Twitter provides a great way for authors like myself to connect with their readers. I have always done an Atlanta Falcons mailbag and am back with another edition today with some more questions that the fans are wondering about.
We'll start it off with Matty Nice asking a question regarding the type of player the Falcons might take in the draft:
As I explained in this article, the Falcons like guys who are pretty much squeaky clean off the field. That doesn't mean they won't take a guy who is low floor and high ceiling on the field. They've already taken chances with guys like Lawrence Sidbury, Kroy Biermann, and even Matt Ryan like that.
I wouldn't be surprised to see them get a cornerback or defensive end in the third round or later who fits this mold. Especially since that's what those rounds are for. Guys who will in the worst case be depth, and in the best case be potential Pro Bowl players.
Tyler Warren asks about a potential running back selection for the NFL draft:
Honestly, I don't see it happening unless a guy like Knile Davis or Marcus Lattimore fall to the projected compensatory pick in the fourth round that the Falcons should be getting for Curtis Lofton. They signed Steven Jackson for more than just this season.
Jackson has enough in his tank to play at least three more seasons, and with him and Jacquizz Rodgers, the Falcons wouldn't need any running backs til after the 2014 season. That being said, if the guy can return kicks or punts, I'd say go for it.
Karim Jiwani asks for a cap update:
I use a combination of information from the NFLPA database (password required), Spotrac and ESPN's NFC South Blogger Pat Yasinskas for my updated contract data. Between all the sources, I feel like this is the most accurate number, and I've developed this spreadsheet.
To answer your question, right now the Falcons are $10.218 million under the cap before adding in any information from Steven Jackson's contract. They should have more than enough room after Jackson's contract for a pair of mid-tier signings.
The Gritz Blitz Blog inquires the following:
Based on physiques and talent, I'd have to say William Moore and new Falcon Steven Jackson. However, based on personalities alone, you have to go with the tag team of Thomas DeCoud and Sean Weatherspoon.
Blake Hudgins is curious about the cornerback situation:
No idea if they do or don't re-sign Brent Grimes. It's honestly a coin flip at this point, as he's received interest from Miami, Cleveland and, of course, the Falcons. I honestly believe the Falcons target a corner early in the draft either way.
Asante Samuel is aging and Robert McClain is only signed for one more season. Atlanta needs a true, long-term solution for the position and no more stop-gaps.
The DW wants to know about available pass rushers:
@scottcarasik Who do you see as the best pass rushing option for the Falcons - either in the draft or free agency?— The DW (@TheWalkerman) March 15, 2013
There really are way too many to list. In free agency, I'd love to see Atlanta go after Elvis Dumervil or Victor Butler. Elvis Dumervil isn't very likely, because of past incidents off the field and a likelihood of wanting more than the Falcons can afford.
Butler, in particular, intrigues me because the ProFootballFocus pass rushing productivity metric (subscription required) has him as only a slightly worse pass rusher than the pair of linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart in Dallas—DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.
Cedric gives a two-part question regarding the defense:
Honestly—and I don't think Falcons fans will want to hear this—I think the Falcons are going to be going into the draft with Jonathan Massaquoi and Kroy Biermann penciled in as the starters at both defensive end spots.
At corner, if they let Brent Grimes walk, it wouldn't shock me. He wants a ton of money and is coming off an injury where players rarely are able to return to their top level of performance. Sean Merriman is the best example of an Achilles injury destroying a career.
Ryan Brown asks about the depth of the draft:
This is arguably the deepest draft in years. There are starting-caliber players all the way to the fourth and even fifth rounds. The Falcons should be able to get a ton of instant contributors in at least depth roles for the entire draft.
The Falcons should end up with 11 picks after compensatory picks are announced. They likely won't even end up with all 11 picks on the active roster when all is said and done because the team is so deep already.
Brandon Chapman asks about the plan at the cornerback spot across from Asante and pass rushers:
I'd say go into the draft and whoever is leftover in free agency after the draft, bring them in for a flier. A veteran minimum flier is all that's really needed. The Falcons have a ton of talent on the roster already and just need to harness it.
If the Falcons can use the talent they already have effectively, they could easily end up in Super Bowl in 2013. The draft should be primarily for depth and one starter, and that's how Comrade Thomas Dimitroff has been using it since he got to Atlanta.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.