Falcons’ offseason spotlight: Vic Beasley

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley (44) lines up against the Jacksonville Jaguars during an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley (44) lines up against the Jacksonville Jaguars during an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Before diving into the final draft stretch run, Falcons coach Dan Quinn shared some thoughts with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about six players he’s counting on to elevate their games in 2016.

He wants them to slide from being role players to becoming major contributors. The group includes defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley, cornerback Jalen Collins, running back Tevin Coleman defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, wide receiver Justin Hardy and free safety Robenson Therezie.

Today we’ll look at Vic Beasley, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Clemson.

Vic Beasley told us at Clemson Pro day that his shoulder is completely healed. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Vic Beasley told us at Clemson Pro day that his shoulder is completely healed. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

He started all 16 games last season and broke the team record for most sacks by a rookie in a season (4.0) since 1982, according to NFL True Media. Beasley, who struggled at times against the run, had 27 tackles (20 solo), one interception, two  forced fumbles, and two passes defensed.

In the upset of the Panthers in the 15th game of the season, Beasley recorded his second career strip sack to close out the game at the end of fourth quarter.

The plan is to use Beasley as more of a hybrid. He rush the passer from defensive end in the nickel defense. The team will look at him playing more linebacker in the base 4-3 over the offseason.

“With Vic, on his pass-rush, he’s played both on the left side and on the right side,” Quinn said. “For us, it’s the inside counters because sometimes he has great speed.”

Beasley, who played last season with a torn labrum, needs something to go with his speed rushes.

“He’s hauling up the field, so if a guy is waiting on that move, you can defend it,” Quinn said. “So, think of a basketball player who’s dribbling with his left hand. (You’d want to make his go right.)

“He has to develop some inside counters where he uses some of his strength. Although he’s not a big man, he’s powerful when he uses it. The more speed that you have, you better use your inside counters. That’s one for sure with him in the (pass) rush game.”

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