Falcons prepared to evaluate edge rushers at NFL Combine

The NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis and the Falcons will undoubtedly have their eye on the edge rushers as they evaluate talent for the April draft.

"Baseball people have five tool players, you have speed, you have arm strength and accuracy," Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn said in an exclusive interview with FOX 5 Sports. "At each position there are some for us. If you're a pass rusher, you better be able to really accelerate in your first three steps because that's where you have to beat somebody to the punch."

When it comes to physical traits, it can vary for edge rushers. Iowa's A. J. Epenesa, who mock drafts like to go to the Falcons, is 6' 6", 280 pounds. LSU's big-time pass rusher K'Lavon Chaisson is thirty pounds lighter. Quinn isn't hung up on size, but he wants to see what he calls, "the get off".

"It's not about their long speed, it's how fast they can go for five yards or for ten yards. So the forty (yard dash) for them- that's nice- but that's not the number one thing at that spot, it's how quick a guy can move and change directions and bend." said Quinn.

Falcons personnel will get some time with individual players throughout the week, but Quinn compared the Combine to speed dating- saying that you can't put too much emphasis on those personal interviews.

"You can imagine how uptight they are," said Quinn. "The word I use sometimes is 'overtrying', you know, it's their first interview they've ever been on and they're like, tight and nervous. Some guys come in with a suit and tie and some guys have sweats on- they don't know what to do."

Players won't hit the field at Lucas Oil Stadium until Thursday, but Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff says the most important part of the Combine is happening now- medical evaluations and interviews. Dimitroff is famous for his draft day moves, and this is the time he begins to decide if a player is worthy of a move up- or not.

"It's the whole picture and the whole package for us," Dimitroff said. "You know you're looking forward to seeing the characteristics and the nuances of the personality when they come in the door and they sit down, and your like, man, this guys is just a bad dude. He's tough and fiery and passionate. And then he comes in and he may show a softer soul side and you start wondering like, wow, I never expected that."

Quinn compared the experience to the popular television show, The Bachelor, saying that later on in the draft process he'll have the opportunity to set up those 'hometown dates" with players they're really focusing in on before things heat up in the desert and the NFL Draft gets rolling on April 23rd.