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Lions have 2 selected in Rd. 2

The Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons traded up in the second round of the NFL draft to address one of their biggest needs by selecting Penn State edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie on Friday night.

The Falcons finished last in the NFL with 18 sacks in 2021 — 11 fewer than any other team.

Placing a priority on boosting their pass rush, the Falcons acquired the No. 38 overall pick from the New York Giants. The Giants obtained the No. 43 selection in the second round and a fourth-round pick, No. 114 overall.

Ebiketie (6-foot-2, 250 pounds) was regarded as one of the top pass rushers in the draft. The Cameroon native had a combined 15.5 sacks in his career with Temple and Penn State, including 9.5 with the Nittany Lions in 2021.

With a nod to his pass-rush skills, Ebiketie has assigned himself the title of “Dr.” on his Twitter account.

“Actually I gave myself the nickname,” Ebiketie said. “A lot of people ask me why I call myself a doctor. I call myself the doctor of pass rushing and I’m going to stick with it for a while.”

The Falcons went 7-10 last season and missed the playoffs in the first year of rookie head coach Arthur Smith’s regime.

The Chicago Bears addressed needs in the secondary by taking Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker at No. 48.

Brisker, who spent two years at Lackawanna Community College, was a second-team All-American as a senior last season. He had 64 tackles and 5.5 for loss to go with two interceptions and five pass breakups in 12 games despite a banged up shoulder. He opted out of the Outback Bowl loss to Arkansas to prepare for the draft.

The Bears went 6-11 last season and missed the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 years.

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