FentayeJones Posted May 28, 2015 Share Posted May 28, 2015 FLOWERY BRANCH — Former NFL executive Bill Polian drafted two of the best pass rushers of the last decade in Dwight Freeney and Atlanta native Robert Mathis.Freeney was selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 2002 draft out of Syracuse. Mathis, who played at Alabama A&M and McNair High, was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 draft. Freeney has 111.5 career sacks and Mathis has 111 career sacks.Polian believes that Falcons rookie Vic Beasley will struggle his first year in the league.“Vic Beasley, obviously, was brought in to be a pass rusher,” Polian said on the Late Hits show on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. “He’ll probably struggle for the first half of the season. All rookies do. Dwight Freeney did. Robert Mathis did. Most of them do.”Beasley remains the Falcons lone unsigned draft pick, but he attended the open session of the OTAs on Tuesday. Polian gave some insight into the contract impasse between Beasley and the Falcons.“I’m pretty sure that it has to do with the guarantee of the fifth year,” Polian said. “That’s usually what the agents argue over.”Polian believes it was a good move by Beasley, who he expects to be a role player, to attend OTAs. “Missing OTAs is not a good idea for a rookie who’s going to be a role player in the first instance anyway,” Polian said. “He’s not ready to play every down in the National Football League just yet.”A caller wanted Polian to predict the Falcons’ record for 2015. The six-time executive of the year winner, who’s set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, doesn’t really do the prediction thing.However, he did offer some insights on some of the Falcons’ offseason moves.On the offense: “The area that Atlanta needed to improve was on the offensive line, which was decimated last year. At tight end, they improved marginally there with Jacob Tamme, who is very good receiver. He’s a receiving tight end.”On the running back situation: “Tevin Coleman at running back is an improvement because it gives Devonta Freeman someone who can give him a break. Terron Ward, I’m interested in seeing. That will sort itself out. As long as they stay healthy, they are pretty good (at running back).” (Ward is a undrafted rookie from Oregon State.)On the defense: “When you go to defense, that is where the biggest jump has to come. If this team is going to improve, their new coach has to install the defensive system and they have to find people who can play it. Grady Jarrett and Joey Mbu, I think were good additions. (Paul) Soliai was a good addition (in 2014). Adrian Clayborn, on balance, a good addition.” (Mbu is a undrafted rookie from Houston.)On the secondary: “For me the question marks would remain in the secondary where Jalen Collins, you hate to play a rookie at safety with a steady diet, but he may be the guy who has to go in there, given what they’ve got. At cornerback, (Robert) Alford and (Desmond) Trufant are pretty good starters. Somebody has to emerge as a nickel back. We’ll see what happens there.”Key to 2015: “If they can improve the defense over what it was last year — that’s a virtual lock because it was so bad last year that it couldn’t get any worse — if they can improve it to some degree, then they have a chance because with Matt Ryan, those running backs, Julio Jones, Roddy White, etcetera, they’ve got a pretty good offense as long as they can protect Matt Ryan.”Kind of a click-bait title to the story but a decent read.http://atlantafalcons.blog.ajc.com/2015/05/28/polian-beasley-to-struggle-as-role-playing-rookie/ Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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