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Falcons’ top 5 draft needs

WKU Hilltoppers offensive lineman Forrest Lamp (76) during an NCAA football game between the North Texas Mean Green vs the WKU Hilltoppers, Saturday November 12, 2016 at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green Kentucky. (Photos by Steve Roberts/WKU Athletics)

FLOWERY BRANCH – With the draft approaching, the Falcons’ draft needs are starting to come into better focus.

Here are their top five needs for the 2017 NFL draft, which is set for April 27-29 in Philadelphia:

1. DEFENSIVE END: The Falcons signed Dwight Freeney last season to help with the pass rush. They are heavily scouting the defensive end with pass rushing talent. The draft is considered to be deep and they could land a solid prospect in the second- or third-rounds. Defensive line coach Bryant Young is set to work out  Ohio University’s Tarell Basham on Tuesday. He’s also scheduled to visit Flowery Branch.

2. RIGHT GUARD: With the retirement of Chris Chester, the Falcons are in need of a interior offensive line help. Also, center Alex Mack is 31 and left guard Andy Levitre is 30. The Falcons could select Dan Feeney or Forest Lamp in the first round of the draft if they are available. They have put a premium on making sure that Matt Ryan is projected after they botched the previous rebuild of the offensive line.

3. TIGHT END: The Falcons drafted Austin Hooper last season and re-signed Levine Toilolo. The elected not to re-sign Jacob Tamme. They have scouted Mississippi’s Evan Engram.

4. CORNERBACK: The Falcons are set at cornerback but there is so many talented defensive backs in the draft that they may be tempted to take one to provide depth and versatility.

5. FREE SAFETY: The draft is deep in defensive back talent. Converted free safety Ricardo Allen has been steady, but not spectacular. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers could be an intriguing prospect for the Falcons to take early.

Here’s WalterFootball.com’s list of players the Falcons have met with:

  • Keion Adams, DE, Western Michigan
  • Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston
  • Richie Brown, OLB/ILB, Mississippi State
  • Austin Calitro, OLB, Villanova
  • Austin Carr, WR, Northwestern
  • Tim Crawley, WR, San Jose State
  • Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell
  • Kevin Davis, OLB, Colorado State
  • Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
  • Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
  • Cam Keizur, G, Portland State
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE/3-4DE, Villanova
  • Forrest Lamp^, OT/G, Western Kentucky
  • Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
  • Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
  • Hardy Nickerson, OLB/ILB, Illinois
  • Antonio Pipkin, QB, Tiffin
  • Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
  • Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
  • Duke Riley, ILB, LSU
  • Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State
  • Noel Thomas, WR, Connecticut
  • Dalvin Tomlinson, DT/NT, Alabama
  • Kermit Whitfield, WR, Florida State
  • PLAYERS AT LOCALS DAY
  • QB Holman, Justin; Central Florida
  • QB Schuessler, Nick; Clemson
  • QB Sloter, Kyle; Northern Colorado
  • WR Autry, Anthony; Texas A&M-Kingsville
  • WR/RS Davis, Reggie; Georgia
  • WR Davis, Robert; Georgia State
  • WR Mackenzie, Isaiah; Georgia
  • WR Reid, Jordan; Ohio
  • WR Scantling, Garrett; Georgia
  • WR Williams, Jalen; Massachusetts
  • TE Burns, Barrett; Appalachian State
  • TE Croom, Jason; Tennessee
  • TB Cox, Marcus; Appalachian State
  • TB Craine, Derrick; Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • TB Morris, George; Syracuse
  • TB Thomas, Justin; Georgia Tech
  • TB Williams, Boom; Kentucky
  • TB Willis, Myles; Boston College
  • OG Levin, Corey; Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • OG Pyke, Greg; Georgia
  • OT Catalina, Tyler; Georgia
  • OT Covington, Jamal; UNC-Charlotte
  • OT Gadbois, Taylor; Southeastern Louisiana
  • OT Garcia, Tony; Troy
  • OT Greene, Brandon; Alabama
  • OT Smith, Eric; Virginia
  • OLB English, Darius; South Carolina
  • OLB Everett, Andrew; Georgia State
  • OLB Jones, J’terius; Miami-Ohio
  • OLB Watson, Ryan; Air Force
  • DE Bart, Mikey; North Carolina
  • DE Hale, Chris; Middle Tennessee St.
  • DE Kallon, Francis; Georgia Tech
  • DE Lawrence, Shawayne; Georgia State
  • DE Rochell, Isaac; Notre Dame
  • DT Griffin, Kelsey; South Carolina
  • DT Tomlinson, Dalvin; Alabama
  • ILB/FB Davis, P.J.; Georgia Tech
  • ILB Holloman, T.J.; South Carolina
  • FS Hester, Martez; Ball State
  • FS Mauger, Quincy; Georgia
  • SS Elder, Chaz; South Carolina
  • SS Gray, Alex; Appalachian State
  • SS Payne, Donald; Stetson
  • SS Taylor, Aaron; Ball State
  • SS Tyler, Jeremy; West Virginia
  • CB Baker, Bobby; Georgia State
  • CB Blackmon, Dante; Kennesaw State
  • CB Buchanan Jr., Ray; Northern Iowa
  • CB Jones, Jay; Iowa State
  • CB Smith, Maurice; Georgia

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