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Defensive Depth Chart


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Base 4-3

RE Abraham, Biermann, Sidbury

UT Babineaux, Peters, Walker

NT Jerry, Johnson, Lewis

LE Davis, Anderson

ROLB Weatherspoon, Adkins

MLB Lofton, Peterson

LOLB Nicholas, James/Wire

RCB Grimes, Owens, Franks

LCB Robinson, Jackson, Williams

FS Decoud, Shillinger

SS Moore, Coleman

Run D

RE Davis, Abraham

UT Babineaux, Peters

NT Jerry, Johnson, Lewis

LE Anderson

Pass D

RE Biermann, Sidbury

UT Babineaux, Peters, Davis

NT Jerry, Anderson

LE Abraham, Nicholas

On the D line I see Anderson being used exclusively as a run stopping end and backup pass rushing defensive tackle. Davis will be used as our other run stopping end because we want to save Abraham for pass rushing and Biermann and Sidbury are pass rushers too small to hold the point of attack in run defense. Davis is probably capable of about 40 tackles and 5 sacks if given the opportunity but will most likely be used as a run defender and backup pass rushing DT. He may get more of a chance to rush the QB than last year. I expect Abe to bounce back from last season and put up around 10 sacks. He will also probably be our 3rd run defense end because of Biermann and Sidburys lack of size. Biermann had 2 sacks as a 240lb rookie and 5 last season and is an explosive pass rusher on the rise. The return of Jerry inside will free him up to get after QBs. Sidbury is a player in the same mold and hopefully he can show some development his 2nd year. Nicholas (LB) has gotten sacks playing DE before and could get the chance to do so again in the nickel package with the addition of Weatherspoon.

Babineax is coming off a career season with 47 hits 6 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. With all the additions around him on D I wouldnt be surprised to see him put up a 8 or 9 sack season. Jerry was looking like a player before he got hurt and I hope hes healthy so he can step in as the 2nd starting DT. I was very happy to see we grabbed a DT with our 2nd pick, it was a need with Babineaux possibly in legal/suspension trouble and Jerry coming off injury. From what Ive read Peters fits our scheme as a quick 1 gap DT. This lets Johnson be the #4 where he fits best. He was a nice surprise last season with 20 tackles, 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss after being out of the league the year before. Im very interested to see what Vance Walker can do. The year he was drafted he had 33 tackles, 3 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. But the year before that he had 45 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. I have a feeling he could emerge as a player. Lewis brings some good size if he can stay healthy.

Weatherspoon was drafted in the 1st to step in as the starting weakside LB week 1. He's going to bring energy and excitement to this defense and its going to be fun watching him and Lofton competing for tackles. LB is one of the easiest positions for a rookie to step in and make an impact (See the last 7 defensive rookie of the years) Look for Spoon to put up somewhere in the range of 90 tackles 3 sacks 2 picks and 2 forced fumbles his first year. He's going to compliment Lofton very well as a very rangy LB (but hes big and strong) who can make plays in the passing game dropping back or blitzing. Hes a freak athlete, was extremely productive in college, is a fiery leader, played through injury and lined up the D. Lofton is the rock solid anchor of the run D and Jerry and Peters will only help him. Lofton has put up Gaudy tackle numbers since coming into the league but doesnt get sacks or interceptions. **** look to develop iin this area in his 3rd season but in terms of athletically that'll never be his strong suit. Nicholas produced respectably his 1st year as a starter. The addition of Spoon may free him up to blitz or play defensive end to get after the quarterback. Peterson had a good season but at 33 you'd like to see Nicholas beat him up and have Peterson be the #4 LB. I have a feeling the staff will find a way to use all 4. Possibly having Spoon and Peterson/Nicholas as the nickel linebackers, although I know Lofton won't want to come off the field. Peterson vs Nicholas for the starting strongside LB spot should be a good competition. Adkins didn't play much as a rookie and James hasn't played. Wire may be the last LB based on his production last season.

Dunta Robinson steps in as #1 corner and solved our most glaring need. I haven't watched much of the former #10th overall pick in the 2004 draft but Dimitroff seems to like him and I've never seen him miss on a big time acquistion, certainly not one with seasons of NFL game film on them to evaluate (see Tony Gonzalez, Michael Turner). Robinson, 28, gives us an experienced athletic #1 corner who can play man coverage with #1 receivers and will come up with interceptions as well as some big hits and forced fumbles. Based on his production last year at this point Id have to say Grimes is our #2 corner (13 passes defensed, 6 interceptions) The best thing Grimes brings to the table his balll skills, which is something you love in a corner. His size concerns you though and he may be a liability in the run game as a starter. His main competition will be Chris Owens who came up with 2 interceptions as a rookie but only 2 other passes defensed. Chevis Jackson will also be in the mix though he didn't have a very productive season. Franks will likely be a special teamer this year and Williams will be depth.

At safety Decoud enjoyed a breakout season when we were all expecting Moore to step in. Decoud made the most of his opportuntiy after getting only 6 tackles his rookie year putting up 68 hits 7 passes defensed 2 sacks 2 tackles for loss 2 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions flashing the ability to be a versatile playmaker. Coleman made a lot of tackles last year but a lot of people felt he was a liability in coverage and he didnt get an interception. I'm really pulling for Moore to win the starting SS spot so Coleman can be the #3 safety. If Moore can enjoy a season anything like Decouds Ill be thrilled. On college film Moore really looked like a player.

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I don't really see any of our ends as a starter. In my mind this season we're going with a 5 end rotation and we're using all of them. Anderson offers nothing as a pass rusher and is our best run stopping end. Last year Chauncey Davis had 22 tackles 3 tackles for loss and 1 sack after being resigned after having 38 tackles and 4 sacks the season before. Maybe he didnt have as much of an oppurtunity to rush the passer last year but at 262 pounds he is realistically our 2nd best run defender. So in run situations (some 1st and 10, 2nd and 5, 2nd or 3rd and short) I see Anderson playing left end and Davis playing right end. Davis isn't necessarily the "starter", he's just our best option for right end on run downs. Abraham at 263 is probably our 3rd best run defending DE option and certainly more skilled than Anderson or Davis but he's 31 coming off a down season and we'll want to keep him fresh to put QBs on the floor on 3rd down. Biermann is coming off a breakout season but he is a player that wins with quickness. I see he's listed at 260 now after coming into the league at 240 and don't get me wrong I like him more than Davis for sure I just dont see he playing many run downs. I can see him using his burst to shoot gaps and disrupt plays and chase plays down from the backside but I see him getting washed down the line of scrimmage on run plays at him if we put ihm in that situation. Of course Id love for him to prove me wrong and emerge as a complete DE. If he can really get up to 265 while keeping his quickness that would really be impressive. At 6-3 he may have the frame to do it. I do believe Biermann is a player though. Itll be interesting to see what Sidbury can do

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No way I see Sid starting this year after having 5 tackles as a rookie. I am interested to see what he can do though. 1 of those tackles was a sack.

Biermann could start if we wanted to play a Colts kind of zone D. Biermann and Abe would be the starting ends with Babineaux and Jerry in the middle. We have the kind of talent and quickness on the D line to do it, but Lofton is probably too slow, we lose the blitzing ability of Spoon and Nicholas, the man coverage ability of Robinson and the blitzing ability of Decoud. Im very excited to see the agressive attacking D Smith get to play with this season, by far the most talented he's had in ATL

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If you mean Brian Williams starting I definately don't see it. Dimitroff or Smith said he was resigned to be the dimeback/depth. Having him starting would only impede the growth of 3rd year players Grimes, Jackson and 2nd year player Owens. Williams is also 30 and coming off injury. I see him as a backup.

Peterson could beat out Nicholas for the starting spot, he certainly won't give it up without a fight but I expect Nicholas to be even more improved after his 1st year as a starter and would love for him to beat out Peterson who's a year older. Peterson as the 4th LB and backup for all spots is good depth. I consider Peterson better than Brian Williams but I think it's very important to let our young talent on D play.

I wouldn't mind Osi but he's 29 and I wouldn't want to give up more than a 4th, if that.

Anderson won't be a "starter" in terms of playing time. The coaches know he'll never be a pass rusher. He'll play run stopping defensive end and backup pass rushing defensive tackle.

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