theProf Posted May 7, 2015 Share Posted May 7, 2015 Scouting the enemy: Did Atlanta close the gap?By durst on May 6, 2015, 4:00pAtlanta has the need for speed. They showed that during the 2015 NFL Draft, when their first three picks were among the fastest players at their position.Prior to the start of free-agency, ProfootballFocus graded 16 of the Falcons' projected starters as poor to average, and gave "very good" or"elite" grades to only quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones, and corner Desmond Trufant.In Rotoworld's post-season roster ranking, they ranking Atlanta just 22nd, which was probably better than their 2014 record would suggest. They noted, the 2014 Falcons ranked 31st in the NFL in sacks (22) and 30th in Football Outsiders'pass-rush metric. They suggested that RB, Center, and TE were also area of need.While the Falcons were active in free agency, none of their signings look like significant improvements at their top four to five positions of need. The draft, however, is where they knocked it out of the park.Falcons 2015 Draft:Pick #8 - Vic Beasley (OLB, Clemson)Beasley has the kind of motor seldom found in front-seven defenders. His speed was evident at the NFL Combine, where he ran a blistering 4.53 40-yard dash — the best time of any D-lineman. Beasley's speed is also visible on tape. Beasley is a strong candidate for the LEO position, an hybrid OLB/DE.Pick #42 - Jalen Collins (CB, LSU)Robert Alford has shown flashes in his first two years, but hasn’t been consistent enough that you can put your faith in him as a starter. Meanwhile, Collins is an inexperienced (just 10 career starts) height/weight/speed guy, who reportedly failed "multiple" drug tests in college. Last season, Collins allowed just 18 receptions all season long and though he only had one interception he did break up seven passes. New Falcons' head coach Dan Quinn loves big corners, and at nearly 6'2/203 Collins ran well at the NFL Combine, including a 4.48 sec 40 time.Pick #73 - Tevin Coleman (RB, Indiana)Coleman underwent post-season surgery on his right big toe and didn't work out until an April 15 Pro Day, where Coleman ran 4.39. Per Profootball focus, Coleman was the only RB in the class to average four yards AFTER contact per rush. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution projects Tevin Coleman as 1A on the depth chart with 2014 rookie RB, Devonta Freeman as 1B.Pick #107 - Justin Hardy (WR, East Carolina)Atlanta lost third wideout, Harry Douglas in free agency but replaced him with Hardy, who is the FBS record holder for most receptions in NCAA history (387). Lack of size/speed limits him to slot-only.Pick #137 - Grady Jarrett (DT, Clemson)Possibly the steal of the draft. I had him as an early seconder. Jarrett is an undersized, one-gapping defensive tackle that is best suited to a 4-3 defense where he will be able to cause havoc as a pass rusher and in the run game.Pick #225 - Jake Rodgers (OT, Eastern Washington)Was a starter at Washington State before transferring to EWU, where he became an FCS All-American tackle. He's a developmental prospect with upside.Pick #249 - Akeem King (S, San Jose State)Reportedly ran a 4.43 40 at his Pro Day, and posted a 37.5-inch vertical. Path to making team will be dependent on special teams.Falcons strengths:1. The Matt Ryan (4,694 yards passing) to Julio Jones (104 catches, 1,593 yards) connection is difficult to stop.2. Collins, Trufant, and William Moore look to be two-thirds of an excellent secondary.Unfilled holes remaining:1. TE - Where the Falcons will try to piece together spare parts Levine Toilolo, Tony Moeaki, and Jacob Tamme.2. Offensive line - despite having invested two first round picks on offensive tackles (Baker and Matthews), the Falcons annually field one of the worst offensive lines in the league.3. Free safety - With improvements in the front seven expected, the Falcons' biggest hole on defense is at free safety, where Dezmen Southward and Charles Godfrey are expected to man the "Earl Thomas position" in Gus Bradley's defense.The Falcons appear to have more frosting than cake, but certainly have some exciting pieces to work with. The optimism that accompanied Gus Bradley's hire at Jacksonville a few seasons ago should serve as caution to Falcons fans thinking that Dan Quinn will quickly turn around the Falcons' defense. While Beasley brings Bruce Irvin potential, he is still the only real pass-rush threat on the team, and offensive coaches can scheme around that. I predict an 8-8 record, and third-place finish in the NFC South.http://www.catscratchreader.com/2015/5/6/8557729/scouting-the-enemy-did-atlanta-close-the-gap Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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