Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets product Jeremiah Attaochu is one of the top pass rushers in the 2014 NFL Draft class, and he has the ability to succeed as a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. An excellent pass rusher in college, Attaochu lined up as a 4-3 DE for the Yellow Jackets, but he is so athletic that he also had the ability to drop off into coverage. In that way, his game is reminiscent of Cliff Avril’s game coming out of college, and he could have that kind of an impact for a team. Avril was an underrated player for the Detroit Lions, as he consistently got pressure on the quarterback and confused defenses by covering well in zone blitzes, but he didn’t receive as much recognition since he didn’t put up big sack totals.
Attaochu will reportedly work out with the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts some time over the next couple of weeks, and all three of those teams could use a guy like Attaochu. While the Patriots seem like the least likely landing spot of those three teams, it’s not because they run a 4-3 scheme; it’s because they already have a solid starting duo at DE in Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. While Jones is talented and Ninko excels against the run, the Patriots need better pass rushing talent behind them, especially since they receive too many snaps. Signing veteran Will Smith certainly helps, but they can’t count on him. I highly doubt the Patriots draft Attaochu (he won’t fall into the second), but it’s good to see them taking a close look at him.
The Georgia Tech product would make plenty of sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 20s, and they are the most likely of these three teams to select Attaochu. They need another pass rusher, and Attaochu would be a perfect fit in their 3-4 scheme, especially since he’s athletic enough to cover. I’ve actually mocked him to the Eagles a couple of times, and Eagles fans should be happy that they have a workout lined up with him.
Since the Colts traded away their first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for Trent Richardson, they would have to hope for Attaochu to make an unlikely slide into the late second round in order to take him. I can’t see that happening, so the Colts will have hope Bjoern Werner breaks out opposite of Robert Mathis, who was downright nasty last year.