The Falcons have taken Troy Andersen from Montana State with the No. 58 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, the pick they acquired as part of the Julio Jones trade.
He joins an inside linebacker group that includes Deion Jones and Mykal Walker after the departure of Foye Oluokun in free agency. This decision comes after the Falcons sent representatives to Montana State's pro day last month.
School: Montana State
Stats: 147 tackles | 14 tackles for loss | two sacks | nine passes deflected | two interceptions
Honors: Unanimous All-American, Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-Big Sky
Instant analysis: The Falcons were in need of inside linebacker depth with some speed to jump right in with Jones and Walker, two speedy linebackers in their own right. Andersen is just that.
The inside linebacker position wasn't necessarily a top need for the Falcons heading into the 2022 NFL Draft as Atlanta picked up Rashaan Evans in free agency last month. But Andersen's upside as a potential depth piece had been on the Falcons radar for a while.
Andersen is not the picture-perfect tackler an immediate starter would need to be, but he has the quickness and sideline-to-sideline range to make up for it. Ironically enough, The Ringer said Andersen is "like if Cordarrelle Patterson played linebacker." That's probably because Andersen was a no-star recruit out of high school and went on to play running back in 2017, quarterback in 2018 and middle linebacker there after for Montana State. The Falcons value versatility. Andersen has that quality about him to be sure.
As it stands, if Andersen has as good a year in 2022 as Patterson had with the Falcons in 2021, things would be looking up for the Falcons defense, particularly at inside linebacker. -- Tori McElhaney
What's next: The Falcons have two Day 2 picks remaining, at Nos. 74 and 82. They added depth and youth to the interior linebacker position, which was needed, and likely bolstered their special teams. The Falcons could use another receiver and another edge rusher, if the board falls that way. They could also use a defensive back, interior defensive lineman or offensive lineman. Again, quarterback is an X-factor worth paying attention to as the draft continues. -- Scott Bair
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