Atlanta Falcons coaches and scouts have turned their eyes 329 miles south of Atlanta. The Senior Bowl practices are well underway for Saturday's NFL audition. The Falcons have moved past what might have been, and now focus on what might be. Will the player who can get those last four yards be playing on Saturday? Or maybe a linebacker who can cover a tight end?
No matter what position a team focuses on, the Senior Bowl will have plenty of talent on display.
For the Falcons, it might be the next Tony Gonzalez. Or possibly that defensive end to finally complement John Abraham. More likely, the Falcons will seek role-players who have the potential to be special.
Scout Like a Falcon
General manager Thomas Dimitroff has established a pattern in his drafts. Outside of the measurable statistics, Dimitroff looks for players who are smart, tough, team-first guys. His forward-thinking approach sometimes goes against the grain.
In Dimitroff's first Falcons draft, he made the unpopular choice by using the first pick on a quarterback from Boston College. That has seemed to work out fine. Or how about the time Dimitroff ruined the franchise by trading six picks just to get a wide receiver? Julio Jones seems worth it to many now.
As hard as it might be to pin Dimitroff down, there are certainly areas of need.
Positions of Need
The quickest way to scout a game is to recognize the positions of need. There might be quarterbacks and wide receivers stealing the show, but those are certainly not needs. So let's break down the holes the Falcons need to fill.