HC Dan Quinn has built a solid defense. The Falcons were Top 10 in yards allowed and points allowed last year. There should be some continued improvement, assuming they fill some fairly important holes that have opened up over the offseason.
Vic Beasley is returning to DE. Beasley will start across from 1st Round sophomore Takkarist McKinley. Neither Beasley or Tak will stand up as well against the run as last year’s DE1 Adrian Claybourn, but both offer considerably more sack upside. These two could easily play off each other and both could end up high end boom/bust sack artists. Given how often the Falcons DEs rotated last year, they could do with a little more depth, rather than relying on Brooks Reed and Derrick Shelby.
Atlanta will need to fill the hole left by Dontari Poe. Poe formed a formidable duo with up-and-coming Grady Jarrett. Jarrett will return next year but they don’t have anyone on the roster to replace Poe.
Deion Jones will be a stud LB for years to come. De’Vondre Campbell and 3rd Rounder Duke Riley competed for the 3-down role next to Jones prior to last season. Campbell won out and had a productive year. Beasley converting back to DE will offer more snaps for Campbell or Riley, whoever loses out on the 3-down competition this season.
The Falcons are set at CB. The trio of Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford and Brian Poole are all under contract for the next season. Trufant is solid but not quite a shutdown CB. Alford is a good #2 CB. And Poole is a former UDFA who’s become a legit starter at CB.
Atlanta is set throughout the secondary. Keanu Neal is a stud at SS. Converted CB Ricardo Allen is solid at FS. Last year’s 5th Round pick, converted CB Damontae Kazee was solid in limited action last year and will likely backup both spots.
Draft Needs – DT, DE
This defense is set at the second and third levels. Their LBs are solid. Their secondary is set. There are limited ways of improving either level. That said, they have a serious hole at DT and they could add depth at DE.
The Falcons currently own:
1st Round #26 overall
2nd Round #58 overall
3rd Round #90 overall
4th Round #126 overall
6th Round #200 overall
7th Round #244 overall
7th Round #256 overall
The Falcons need to draft a DT in the 1st Round. Maurice Hurst and Vita Vea will likely be gone by the 26th pick. Da’Ron Payne could be a good option. Harrison Phillips and Taven Bryan should also be available.
The Falcons should draft a WR to replace Taylor Gabriel. They’d be smart to spend a 2nd Rounder on WR. This means the 3rd Round could be an option for another DT or a depth DE. If Sam Hubbard drops to the 3rd Round based on his 40 time, his run defense would be a welcome addition to Atlanta’s DE corps. Da’Shawn Hand could also be an interesting prospect, playing at the edge to stop the run and moving inside on passing downs.
For more in-depth analysis of these players, you can get the 2018 Rookie Roundup for FREE and read up on the IDP relevant draft prospects.
Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for your favorite team broken down IDP style. Follow me @Ben_Glaser and let me know who you would want the Vikings or your team to draft this year!
Liked this? Check out the breakdown of the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.