As the national championship game between LSU and Clemson gets underway in New Orleans on Monday night, several players on the field will likely be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Both Clemson and LSU have rosters full of talented players and some fit potential needs for the Falcons.
Following a 7-9 finish to the 2019 season, Atlanta's positional needs have become quite clear: defensive end, guard, running back, linebacker and cornerback are a few key needs for the Falcons to this point.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn will use the next few months to decide if they'll fill those needs via free agency or the draft.
Here's a look at five prospects playing in the game who could be fits for the Falcons:
K'Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
If Chaisson declares for the NFL Draft following the game, he'll be one of the top pass-rushing prospects in this year's class. At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Chaisson has exceptional size and speed. Known as a "natural talent" by some draft analysts, it appears Chaisson's best is ahead of him if placed in the right situation. Chaisson suffered a few injuries in his collegiate career and his durability is something he'll have to prove moving forward.
Why he fits with the Falcons: Adding an elite pass-rusher is the Falcons' No. 1 positional need this offseason. With Vic Beasley and Adrian Clayborn set to become free agents, Atlanta will be in need of players who can come off the edge. Former first-round pick, Takk McKinley, wasn't able to complete the 2019 season as he suffered a shoulder injury and ended the year on injured reserve after recording just 3.5 sacks. The Falcons finished No. 29 in the league in sacks in 2019 with 28.
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Fulton's biggest strength is his coverage skills and usage of his hands. The 6-foot, 192-pound cornerback is the ideal size for his position. His physicality can't be ignored as is his ability to make plays on the ball. During his junior season, Fulton recorded nine pass deflections.
Why he fits with the Falcons: The Falcons could continue to strengthen their young secondary with a player like Fulton. Cornerbacks Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield showed promise in the second-half of the season. Veteran Desmond Trufant also suffered a season-ending injury and depth at this position has proven to be vital over the last few seasons.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
What he lacks in size, he makes up for in production. Edwards-Helaire is just 5-foot-8 but he is one of the most consistent running backs in college football. If Helaire declares for the NFL Draft, he'll be one of the top players at his position. Edwards-Helaire rushed for 1,304 yards on 199 carries and 16 touchdowns.
Why he fits with the Falcons: The run game is at the top of list of areas for the Falcons to improve in the upcoming season. After back-to-back seasons of finishing at the bottom of the league in rushing offense, the Falcons could add a top-tier running back in the draft. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff wasn't ready to address any potential personnel moves during his season-ending press conference but running back could certainly be a position Atlanta could strengthen this offseason.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
One of the most athletic players in this year's draft class, Simmons could be the top player taken at his position. Not only is he a sound tackler, he can also come off the edge. The versatility he possesses fits what NFL teams want in their linebackers. At Clemson, Simmons finished the 2019 season with 61 tackles, six sacks and three interceptions.
Why he fits with the Falcons: With De’Vondre Campbell set to hit free agency when the new league year begins on March 18th, the Falcons will need to add another linebacker to their starting lineup. Simmons fits the mold of what Quinn covets in his linebackers with his ability to make plays on the ball and run.
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
One of the most explosive players in college football in the 2019 season has the potential to be an impact player in the NFL. Etienne has proved once he gets to the second level, he's hard to bring down. He's improved each year he's played and there's no reason to believe he won't continue to develop in the NFL. Etienne rushed for 1,536 yards on 192 carries and 18 touchdowns in 2019.
Why he fits with the Falcons: One of the Falcons biggest issues in the run game has been their inability to get to the second level. Etienne was of the best running backs in college football in that specific area. As mentioned earlier, improving the run game is one of Atlanta's top priorities this offseason and Eitenne could help.