monitor 3.0

The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine just ended and, as we mentioned in this space last week, there's a shakeup among the experts for who they think the Falcons will draft at No. 8 overall. Clemson's Vic Beasley put on a show in Indianapolis last week and it propeled him to rise above Dante Fowler as the most likely selection by Atlanta. Have a look:

Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

"The Falcons are in desperate need of disruptive players on the defensive line, particularly at defensive end, and Armstead is a potential star if he lives up to his physical potential. At nearly 6-foot-8 and 290 pounds, he doesn't just offer exceptional quickness for his size, he's also a powerful edge player who can simply move people backwards when he's playing with leverage and is going to disrupt passing lanes with his length. When you think of what a guy like Ziggy Ansah can do for Detroit in converting speed to power and removing the pocket even when he's not blowing by you — essentially succeeding even as a relatively raw player — there's a comparison to be made between the two players."

Last Week: Dante Fowler, DE, Florida

Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon

"The Falcons need to improve on defense, especially with their pass rush. D-linemen Kroy Biermann and Osi Umenyiora are both free agents. Armstead was a 5-technique defensive end at Oregon and could play a similar role in the NFL, but he's also explosive enough to be a great fit as a left defensive end in new Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn's scheme — similar to the role that Michael Bennett played for Quinn with the Seahawks. I've really liked what I've seen from Armstead's tape; he's an excellent run defender who has a lot of upside as a pass-rusher because of his violent hands and ability to convert speed to power."

Last Week: No change

Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

"Ray would be a great fit coming off the edge in Atlanta's new defensive scheme. The Falcons are desperate for a dominating edge rusher."

Last Week: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"Beasley would give the Falcons an explosive rusher to upgrade their sagging defense."

Last Week: No change

Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky

"The Kentucky star posted the fastest 40 time of all linebackers in the 40, clocking in with a 4.57 and banged out a 42-inch vertical with a groin injury. Dupree can get to the quarterback, and with all the big quarterbacks in the NFC South, there's never enough quality pass rushers on a roster. The Legion of Boom got all the love up in Seattle, but the secret to Dan Quinn's defensive success the past two years might have been the pass rush. Dupree's a step in the right direction for Quinn's new team."

Last Week: No change

Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

"Did you see Fowler play in the Birmingham Bowl? He looked fantastic for the Florida defense. This is an athletic defensive end that has shown great versatility. I once saw him in a high school game play quarterback, running back, full back, tight end, wide receiver and all over the defensive front. Yeah, he's pretty darn athletic and I think Atlanta would love him here."

Last Week: No change

Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

"The Falcons have the firepower on offense to compete, but lack difference-makers on the defensive front. New head coach Dan Quinn recruited and coached Fowler while serving as Florida's defensive coordinator before taking over the same duties for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. Fowler's versatility is his calling card. The 6-3, 260-pounder's unique combination of power, agility and tenacity earns him time at defensive end, linebacker and defensive tackle for the Gators."

Last Week: No change

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"With Dan Quinn trading his defensive coordinator role in Seattle for the head job with the Falcons, look for Atlanta to overhaul the defensive personnel this offseason to fit his scheme. Beasley would give the Falcons a hybrid pass rusher that fits what Quinn wants to do in the front seven."

Last Week: No change

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"I have a lot of ACC game tape, and every time I watch a team playing Clemson, Beasley shows up. He is undersized but he also has 70 plays behind the line of scrimmage the past two seasons."

Last Week: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

Shane Ray, DE, Missouri

"The Falcons won't run a 3-4 under Dan Quinn as head coach, but much like the Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars, they'll want a 3-4 style pass-rusher for the edge. Cliff Avril does this in Seattle, and I'm projecting the Jaguars to draft Randy Gregory to do it in Jacksonville. For the Falcons, Shane Ray becomes that Avril/Bruce Irvin-type player. And while Quinn may want Dante Fowler—a player he recruited to Florida—Ray has the speed and toughness to fit into this defense."

Last Week: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

"Beasley had an outstanding Combine, both testing well and measuring bigger than most people expected. Atlanta's biggest need is a pass rusher, and Beasley fits the bill."

Last Week: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida

Leading Vote-Getters
1. Vic Beasley - 4
2. Dante Fowler Jr. - 2
2. Arik Armstead - 2
2. Shane Ray - 2
5. Bud Dupree - 1

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