Atlanta's biggest defensive hole is at pass-rusher. Adding someone like Missouri's Kony Ealy could be a way to try and bring in a talented edge player with pass-rushing potential. Ealy had a bit of a weak combine for someone who showed better athleticism on tape.
However, that won't stop the Falcons from looking at him as they gave him some special attention at his pro day. David C Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune tweeted that Ealy spent "some quality time with a Falcons scout" at his pro day.
University of Missouri
Height: 6'4" Weight: 273 pounds
Arm Length: 34.25" Hand Measurement: 9.5"
40 yard dash: 4.92 sec. 10 yard split: 1.66 sec.
20 yard shuttle: 4.45 sec. 3-cone Drill: 6.83 sec. Bench Reps: 22 reps
Vertical Jump: 31.0" Broad Jump: 9'6"
2013: 14 Games Played, 42 Tackles, 14.0 Tackles for Loss, 8.0 Sacks, 7 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 3 Fumbles Forced, 6 Pass Deflections, 1 Defensive Touchdown
2012: 12 Games Played, 37 Tackles, 10.0 Tackles for Loss, 3.5 Sacks, 5 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 7 Pass Deflections
2011: 13 Games Played, 16 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sack
Ealy’s got great length and understands how to use it to his advantage on the edge. He sets the edge against the run well and can chase down backs from the backside of the play. As a pass-rusher, he can rush effectively enough to create pressure by shooting gaps well.
He can rush from either the 3-technique or the outside defensive end positions. He’s very similar to Justin Tuck in that regard. He’s also extremely instinctual in how he reads defenses. Also, if he doesn’t get home on a sack, he understands how to put his hands up and bat balls down at the line.
Ealy is not a great bull rusher. He’s not supremely athletic and doesn’t do well trying to bend around the edge. He tends to rush from a perspective of "contain the quarterback" instead of "attack the quarterback," and it shows in his hesitation off the line.
At times, his length works against him because he’ll play too high allowing offensive linemen to get under his pads and move him out of the way. On running downs, this is much easier to see because some plays, he gets knocked off the line quickly.
How Does He Fit the Comrade Filter?
Ealy fits the parameters of first two questions that every Comrade Filter player must fit in that he has never been arrested or suspended. And while he was never a captain for the Tigers, he was a defensive leader in the locker room and understands the team concept.
Ealy is a very good all-around prospect, but he’s still a bit of a raw athlete. He’s not extremely scheme-versatile and has just a few roles that he could truly succeed in. However, a team will see this giant block of molding clay and want to try and mold it.
He’s good enough as he is to be a mid-first-round value. His best comparison to a current NFL player is Justin Tuck. He’ll be someone who plays base alignments at defensive end and then he will eventually move inside to tackle. Sometimes, he’ll also rush from a linebacker spot.
How He Would Fit into the Falcons' Plans
The Falcons shouldn’t spend anything before their second-round pick on Ealy. He’s a good player with a ton of potential, but he has yet to put it all together. Bryan Cox and Mike Nolan would definitely have fun with his raw abilities, though.
Atlanta could use him as a 3-4 outside linebacker, 4-3 defensive end or even a 3-4 defensive end in the 5-technique. Ealy has a high ceiling, but his floor is what really scares a lot of people. If he doesn’t reach his ceiling, he’s going to be a rotational end like Chauncey Davis was.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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