Kentucky's Bud Dupree could be in play for Atlanta at No. 8

New Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn, formerly the Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator, probably knows the Falcons had the second-fewest sacks in the NFL last season.

For that reason, Quinn and the Falcons presumably are extremely interested in picking an edge rusher with the No. 8 pick in the draft.

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But which ones will be there?

NFL Media analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Curtis Conway said Thursday on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" that Kentucky's Alvin "Bud" Dupree could be in play for the Falcons at No. 8.

Jeremiah said Randy Gregory's positive drug test at the combine could cause him to slide, which could mean that teams needing edge rushers at the top of the draft will have fewer players from which to choose. Teams seeking edge rushers include Jacksonville at No. 3, Washington at No. 5, the Jets at No. 6, and Chicago at No. 7, as well as Atlanta. That's a lot of teams for a pool of players that potentially could dwindle by one.

Florida's Dante Fowler, Jr., Clemson's Vic Beasley (an Atlanta-area native), and Missouri's Shane Ray, along with Gregory, generally are considered better prospects than Dupree. But the Gregory situation could make all but Dupree unavailable to the Falcons.

Jeremiah said that picking Dupree, who is 27th on his list of the top 50 prospects, at No. 8 is "a little rich for me." But Jeremiah did note that Dupree is "a freaky athlete." Dupree measured 6-foot-4 and 269 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine and turned in a 4.56 clocking in the 40; had a vertical jump of 42 inches; and a broad jump of 11 feet, 6 inches.

"I'm on the Dupree bandwagon," Conway said.

Conway said Dupree was asked to do different things than the rest of the top edge rushers. "He didn't rush the passer as much as the rest of the guys did," said Conway, who noted that Dupree appeared to have more responsibilities against the run than the other edge rushers.

Jeremiah also noted, "Beasley is comparable to Bruce Irvin." Irvin, of course, was an edge rusher with the Seahawks, and Quinn is bringing the same scheme to Atlanta.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.