Cover 9@9: Kirwan’s draft plan to improve the Falcons’ defensive line

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter joins CineSport’s Noah Coslov to identify the players that the Falcons may be able to land with the 17th pick in the Draft & discuss impressive players on offense.

Clemson defensive lineman Shaq Lawson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Clemson defensive lineman Shaq Lawson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

1. KIRWAN’S DRAFT PLAN FOR THE FALCONS: Pat Kirwan, the former NFL executive turned broadcaster, has a very clear draft plan for the Atlanta Falcons.

“I’m starting to look at teams that have really bad problems, like the Atlanta Falcons and their defensive line,” Kirwan said in a video for the Real Football Network. (He’s not really down with you fantasy people!)

He believes the Falcons must  improve their interior rush like Carolina did when they drafted Star Lotulelei (first round, 14th overall) and Kawann Short (second round, 44th overall) in the 2013 draft.

Then he rattled off the stats.

–last in league with sacks with 19. “That has to change,” Kirwan said.

–Giving up 20 rushing touchdowns. “That’s terrible,” Kirwan said.

–He likes defensive end Vic Beasley, but he practically didn’t get any help last season. “He’s going to be a force,” Kirwan said. “But he has no support around him.”

–He points out that Ra’Shede Hageman has two sacks in 32 games.

–Jonathan Babineaux, the team’s best interior rusher, has four sacks in his last 34 games.

–Drew Brees had 82 pass plays against the Falcons, who could muster just one sack.

Kirwan also believes the Falcons need a left end to play opposite of Beasley. He mentioned Clemson’s Shaq Lawson, Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence, Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah, Baylor’s Andrew Billings or Mississippi’ Robert Nkemdiche.

Then the Falcons should stay with the defensive line in the second round.

2. UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: These players are set to become unrestricted free agents on March 9.  There isn’t anyone in the group that the Falcons need to keep off the open market. Chris Chester, RG; Adrian Clayborn, DE/DT; O’Brien Schofield, OLB/DE: Philip Wheeler, LB; Charles Godfrey, SS; Tony Moeaki, TE; Shayne Graham, K; Kroy Biermann, DE; Gino Gradkowski, C/G; Jake Long, OT; Bryce Harris, OT.

At the combine, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the team wanted to re-sign defensive end Adrian Clayborn and linebacker/defensive end O’Brien Schofield. He also indicated that the team was moving forward with Matt Bryant as the kicker.

122815 ATLANTA: The Falcons cheerleaders perform during a game against the Panthers in a football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

122815 ATLANTA: The Falcons cheerleaders perform during a game against the Panthers in a football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

3. RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: Paul Worrilow, LB; Ryan Schraeder, RT and Nate Stupar, LB. The team will make a move on the tenders over the weekend.

4. EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: Ricardo Allen, FS and Ben Garland, OG.

5. GOOD LUCK TO POLK:  DeJuan Polk, who was essentially demoted in the Falcons’ restructured scouting department, was named assistant director of pro personnel by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday.

Polk, was formerly the pro personnel coordinator, and was moved over to the college scouting department recently. Polk had been with the Falcons for 10 seasons.

“I had the pleasure of working with DeJuan in Atlanta from 2008-2012 and know firsthand what he can bring to an organization,” Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said in a statement. “As a former player and coach, he has a unique eye for talent and will be a valuable asset for our personnel department.

“I’m excited for DeJuan and his wife, Katrina, and we expect him to be involved right away as we enter free agency.”

Prior to serving as pro personnel coordinator, he spent four seasons as a pro scout and was responsible for scouting all professional leagues; including 15 NFL teams as well as advance scouting.

Polk served as a college scout for the Falcons during the 2008 season, covering the midwest region and conferences.

Polk started his tenure with the organization in 2006 as pro personnel assistant and helped the personnel department coordinating free agent workouts, maintaining the “short-list” and advance scouting of future opponents.

He coached at South Carolina State and was a four-year letterman at Clemson as a defensive tackle from 1999-2003.

6. PRE-FREE AGENCY DEPTH CHART: Here’s the pre-free agency working offseason depth chart:

OFFENSE

WR 11 Julio Jones, 16 Justin Hardy, 17 Devin Hester, 18 Jordan Leslie
LT 70 Jake Matthews, 75 Jake Long
LG 67 Andy Levitre, 62 James Stone, 64 Collin Rahrig
C 66 Gino Gradkowski, 68 Mike Person
RG 65 Chris Chester, 63 Ben Garland, 67 Adam Replogle
RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 72 Bryce Harris
TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 80 Levine Toilolo, 81 Tony Moeaki, 86 D.J. Tialavea, 86 Beau Gardner
WR 84 Roddy White, 14 Eric Weems, 15 Nick Williams, 89 C.J. Goodwin,
QB 2 Matt Ryan, 12 Sean Renfree, 8 Matt Simms
RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 33 Terron Ward, 35 Gus Johnson
FB 42 Patrick DiMarco
DEFENSE
DE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 99 Adrian Clayborn, 71 Kroy Biermann
DT 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 97 Grady Jarrett
NT 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 74 Joey Mbu
DE 94 Tyson Jackson, 93 Malliciah Goodman, 41 Tyler Starr
LB 51 Philip Wheeler,
LB 55 Paul Worrilow, 54 Nate Stupar
LB 56 Brooks Reed, 50 O’Brien Schofield
CB 23 Robert Alford, 32 Jalen Collins, 28 Akeem King
CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 20 Phillip Adams
S 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie
S 30 Charles Godfrey, 36 Kemal Ishmael
SPECIALISTS
K 3 Matt Bryant, 6 Shayne Graham
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher
KR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems
PR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems

 LS 47 Josh Harris

H 5 Matt Bosher
7.  ICYMI — 15 things I learned at the NFL scouting combine.

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