John Bazemore/Associated Press
The biggest question relating to the Falcons' defensive success this year comes from the ability to create a pass rush. The Falcons passed up multiple opportunities to trade up and get either Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack in the 2014 draft.
So they will have to rely on their interior defensive linemen to create push in the middle to open up lanes for blitzers to create pressure. Guys like Tyson Jackson, Ra’Shede Hageman and Jonathan Babineaux will have to take on doubles to allow outside pressure to get home.
Atlanta doesn’t seem to have that dominant outside threat. However, don’t be shocked if the Falcons get big contributions from third-year player Jonathan Massaquoi. He’s the dark horse to break 10 sacks and look like a legitimate long-term option as the Falcons' star rusher.
Also, Osi Umenyiora should be in a much better spot as a rotational pass rusher and could wind up getting close to double digits himself. The Falcons should also have quite a few guys with four or five sacks on the roster while generating pressure both inside and outside.
The Falcons' pass rush may not have that one big name, but as a whole, they should be able to provide pressure that will allow quarterbacks less time than they had in 2013. If the scheme works to perfection, the Falcons could wind up with 40-45 total sacks, despite not having a premier rusher.
All stats used are from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN.com, CFBStats or NFL.com. All combine and pro day info is courtesy of NFLDraftScout.com. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, college football, the NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.