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Team needs: Atlanta Falcons

Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith AP

With three NFC divisions done in our team needs series, it’s time to head to the NFC South and the defending division champion Falcons.

After two playoff appearances in three seasons, the new regime in Atlanta needs to upgrade a talent base that was greater than the sum of its parts during a 13-3 regular season.

DE: The Falcons need a pass rusher to help their rotation now, and especially in 2012.  John Abraham, Kroy Biermann, and Jamaal Anderson are all free agents after 2011.  Biermann is a rock solid player, but not at Abraham’s level as a pass rusher.  A game changer here would make this front line scary.

WR: You could just call this need “playmaker.”  With Tony Gonzalez possibly entering his last year, the pick could also be at tight end.  Matt Ryan needs more speed outside; Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas, and even Gonzalez don’t win enough one-on-one matchups.

T: The offensive line need isn’t quite as desperate as you think here. Yes, Tyson Clabo seems likely to leave.  Guards Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock are free agents and perhaps only one will return.  But this is a system-based team and G.M. Thomas Dimitroff planned for this day.  He drafted tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson, and center/guard Joe Hawley in the middle rounds over the last two years.

Getting a right tackle to compete with Reynolds seems like the best bet.

OLB: The Falcons want to bring Mike Peterson back as a run-stopper, but he’s year-to-year.  The team’s super sub Stephen Nicholas is also a free agent.  Mike Smith would love to add a quality weak-side linebacker that can grow up with Sean Weatherspoon and Curtis Lofton together.

Overview: The Falcons have a decent amount of roster holes considering they were the NFC’s top seed last year.  They could draft a third-down back with Jason Snelling and Jerious Norwood set for free agency. They need depth in the secondary.

Based on Dimitroff’s track record, the Falcons will have no trouble finding a handful of solid contributors.  A true difference-maker or two could put this team over the top.

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4 Responses to “Team needs: Atlanta Falcons”
  1. beckzhere says: Apr 11, 2011 12:10 PM

    -mr92687-, It’s not Todd Hawley, it’s Joseph Hawley from UNLV.

    I’m not nearly as concerned with the O-line as much as the D-line. I think letting Erik Coleman and Brian Williams go is a blow to our secondary. Were they All Stars? No. Are they better than who we have to replace them? Yes.

    With a playmaker at DE and OLB in the first 2 rounds, we can spend the rest of our picks on CB, WR, RB and TE. We only need a 1st day starter at DE.

  2. paulitik74 says: Apr 11, 2011 1:26 PM

    Nice analysis. CB is a need, especially at nickel but this draft is really thin at CB and Safety. Brian Williams is a possiblity of getting re-signed. Losing Coleman was a hit, in my opinion as well.

    I think FA is a possibility.

    If there is a run on QBs late in the 1st, I would love to trade back to the 2nd and possibly get more picks. I’m more comfortable going with a DE in the second, than hoping the scraps fall to us at 27. Especially since everyone wants a DE in this draft. I’d love to grab Allen Bailey or Brooks Reed in the 2nd, and possibly get Young, Jernigan, or Rudolph there as well.

  3. 52sackmachine says: Apr 11, 2011 1:30 PM

    The Falcons, are one of the rising teams in the NFC South. In which case could be arguably the best divison right now. I think the falcons go defensive in the first two rounds, before turning there attention to the offensive side. Defense is what hurt them in there playoff game against my packers. They need pass rushers that can get to the qb. With that said, the falcons, will be ok, this year, if they address there needs. Hopefully they don’t just draft the best player available. That sometimes comes back to hurt you.

  4. thefiesty1 says: Apr 11, 2011 3:16 PM

    Too bad Matty Ice doesn’t have much of a running game to take some heat off in the tough South. Wonder which one of them will win it next season.

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