Now that we have finished reviewing the AFC North and the NFC North, we move onto the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants, the final two non-division opponents for the coming season. We start today with the Falcons.
The Falcons have been incredibly busy this offseason, signing and re-signing players left and right. A list of players most adequately demonstrates the point.
Signed: TE Tony Moeaki, TE Jacob Tamme, DE/OLB O'Brien Schofield, DE Adrian Clayborn, CB Phillip Adams, WR Leonard Hankerson, DE/OLB Brooks Reed, OLB Justin Durant, and G Mike Person.
Re-signed: DE Kroy Biermann, RB Antone Smith, QB T.J. Yates, WR Eric Weems, S Charles Godfrey, and K Matt Bryant.
That is a lot of players either coming back to Atlanta or joining the team for the first time. A lot of the signings seem to indicate that the Falcons want a considerable amount of depth at positions of weakness. Reed and Durant can hopefully fill Sean Weatherspoon's spot now that he has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, alleviating concerns about the LB position.
Other positions on the defense were likewise problematic: in particular, the Falcons had a hard time pressuring the QB. The pass rush was going to need an upgrade this offseason. Biermann, Clayborn, and Schofield are all likely players that the Falcons would like to see getting a good degree of pressure on the QB.
Though defense seemed to be the biggest problem for the Falcons last season, they also had some trouble at the TE position. Tamme and Moeaki will certainly not replace Tony Gonzalez, but I think it is safe to say that depth will help shore up a position that was key for Matt Ryan for years.
The Falcons have a fairly standard draft, maintaining their own picks all the way until the seventh round.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Round 2 - Pick 10
Round 3 - Pick 9
Round 4 - Pick 8
Round 5 - Pick 10
Round 6 - Pick 9
Round 7 - Pick 8
Round 7 - Pick 32 (from Patriots via Rams)
Thought the Falcons have done a good job of addressing some needs through free agency, I think there are a couple more positions that they might want to shore up in the draft. Guard is going to be a potential hole for them (and I don't think Mike Person is the answer). Safety is another position that the Falcons should address in the draft. Finally, resigning Antone Smith probably does not mean that they backfield is complete; look for the Falcons to draft a RB.