PROS: Has a nice first step and shows some ability to bring pressure off the edge and press pocket. Can make plays in pursuit and works down the line to make stop on running back. Can play contain on the edge. Flashes bull-rush potential and is effective when asked to line up inside because of his first step. Saw flashes of a developmental spin move as a junior, but not so much as a senior. Shows some ability to get leverage against bigger blockers vs. the run.
CONS: Needs to get better at the point of attack. Gets engulfed by blockers too often and has trouble getting off blocks. Needs to improve his recognition. Lacks the speed to convert to linebacker and not natural breaking down in space. Doesn't have the edge speed and burst to turn the corner consistently.
OVERVIEW: A four-year starter that was productive throughout career. Started 42 games, tallying 52.5 tackles for loss and 23 sacks. Also forced 9 fumbles and had 6 recoveries. Most productive year as a pass rusher was in 2008 with 10.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. Teamed with Greg Middleton and was the more consistent of the pair the past few years.
NFL FORECAST: Kirlew's lack of size usually indicates he'll get a shot at linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but he doesn't have the speed to play in that scheme. So he's going to be stuck on the defensive line. And while he was a productive collegiate pass rusher, he won't be as much in the pros. The key for him is going to be bulking up and getting stronger vs. the run. He has potential there, and I see a bit of Chauncey Davis in him with some added weight. Also it wouldn't be surprising if he puts on significant weight and converts into an interior pass rusher. With his height and playing around 280-290, he could be a decent defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Probably not a starter, but a decent rotational guy. But his role in the pros is going to most likely be a situational player. But I think he'll be able to stick because he seems to show the work ethic and toughness you like to see.
ATL FORECAST: I could see Kirlew sticking in Atlanta and being developed as a potentail replacement for Davis. Eventually I think he can be a decent two-down run stopper that can also get some work inside on passing downs like Davis did in 2008. The coaches should like his effort and work ethic, which I think are good enough to potentially stick as a rookie as the fifth end. He's a work in progress and probably won't contirbute much as a rookie, but if you keep him and develop him for a bit, it should start to pay dividends by his second or third year as a key figure in the rotation.
VALUE: Kirlew is a nice late round pick because of his potential to develop into a solid rotation player. I'd probably snag him in the sixth round at the earliest.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.