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Kiper Projects DE Lawson to Falcons at No. 17

Another mock draft. Another Clemson Tiger is projected to become a Falcon.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has Atlanta selecting DE Shaq Lawson in his second mock draft. Lawson finished the 2015 season with 25.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.

"The Falcons can't go wrong adding more to the pass rush," Kiper said. "Lawson is well-coached and has more size to stay on the field and hold up as a three-down defender in either a 3-4 or 4-3 look, thanks to a versatile skill set."

Kiper had the Falcons taking a different Clemson player when he released his first mock draft in January. And when asked to differentiate between DE Kevin Dodd and Lawson on a conference call Monday, Kiper started off by stating the importance of the upcoming workouts for these specific individuals.  "It's a slim difference," Kiper said. "I think workouts are going to be important; that's going to determine whether you're a mid first-round pick or maybe a late first-round pick.

"If you look at the body of work, you would go Lawson. If you look at this one year, and certainly the way he played in the championship game, you would go Dodd." Lawson and Dodd were also listed as top-five edge rushers in Mike Mayock’s recent position rankings

The depth and talent in the defensive line position group is admirable, certainly including Lawson and Dodd. "Defensive line is the best it's been since probably in my history of doing this, in terms of depth," Kiper said. "I don't remember ... I've been doing it since the '78 college football season, and I don't remember as many outstanding defensive ends, defensive tackles, combo guys, as there are this year. It's loaded with elite guys in the first and second round. So if you need a defensive lineman -- end or tackle -- this is the year to get one."

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