Atlanta signed Paul Soliai this offseason to be the big anchor in the middle. However, it could use a talented reserve who could generate a better pass rush. Zach Kerr is just one of the options that the Falcons have in this year’s draft.
According to Tony Pauline of WalterFootball.com (h/t SB Nation), the Falcons worked out the massive Kerr the day after the Delaware pro day back in March. He could be a mid-round target for the Falcons on the interior of their defensive line as someone to compete with Peria Jerry for a roster spot.
University of Delaware
Height: 6'1.375" Weight: 326 pounds
Arm Length: 32.875" Hand Measurement: 9.75"
40-yard dash: 5.08 sec. 10-yard split: 1.72 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.71 sec. Three-cone Drill: 7.73 sec. Bench Reps: 28 reps
Vertical Jump: 28.5" Broad Jump: 8'3"
2013: 12 Games Played, 57 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles for Loss, 3.5 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 2 Fumbles Forced, 2 Pass Deflections
2012: 11 Games Played, 27 Tackles, 4.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sacks, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Interception, 2 Fumbles Recovered, 1 Defensive Touchdown
2010: 16 Games Played, 21 Tackles, 0.5 Tackle for Loss
2009: 7 Games Played, 2 Tackles
Kerr is a strong, big-bodied defensive tackle who can play multiple roles in the Falcons defense. He’s played nose tackle and under tackle in the 4-3 as well as some 3-4 nose tackle snaps throughout his time at Delaware and Maryland.
He explodes off the snap and plays with great anchor. He takes double-teams with ease and doesn’t lose ground when taking the guard and center out of the play. He understands how to keep his linebackers clean so that they can make plays.
Despite getting solid results, Kerr has technique that is cringe-worthy at moments. He’s able to drive guys back but needs to be more consistent with his leverage, especially when it comes to taking on the center head up in 3-4 alignments.
Kerr isn’t extremely quick despite having good burst off the snap. His lack of lateral agility could hurt him if he is asked to play any role past the 3-technique defensive tackle. If he learns how to use his hands to knock blockers away better, he could be dangerous in the NFL.
How Does He Fit the Comrade Filter?
While Kerr has never been arrested or suspended, he did have academic eligibility issues when he was at Maryland before transferring to Delaware. It got bad enough to where he was ineligible for the 2011 season because of his academic issues.
However, this hasn’t been a problem for the Falcons in the past, as they understand academics aren’t going to be part of the NFL lifestyle. He wasn’t a captain for the Blue Hens, but he willingly took double-teams while he was with the Blue Hens to keep their linebackers clean.
Kerr is a unique player because he can fit either the 3-4 or the 4-3 and can do well in a defense with either one-gap or two-gap tendencies. Since the Falcons run a mix of every defense ever invented, it would make sense to bring in a versatile defender like Kerr.
He also has the off-field presence that would be welcome in the locker room. It would be interesting to see how the Falcons run some defensive packages—especially now that they would have extra girth in the middle in Kerr, Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson.
How He Would Fit into the Falcons' Plans?
If the Falcons were to look into drafting Kerr, they’d be looking at him with one of their three picks in the fourth or fifth round. He would be a great fit for the multiple-front defense that Mike Nolan plays due to his versatility in technique from 0 to 3.
Atlanta could play him at nose tackle in the 3-4, defensive tackle in the 4-3 or even defensive end in some three-man-front situations. Ideally, he would be the perfect rotational guy behind Soliai and would allow the Falcons to keep Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux at 3-technique.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro-day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
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.