Senior Bowl preview 2023: Inside defensive linemen to observe for the Falcons

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The offseason is right here for the Atlanta Falcons, and which means it’s time to go full-throttle into free company and the 2023 NFL Draft. With my colleagues taking the lead on the free company entrance, I’m going to be focusing my efforts over the following few weeks on the draft. Atlanta secured the eighth general decide for 2023, the second 12 months in a row that the crew will maintain that choice.

The subsequent occasion on the Draft Season calendar is the Reese’s Senior Bowl—a showcase of the highest draft-eligible seniors (or gamers who graduated early) that takes place in Cellular proper across the first week of February. To get everybody prepared for the week to return, I’ll be breaking down the highest gamers to observe for the Falcons and the league at massive.

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Subsequent up within the positional previews is the inside defensive position, the place the Falcons have a big want so as to add move rushers and run defenders alongside Grady Jarrett.

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Trying again, we had been extraordinarily spoiled by the inside defensive position class on the 2022 Senior Bowl. 2023 can’t presumably match that legendary group (particularly after high NT prospect Siaki Ika pulled out resulting from damage), however does have its justifiable share of high quality prospects who might see their inventory rise with a robust efficiency in Cellular. Listed here are a number of the greatest names to observe.

Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

The 2023 inside defensive position class is full of good nostril deal with prospects, and one in all my favorites is Keeanu Benton. Benton is a little bit of a late bloomer, however had a robust senior season at Wisconsin. A standout efficiency on the Senior Bowl might simply vault him into the Day 2 dialog, the place I chosen him in my first mock draft:

Benton is listed at 6’4, 317, however he appears to be like like he’s within the 320s no less than. He carries the burden extraordinarily properly and is an explosive mover off the snap. Benton has been extremely disruptive in 2022, each as a run defender and move rusher. He’s the uncommon nostril deal with who creates penetration and manufacturing on his personal: Benton has 10.0 TFL and 4.5 sacks already this season.

Zacch Pickens, South Carolina

Proper off the bat, Zacch Pickens appears to be like the a part of an NFL defensive lineman. At 6’4, 305, he’s received the scale and body that can catch the attention of evaluators. He pairs that with plus athleticism as a former 5-star recruit, and has some really dominant flashes on tape. Pickens is a vicious hand-fighter and is nice at utilizing his size to disengage from opposing blockers. For all his traits, Pickens by no means actually put all of it collectively right into a dominant, productive bundle. The upside is clearly there, and he’ll have a chance to impress the scouting neighborhood in Cellular.

Jalen Redmond, Oklahoma

A singular prospect on the defensive position, Jalen Redmond is a difficult analysis. A former defensive finish, Redmond was requested to bulk up and play all alongside the inside at Oklahoma. The result’s a little bit of an “in-between” body at 6’2, 279 and a participant who hasn’t gotten a ton of snaps at a single place. Redmond’s athleticism is phenomenal, with a deadly mixture of explosiveness and energy that has led to some actually spectacular reps. I like his motor and he’s additionally received a reasonably well-developed set of counters together with good hand utilization towards the run. Nonetheless, Redmond has had some off-field points (DUI in 2020) and shall be 24 throughout his rookie season. That is clearly a high-upside participant who might be an early-Day 3 decide if his pre-draft course of goes easily.

Keion White, Georgia Tech

One other hybrid defensive lineman, Keion White has performed each on the sting and the inside for Georgia Tech. At 6’4, 290, White appears to be like the a part of a 3-4 DE however performs with the athleticism and motion expertise of an edge rusher. He’s a extremely spectacular athlete who brings all of the bodily traits to the desk: size, energy, and explosiveness. White continues to be a really uncooked defensive lineman proper now and wishes plenty of technical work as each a run defender and move rusher. His mixture of measurement and athleticism will get him drafted on Day 2, and he might rise even greater with a robust Senior Bowl.

Different gamers to observe:

Nesta Jade Silvera, Arizona State
Byron Younger, Alabama
D.J. Dale, Alabama
Jerrod Clark, Coastal Carolina

I hope you loved this entry in our Senior Bowl 2023 preview sequence. I’ll be in Cellular to cowl the Senior Bowl for The Falcoholic from Tuesday, January 31 by way of Thursday, February 2. Keep tuned tomorrow for our subsequent place preview: linebacker.