PROS: He has a nice first step and can be an edge rusher. Has a good motor and will make plays in pursuit. Shows closing burst on the ball when he's working in space. Is athletic enough and shows decent hips when working in space to potentially develop in coverage.
CONS: Lacks recognition and doesn't do a good job playing contain on the edge. Doesn't break downwell and will miss stops in the backfield and in space. Doesn't quite know how to dip the shoulder in order to turn the corner as an edge rusher. Needs to improve his hand use and add more pass rush moves. Could develop a good bull rush with his first step, but doesn't know how. Lacks awareness when he's working in space and coverage.
OVERVIEW: He's a tweener. He's athletic enough to play in space, but he's not natural there.
NFL FORECAST: There is a lot about Lang that reminds me of Lawrence Sidbury. You like his edge speed, and because of it you like his potential to contribute as a situational pass rusher. He has a better frame than Sidbury to get bigger, so the notion of him staying on the line has better prospects. But he needs to develop more moves and even if he was to get stronger, not sure he'll ever become anything more than a situational pass rusher. As a linebacker, he shows the athleticism to play that position, but I don't think he plays with the awareness to ever really be a factor in coverage or as a run stopper. His learning curve is steeper at linebacker, and unless a team is willing to sit him for two or three years to develop, then I'm not sure he'll stick there. And even if he does, it'll probably be as a backup in the Jyles Tucker-mold than as a future starter. I'd be a bit more willing to try my luck with him as an end, try to bulk him up a bit, and try to develop his technique and get him to learn some new moves. Again, he'll probably never be a starter, but he at least has a lot better chance of contributing early in his career.
ATL FORECAST: Lang and Sidbury are pretty much the same player. I'd say Lang has probably better upside because he might be slightly bigger, but both are raw players. And unless the Falcons feel confident that between him, Sidbury, and Biermann someone will emerge as a starter, they will probably have too many situational rushers for their own good. It's just going to be hard to find playing time for all those guys, which also doesn't include Abraham, Anderson, and Davis also being in the mix. The only real positive is that Lang would likely get the time on the practice squad in his first year to get bigger and stronger. And if the team opts to part ways with Abraham and/or Anderson between now and 2011, that could open up a slot for him then. He could work in Atlanta, but he probably wouldn't contribute much in the first two or so years.
VALUE: Lang is a good option in the middle rounds for a team looking for either a situational rusher or a developmental 3-4 outside linebacker. The highest he should go is in the fourth round. But his tweener status probably means someone should wait until the fifth round if possible.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.