The 2023 NFL Draft was really good to the Atlanta Falcons, who landed arguably the top non-quarterback in the class in running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson’s presence in the Falcons’ roster could take this team up to nine wins and maybe a playoff appearance. Who knows? Nine wins might be enough to win the NFC South based on what we saw last year.
But the Atlanta Falcons‘ rookie class is going to need to be more than “just” Bijan Robinson if this team is going to make it to the postseason after showing some good things last year. They are going to need second-round pick Matthew Bergeron to step up in a big way as well as third-round pick Zach Harrison.
Luckily for the Falcons, it sounds like almost the entire rookie class is showing well early on in training camp, but defensive end Zach Harrison may have made one of the biggest splashes so far.
Atlanta Falcons rookie DE Zach Harrison making a splash early
Now that’s a rep from Zach Harrison.
The rookie out of Ohio State had received a lot of mixed reviews in the pre-draft process, and for him, the pre-draft process was not just the couple of months before the NFL Draft. Harrison has been under the microscope for quite some time because of his predecessors at Ohio State like Chase Young and the Bosa brothers, as well as the fact that he came with some big hype as a high school recruit.
Harrison showed flashes early on at Ohio State, and instantly people assumed he was going to be the next first-round pass rusher. Ultimately, though, you might say that Harrison ended up being a disappointment based on his NFL Draft standing. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, being a third-round pick, but the hype was much bigger for him a couple of years ago.
Here’s where NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein landed on Harrison in the pre-draft process:
"Harrison is big and long with the ability to neutralize base blocks as a 4-3 base end, but his gradual movement and lack of playmaking urgency limited his overall production. Harrison has the physical tools to create occasional advantages early in the rush but needs to get better at capitalizing on them. His size and length will always be appealing, but a more fiery demeanor on the field might be needed to raise his status beyond rotational end.Lance Zierlein"
The irony of his “lack of playmaking urgency” in the clip shown above, am I right? There is no question that Harrison has the physical abilities to make an impact at the NFL level, but based on what we saw at Ohio State, “flashes” were more consistent than consistency. But Harrison could be a huge X-factor for this Falcons defense in 2023. He has a chance to really boost the pass rush and plays like this in training camp certainly get Atlanta Falcons fans excited.