Lynch to visit Falcons

SI.com/Getty Images Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports that California running back Marshawn Lynch is scheduled to visit the Atlanta Falcons. Wilson also reports that the Falcons have shown interest in Florida defensive end Ray McDonald, who according to Scout.com’s Ed Thompson, sat down with the Falcons for a formal interview at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.

Lynch is listed at 5’11” 215, and is widely considered the second best running back available in this year’s draft and is considered a first round pick. Although there is not consensus on where Lynch will be drafted in the first round, perhaps early or later. In two years as a starter for the Golden Bears, Lynch rushed for 2602 yards on 419 carries (6.2 avg) and 21 touchdowns, along with 49 receptions and 4 scores as a receiver. For his career, Lynch has rushed for 3230 yards, a 6.6 yards per carry average, 35 touchdowns, 68 receptions, returned 33 kickoffs for 744 yards (22.5 avg), and completed 3 of 4 pass attempts for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns. At the Combine, Lynch impressed with a 4.46 40-yard dash, also doing 20 bench reps of 225-pounds, had a vertical leap of 35.5 inches.

McDonald is a big massive defensive linemen, a possible “tweener” due to his ability to play either end or tackle in the pros. He’s listed at 6’4″ 276. At his pro day, he ran a 4.88 40.

He was a four-year starter, splitting his time at defensive and nose tackle throughout his career at Florida. Knee injuries however did sideline him for a spell as a junior. For his career, McDonald started 36 of 46 games, recorded 137 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 6 quarterback pressures, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. McDonald did not work out at the Combine due to bronchitis and salmonella poisoning from eating bad peanut butter two weeks prior. Most draft websites consider McDonald a strong candidate to be selected on the first day, with some rating him as an early second round choice.

Ed Thompson reports that the Falcons were in attendance of the pro days of California linebacker Desmond Bishop and Syracuse defensive back Tanard Jackson.

Bishop, a 6’2″ 239 middle linebacker was a productive two-year starter at Cal, recording 215 tackles, 21 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries there. As a senior he earned All-Pac 10 honors. He originally transferred to Cal after two solid seasons at City College of San Francisco. He ran a 4.81 40-yard dash at his pro day.

At 6′ 200 pounds, Jackson was a three-year starter at cornerback at Syracuse, but many feel he’s better suited to play safety in the NFL due to his size and strong abilities in run support. At his pro day, he ran an impressive 4.49 40 and had a vertical leap of 34 inches. As a starter at Syracuse, he recorded 160 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, 14 pass breakups, 4 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles.

While most consider Bishop a middle or late round prospect, Jackson is getting first day grades from most draft web sites.

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Aaron Freeman
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