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On the Clock: Atlanta Falcons


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On the Clock: Atlanta Falcons

March 23, 2009 9:30 AM

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Team needs: Defensive line, outside linebacker, safety

Todd Kirkland/Icon

The Falcons could use some pass-rush help in the form of Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson.

Dream scenario: The Falcons already had the ultimate dream scenario last year when they hit big at quarterback (Matt Ryan), left tackle (Sam Baker) and middle linebacker (Curtis Lofton). Still, their defense wasn't that good last year and Atlanta is looking to get younger in several areas. The best way to improve a defense overall is to start with the pass rush. In that area, the Falcons, who have the 24th pick in the first round, have nothing but John Abraham. They could get him some help and score some major points with the hometown fans if they can land Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson.

Plan B: Drafting so late in the first round means the Falcons can't lock in on any one position. If Johnson or another quality pass-rusher isn't available, it will be easy for Atlanta to move in another direction. The Falcons let outside linebackers Keith Brooking and Michael Boley go through free agency. Although they brought in free agent Mike Peterson, they need another starting outside linebacker. USC's Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews could fit nicely.

Scouts Inc.'s take: "It's a defensive pick, obviously. When you're picking that late, it's the best available defensive player. Thomas Dimitroff is a Scott Pioli guy, so there's always the chance they could trade and go back a few picks if the defensive player they want is there. The one thing that kind of intrigues me is Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas. Would the Falcons take a chance on him? It's a potential-type pick, but he has the athletic ability and size to be a top-flight NFL safety. But how quick is a guy from Western Michigan going to be able to step in?" -- Jeremy Green of Scouts Inc.

Who has final say: Coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are one of the most harmonious duos in the league. They almost always come to a mutual conclusion because they're usually on the same page. But Dimitroff does have the final say if a dispute ever arises.

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I hate to agree with Mort but i do believe that allot of things that we did on Defense was smoke and mirror.......Ive look at atleast 8 games from last season and i saw allot of big plays (throwing deep) that our opponents could have made but didnt..... That Tampa Bay game was full of deep plays...... The major was our pass rush..... The pass rush was never consistent on both sides..... Abe did his thing but the other side was M.I.A....... The Minor was Lawyer Milloy..... Lawyer laid down the big hits on run plays but on passing plays it was like our Defense was playing with only 10 guys on the field...... I honestly feel like that if we can leave this draft with a Pass Rushing DE and a Cover 2 Safety, Our Defense will be good next year....... We are not hurting as bad as some think we are.....

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So they say we will probably take a DT, S, OLB,or a CB , Great news but we may shock some people and take a DE. Hah!!! we could shock by taking a hybrid DE/OLB like English or Barwin who also can play OLB/DE/TE , and play all three very well. Conner could be the real shocker and I would love the pick of either of these 2 players.

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So they say we will probably take a DT, S, OLB,or a CB , Great news but we may shock some people and take a DE. Hah!!! we could shock by taking a hybrid DE/OLB like English or Barwin who also can play OLB/DE/TE , and play all three very well. Conner could be the real shocker and I would love the pick of either of these 2 players.

You are right, i think that alot of people on the MB are going to be shocked too. The one Analyst that had a little bit of a clue was Mel Kiper(maybe he just got luckly), he first had us taking English, then switched it to Micheal Johnson.

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