The Atlanta Falcons need a pass-rusher. Cornelius Washington from local Georgia would be a great fit for Mike Nolan's "Amoeba"-style defensive concepts. According to ProFootballTalk, the Falcons have already shown interest in the defender:
Georgia DE/LB Cornelius Washington will visit Falcons today and Bucs on Friday.He has had five private workouts since his Pro Day.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 3, 2013
Let's explore the positives and negatives that the Falcons could see in Washington:
University of Georgia
Height: 6'4" Weight: 265 pounds
Arm Length: 34" Hand Measurement: 9-1/2"
40 yard dash: 4.53 sec. 10 yard split: 1.60 sec.
20 yard shuttle: 4.74 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.47 sec. Bench Reps: 39 reps
Vertical Jump: 39.0" Broad Jump: 10'8"
2012: 14 Games Played, 22 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 0.5 Sacks, 11 QB Hurries, 1 Pass Deflection, 1 Blocked Kick
2011: 12 Games Played, 17 Tackles, 6.0 Tackles for Loss, 5.0 Sacks, 18 QB Hurries, 1 Pass Deflection
2010: 12 Games Played, 24 Tackles, 3.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sacks, 1 Pass Deflection
2009: 13 Games Played, 13 Tackles, 5.0 Tackles for Loss, 4.0 Sacks, 4 QB Hurries
Cornelius Washington is a great pass-rusher with an excellent first step. He may not have the sack numbers that his teammate Jarvis Jones has, but he is right up there in terms of hurries and other pass-rushing impact that can't be seen on the field.
He's good at stacking and shedding blockers to set the edge against the run. He's able to turn plays back towards the inside even if he's already been blocked out of the play. Even in short zones, he does well on covering the flats and bursting to the ball.
Washington should never play more coverage than just the short zones. He can't man up on a receiver and has a ton of trouble getting depth on drops. If he was drafted by the Falcons, they should try him out in a Terrell Suggs-style role.
Against the run, while he does extremely well at setting the edge from the 3-4 outside linebacker spot. However, he was used as a 3-4 defensive end most of his senior year and couldn't work effectively at shedding multiple blockers on the same play.
The Falcons could easily benefit from the addition of a pass-rusher like Washington. He understands how to set the edge against the zone-read and would be an asset against those teams in the NFL. Washington's off-the-field situation would be something questioned, but outside of that, he looks like a good fit for the Mike Nolan defense.
How Does He Fit the Comrade Filter?
In 2011, Cornelius Washington was arrested for a DUI (h/t Atlanta Journal Constitution's Chip Towers) and subsequently suspended for it. He wasn't a captain or a leader within the locker room, but he was someone who worked hard and put his all into the game. If he can show the DUI was an isolated incident, the Falcons could very well keep him on the board.
How He Would Fit into the Falcons' Plans
Cornelius Washington would have to be a second- or third-round pick for the Falcons. He's an excellent pass-rusher, and the Falcons would be able to use him on the line at 4-3 DE, at linebacker at 3-4 OLB or in the Amoeba sets in a more athletic version of the Kroy Biermann role.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.