Flowery Branch is going to be a busy place Wednesday as two draft prospects are set to visit Falcons HQ for private workouts.
According to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, former Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy will work out for Atlanta on Wednesday, as will former Connecticut inside linebacker Yawin Smallwood, according to Ross Jones of Fox Sports.
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Ealy finished fourth in the Southeastern Conference last season with 9.5 sacks and second with 14.5 tackles for loss. He could provide a powerful pass-rushing force at the next level, and the Falcons are in dire need of help in that regard.
While Ealy’s draft stock isn’t high enough for Atlanta to take at No. 6, if for some reason he fell into the second round, the Falcons might take a look. Ealy still isn’t a finished product, which means he may have upside, or he may never develop further. That’s something the Falcons will have to determine, and Wednesday could be a good step toward finding that answer.
If Smallwood is 100 percent healthy, Wednesday’s look in Flowery Branch could be the first time during the draft season Atlanta will see what the young linebacker can do. Smallwood injured his hamstring at the combine in February and didn’t perform well there, or at his pro day.
Smallwood started every game for the Huskies from 2011-2013 and led the team in tackles during his final two seasons. He’s a former college captain (something the Falcons seek out) and can even use his great speed in coverage if a team were to want to push him to a weakside linebacker position.
Considering Atlanta’s depth at linebacker, and the fact that middle linebacker Akeem Dent hasn’t live up to expectations, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Falcons bolster this position in the draft.
According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, former Vanderbilt offensive lineman Wesley Johnson worked out for Atlanta on Tuesday.
Johnson established a Vanderbilt record with 51 consecutive starts along the offensive line, and during his career with the Commodores has played center, guard and tackle. That kind of versatility is always coveted by Falcons head coach Mike Smith.
Projected as a late-round pick (most likely a seventh-rounder), Johnson could offer his high football IQ and ability to play multiple positions as solid depth along the Falcons’ offensive line.
As interesting as it is to keep track of who visits with Atlanta for formal workouts and which players talk to the Falcons in interviews, don’t put a whole lot of stock into the entire process. Of the 47 players who were tied publicly to meeting with the Falcons prior to the 2013 draft, only five landed in Atlanta—Seth Doege, Malliciah Goodman, Stansly Maponga, Zeke Motta and Desmond Trufant.
Only four of those made the team, with Doege landing in the Canadian Football League.