A year after bringing Vic Beasley Jr. into the fold, the Falcons' pass rush improved substantially, going from last in the league in sacks to 16th, nearly doubling their total in the process.
Looking ahead, adding another D-lineman or linebacker who can disrupt the quarterback could help Atlanta's defense take the next step. With that in mind, here's a look at Mike Mayock’s top edge rushers in the 2017 draft class, with analysis from Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Strengths: Considered an "uber-athlete" with impressive physique, elite explosiveness and dominant pass-rush ability.
Weaknesses: Still figuring out how to put together a "pass-rush plan." Can ride blocks too long.
Tim Williams, Alabama
Strengths: Explodes out of his stance like a track sprinter. Can bend the edge and beat O-linemen inside and outside.
Weaknesses: Is said to have struggled with Alabama's defensive scheme. Hip tightness limits his stride length, both upfield and side to side.
Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Strengths: Has strong hands, allowing him to be a "punch-and-discard winner." Put up fantastic numbers in college, including 12 sacks last season.
Weaknesses: A slow starter who can be undisciplined.
Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Strengths: Versatile; can play different positions along the D-line. Sheds blocks quickly and is strong for his size.
Weaknesses: Needs to strengthen his lower body. Scouts say he's a "tweener" who might not be an ideal fit at any one spot in the NFL.
Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
Strengths: A "relentless" worker who doesn't take snaps off. Has good closing speed, making it difficult for ball carriers to get past him near the sideline.
Weaknesses: Hand technique needs work. Bend around the edge is lacking.