Sponge Posted June 24, 2015 Share Posted June 24, 2015 Addition of pass-rusher Vic Beasley gives Atlanta Falcons solid offseason grade Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writerhttp://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14045/addition-of-pass-rusher-vic-beasley-helps-give-atlanta-falcons-solid-offseason-grade Video in linkWith offseason workouts and minicamps in the rearview mirror and training camps a few weeks away, we assess the Atlanta Falcons' offseason moves and assign a letter grade in the video above. Best move: Drafting pass-rusher Vic Beasley. The first-round pick from Clemson has the speed off the edge the Falcons sorely need after struggling to generate much of a pass rush the past few seasons. Beasley will play the Leo pass-rusher role, which should put him in best position to win his one-on-one matchups, although teams will figure out quickly he'll need to be double-teamed or chipped. There might be some growing pains -- as with any rookie -- but Beasley should thrive in coach Dan Quinn's attacking, aggressive defensive scheme. Having other capable pass-rushers such as O'Brien Schofield and Adrian Clayborn now in the lineup should help Beasley's cause. Riskiest move: The Falcons didn't upgrade the offensive line as much as they could have with the additions of veterans Chris Chester, Mike Person and Tyler Polumbus, along with rookie seventh-round draft pick Jake Rodgers and former Seattle Seahawk Jared Smith. Of that group, Chester looks like the only legit starter at age 32, and he's known more for his run blocking than his past protection. Depth could be an issue, particularly if the Falcons experience a rash of injuries similar to last season. They've already cut ties with one former starter in left tackle Sam Baker and could with another in Lamar Holmes, who is recovering from a broken foot. No matter how things align once the season begins, second-year left tackle Jake Matthews, coming off January foot surgery, has to be the anchor and play far better than he did during his injury-plagued rookie season. On the offensive: Of course, the Falcons' main priority is fixing a broken defense, and there should be drastic improvement from a team that surrendered a league-worst 398.3 yards per game last season. From an offensive perspective, don't discount the addition of veteran tight end Jacob Tamme. He looked phenomenal in shorts this offseason, and his savvy play could be a true complement to Julio Jones in the passing game. Yes, the Falcons and new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan continue to preach balance with a potentially potent running game, led by Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman. However, you can't handcuff a strong pocket passer such as Matt Ryan, particularly if he has the weapons in front of him. He's not Tony Gonzalez, but Tamme could be the tight end threat the Falcons sorely missed last season. Training camp outlook: Quinn promised to create a competitive atmosphere at practice. Such should be the case as Freeman and Coleman battle for the top running back spot, as Robert Alford tries to prove he belongs outside at corner instead of moving inside in favor of rookie Jalen Collins, and as veteran receiverRoddy White attempts to have a revival season, with impressive newcomer Leonard Hankerson lurking. Also, it should be interesting to see how unheralded players such as right tackle Ryan Schraeder and free safety Ricardo Allenperform as they tried to show themselves worthy of starting positions. Lastly, veterans Clayborn, Schofield, and Hankerson all signed one-year "prove it" deals coming off either major injuries or injury concerns, so all three should have an added edge. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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