Falcons select Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson in second round

Tribune Content Agency

ATLANTA — The Falcons selected Auburn defensive end Marlon Davidson in the second round (47th overall) of the NFL draft on Friday.

Davidson, 6-foot-3 and 303 pounds, is projected to play tackle in the NFL. He played end for the Tigers.

“When I step on the field, I feel like I’m the best,” Davidson said. “I improve every little bit and aspect of my game from freshman year to my senior year.”

In 2016 he became the first freshman to start on the defensive line for Auburn since 1985. He went on to make the SEC All-Freshman team. Davidson started all 51 games over his career.

“I like this pick,” NFL network analyst Booger McFarland said. “I can’t wait to see him rush over guards in the NFL.”

The Falcons stayed with their needs-based drafting philosophy and selected Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell 16th overall in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday.

In the second the filled another need at defensive tackle.

Davidson, 22, of Greenville, Ala., led the Tigers with 12.5 tackles for losses and 7.5 sacks last season.

“He has scheme versatility,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “You can play him inside or out. The Senior Bowl really helped him out.”

The Falcons have the 78th overall pick in the third round.

“We’ll continue to build our depth on both sides, both sides of the front,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “We’re always looking to fortify. There’s opportunities there.

“I will say … there are opportunities on the interior and there (are) opportunities outside on the defensive side.”

Davidson was the 15th pick of the second round.

“At 47 it’s a good place for us to be,” Dimitroff said. “We already mapped out a couple of different positions that we were looking at. … We feel like there’s a really rich area there between the early part of the second round to 47, and we feel like we might have some really good opportunities there.”

Rounds 4-7 are Saturday.

The Falcons also want to land an offensive tackle, who can fill their backup swing tackle position and they could take another running back or wide receiver who can handle the return duties, on the third day of the draft.

In the first round, the Falcons elected to pass on higher-rated players in Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, LSU defensive end K’lavon Chaisson, Michigan center/guard Cesar Ruiz and Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.

Terrell, who was the sixth-rated cornerback in the draft by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was projected to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round.

Passing on Lamb and a host of other wide receivers was no surprise because the Falcons are deep at the position with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and newly signed Laquon Treadwell.

Chaisson could have helped the anemic pass rush, but is young and would take time to develop after just one productive season at LSU.

Ruiz could have helped the offensive line, which gave up 50 sacks and 135 quarterback hits last season. Ruiz, who went to the Saints, could have been the heir-apparent to center Alex Mack, who’ll turn 35 in November.

Murray, a tackling machine, could have replaced De’Vondre Campbell, who was the team’s leading tackler over the past two seasons.


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