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Falcons coach Dan Quinn encouraged by 'deep group' of defensive tackle draft prospects


(Photo by: Todd Kirkland)

ORLANDO – In less than a month, a slew of new players will be added to the Falcons' roster through the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Falcons have the No. 26 overall pick and with the first wave of free agency in the books, Atlanta's positional needs are becoming clearer.

With a spot to fill at defensive tackle, most draft experts believe the Falcons will take an interior defensive lineman with their first pick. That belief has strengthened with the departure of defensive linemen such as Dontari Poe in free agency. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff expected Dontari Poe to hit the market and get a "lucrative" deal, and that's exactly what happened as he's now a Carolina Panther.

During the NFL's head coaches breakfast at the league meetings in Orlando, Dan Quinn expressed confidence in the defensive tackle prospects in this year's draft class.

"I think it's a deep group," Quinn said. "There's a lot of big guys that can really move. Having that kind of versatility where a guy can penetrate, get up field. Those are things that I really look for at that position. So when I kept going down the list, there's a number of guys that [I said], 'OK, this guy looks like he has the traits [that make him] ready to help right now.' Not saying he won't develop, but the skill set is there to say, 'In our system, this is how we'd see him play.' There was a number of guys that fit that bill."

In Quinn's system, he wants his defensive linemen to possess the following qualities: Versatility, speed, a quick get-off and toughness.

And based off Quinn's earlier response, this draft class is full of prospects who have those traits.

The three most commonprospects mocked to the Falcons at this position have been Da'Ron Payne out of Alabama, Maurice Hurst out of Michigan, Taven Bryan out of Florida.

Here's a quick profile on all three of those names:

Da'Ron Payne:

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 311 pounds

NFL Comparison: Brandon Williams

Maurice Hurst:

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 282 pounds

NFL Comparison: Maliek Collins

Taven Bryan:

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 291 pounds

NFL Comparison: Cam Jordan

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