Atlanta Falcons Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up
Dan Quinn marched into Atlanta as the Falcons' new head coach in 2015 with a particular goal in mind. That goal? Create a 2.0 version of his former baby--the ever-dominant Seattle Seahawks defense.
Upon spending his first year at the helm figuring out he had very few pieces that could be carried over in this transformation, Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff made some headway in the 2016 NFL Draft. The city of Atlanta will now be welcoming the likes of safety Keanu Neal and outside linebackers Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell in their effort to become a faster and more purposeful defense.
What else, however, is left to address for the Falcons after last weekend? Here are a few areas that may be troublesome for Atlanta going into September:
If Quinn is indeed looking to morph the Falcons into some sort of Seahawks imitation, he'll need more push upfront. Specifically, he'll be searching for some consistent pass rush.
Atlanta finished the 2015 campaign with a pathetic 19.0 sacks. And it goes without saying that this output landed them dead-last in the NFL there. While they have some intriguing defensive tackle talents in Grady Jarrett and Ra'Shede Hageman up the middle, they don't have a clear option to pair with last year's first-round pick in Vic Beasley. Can free agent signing Derrick Shelby be the answer?
Again, the Falcons swept up Jones and Campbell with their second and fourth-round picks to help address the painfully slow linebacking corps. Are either, though, the presence this defense needs up the middle?
In seeing Atlanta wind up in the middle of the pack in rushing defense (105.0 yards allowed per game), veterans Brooks Reed and Paul Worrilow aren't the long-term fixes Quinn and Dimitroff need. Unless Campbell beats out Reed in convincing fashion during the summer, the middle linebacker spot will remain a concern.
Julio Jones is cool and all. After all, he's Julio friggin' Jones. But as good as the All-Pro wideout is, there's only one of him. Who else can quarterback Matt Ryan go to?
After cutting ties with franchise icon Roddy White, the Falcons inked former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to a five-year, $32.5 million deal in March. Barring an unforeseen breakout or injury, Sanu is obviously the favorite to land the No. 2 role in Atlanta's offense--even despite his lowly 0.98 yards per route run that he accumulated in 2015. Is their No. 2 really a No. 2? And even if he is, where's the depth? Well, the Falcons will have to sort through a group headlined by Justin Hardy and Devin Hester to find it.
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