Looking at the Top Team Needs for the Atlanta Falcons
For many teams in the NFL, the Falcons being one, the offseason is a time to address pressing needs for the team. Last year, the Falcons were very active in acquiring DE Ray Edwards in free agency and trading up in the 2011 draft to pick up WR Julio Jones.
These were two big moves made by Atlanta to make a deep run in the playoffs, and once again they were bounced out in the first round of the playoffs. With the NFL Combine currently going on, football spirit is back in the air. So what exactly are the Falcons' biggest needs?
5. Tight End
Tony Gonzalez has enjoyed a phenomenal 15 years in the league, but his time has to be coming to an end relatively soon. For the simple reason that his production has not fallen off significantly, the Falcons do not have to worry about replacing the future Hall of Famer this upcoming season or probably even the one after that.
Having said this, it would not be a bad idea for the Falcons to address this need now and groom a young tight end for a couple of years. Gonzalez would be a great mentor and what young player would not mind sitting behind him for a few years?
4. Defensive Tackle
The Falcons have used the past couple of drafts trying (unsuccessfully) at finding a dominate defensive tackle. Peria Jerry and Corey Peters, two of the most recent draftees, have really failed to solidify the Falcons' interior.
Now these players are young and have not been in the league long at all, so the Falcons may just want to continue to develop these youngsters. Regardless, defensive tackle is one of the most underrated positions in the NFL and successful DEs have the ability to change offensive game plans.
3. Defensive End
John Abraham was really the only player on the Falcons to have any success consistently rushing the passer. Abraham, like Gonzalez, is on his last leg of his NFL career and with Ray Edwards not producing in the way the Falcons have hoped, defensive end may need to have some turnover.
The Falcons have spent a good bit of money on Edwards, but with his lack of production this past year his leash should be pretty short. Having said this, Edwards does deserve another chance as he easily has all of the physical tools to be a premier defensive end.
He is 6' 5" and 270 pounds of pure muscle. Just find the video of him boxing, the guy is a physical specimen. Hopefully, for the sake of the Falcons, he will bounce back and have a Pro Bowl-caliber year.
2. Offensive Line
The Falcons' offensive line had some turnover last offseason and took some time to gel together as a unit. Just look at playoff game against the Giants, where the offensive line was dominated by a superior defensive line.
That was not the only time where the offensive line was outmatched. The rushing offense was on and off all season long and Matt Ryan was under pressure for a good majority of the year. Fixing up the offensive line needs to be a big priority for the Falcons this offseason.
1. Defensive Backs
In my opinion, the biggest priority of the Falcons has to be in the secondary. The players as a whole unit are not necessarily bad, especially with the emergence of safety William Moore, but the secondary was exposed against many teams this year. Some will argue that the defensive line did not pressure the quarterback enough to make life easier for the secondary, but how many coverage sacks did the secondary produce? Not many.
Getting another cover corner will help the Falcons more than anything else. Having the ability to move Brent Grimes into the nickelback position on third down will be huge for the defense. Grab another corner, and the defense should improve immensely.