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A much too early look at 2017 positional Falcon needs


g-dawg
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OK, the majority of moves for 2016 are in the books with the guts of free agency now over and the draft concluded.  Clearly the Falcons improved on the following:

  • starting center who is perenial pro-bowler (free agency - Alex Mack)
  • found a few bodies to put in the 3rd down passrush rotation (free agency - Derrick Shelby & Adrian Clayborn)
  • upgraded #2 WR (free agency - Mohammad Sanu)
  • found starting strong safety (draft - 1st round/Keanu Neal)
  • found starting linebacker (draft - 2nd round/Deion Jones - not sure yet if WLB or MLB)
  • found a developmental/rotational linebacker (draft - 4th round/DeVondre Campbell - WLB or MLB)
  • found a rotational TE that will eventually be starter (draft - 3rd round - Austin Hooper)

So the good news is we did fill some holes and should be a better team in 2016 if key pieces stay healthy (of course our schedule is tougher so record-wise we could be worse and still be better on field).

As the title suggests, this is a "much too early" look at 2017.   Here is how I see it on our likely needs at the end of the year:

Myles%20Garrett

  1. Passrush - While I think the Falcons will be better in passrush in 2016 (how could they be worse?) we still don't have enough guys that can "get home".  While better coverage on running backs and tight end with Deion Jones and Keanu Neal might help, that is not the solution to the Falcons passrushing woes.  Kayoh keeps saying that 2017 passrushing crop is better than this years - I hope he is right.   Everyone wants the beast of a passrusher from Texas A&M (Myles Garrett) but he is most likely a top 5 selection.   Regardless,  whether it be in free agency or draft, the Falcons MUST find a passrusher next year.
  2. Interior Offensive Line - Falcons definitely got better with the addition of Alex Mack, but he will be 31 years old at the end of the upcoming season.  Levitre needs to be replaced at Left Guard and Person/Chester will need to be replaced at Right Guard.    I know a lot of folks are high on Wes Schweitzer but I would not hold my breath that he is the answer.   Falcons need multiple - as in two - upgrades to these positions next year.
  3. Linebacker Until I see that we are getting good linebacker play, it is still a need.  I see Campbell as a project and Deion Jones as a guy that will likely start but take his lumps his rookie year while he learns the NFL game.   If we can add another talented guy to the linebacking corps, that would be ideal.
  4. Wide Receiver - I am still not convinced Sanu is going to be the weapon we want him to be.  Right now the Falcons are overly reliant on Julio Jones and I am worried we are going to overuse him.  Sanu was a down payment on help for Julio but I see Justin Hardy as more of a role player/#4 WR type.   I believe the Falcons need another weapon that can be featured in the receiving corps opposite Julio - someone w/ speed and size.
  5. Defensive Tackle - this need could move up or down depending on the play of Rashede Hageman and Grady Jarrett.   2016 is likely Jonathan Babineaux's last year and who knows about Joey Mbu at this point.    Regardless of the development of the young guys, we will need another body.
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I'd add cornerback. Alford's a free agent next year, Collins is an unknown quantity who's already been tagged for the league's substance abuse policy, and we don't have a lot going on after that. Trufant is a rock star and should be with us for a while, but we don't have a lot else going on.

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Agree with post.  Edge pass rush and OG are the most glaring needs in my opinion.  Lb core need to be flushed out, who plays where and when.  Question on DL, who steps up, whose done. And although not as a dire need like those posted, I would add TE and FS as positions that need to be observed and evaluated.

 Still a lot of questions. Hopefully some of the answers are all ready on the roster. I think next offseason will be another one where we will have to target several positions. Hopefully not as many as this year, as I hope a few players all ready on the roster step up....but until they do...its still a need.

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Too early for next year. A lot will be based on the way our sophmores step up. Jarrett, Beasley and Collins/King in particular. Their play makes or breaks our top needs directly (DT, CB, Edge). If Beasley breaks out (like I think he will) and Shelby is as good as many people think he can be, the outside may be in good shape, and just need some depth.

Either way we will need DT help. Babs is older and deal is coming up, Jackson will be a cap cut almost guaranteed. The question is do we need depth behind Babs and Jarrett, or do we need a starter? I really wish we would have gotten a DT this year with such a deep draft. We could have given ourselves a nice insurance policy in round 3 or 4.

Another immediate need may be FS, as Allen is on his ERFA tag, and if he isn't playing elite, he will likely be upgraded.

OG is another position that could be a center of attention next season.

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I'd add a Free Safety into the mix as well. While Ricardo Allen has been okay, we could do with an upgrade. It's not a huge need given the other positions that you listed, but I think that getting that Earl Thomas-type to pair with Keanu will be on DQ's radar next season. 

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I could very well see a FS in round 1 if the right guy is there. It is one of the most important positions in the scheme. That is why I was really hoping we could get Karl Joseph this year. I liked him at 17, but didn't expect him to go before then (though I knew he would go round 1 and be the top S drafted)

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I know you said way too early but that's honestly where it should have stopped. Not trying to be offensive but literally the answers that I'm seeing all start with some form of "it depends on...." "if this" or "if that."

Essentially there's too many ifs to have the discussion but I know this is a boredom post so carry on. Lol.

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1 hour ago, 1989Fan said:

I could very well see a FS in round 1 if the right guy is there. It is one of the most important positions in the scheme. That is why I was really hoping we could get Karl Joseph this year. I liked him at 17, but didn't expect him to go before then (though I knew he would go round 1 and be the top S drafted)

As of right now, Auburn's Rudy Ford is the top rated FS in the nation.  He was Auburn's leading tackler last year.  I posted him above, #23.

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Right now, we cant really guarantee that Schraeder or Alford (although I think its probable) will be extended, so I see OT and CB as potential needs,

OG is still concern with Chester on a one year deal and with the jury still out on Person.

This is likely Babs' last season so I can see us going DT at some point.I can see us drafting a DE next year also.

We also have 3 LBs on one year deals (Spoon, Wheeler, Worrilow), so don't be surprised if we go LB again next year.

Of course all of this is contingent on who gets re-signed and what we do in FA.

 

Edited by FentayeJones
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15 minutes ago, ATLFalcons11 said:

I know you said way too early but that's honestly where it should have stopped. Not trying to be offensive but literally the answers that I'm seeing all start with some form of "it depends on...." "if this" or "if that."

Essentially there's too many ifs to have the discussion but I know this is a boredom post so carry on. Lol.

I can tell you now with about 80% certainty that pass rush will be our #1 need.

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1 hour ago, direwolf said:

I'd add cornerback. Alford's a free agent next year, Collins is an unknown quantity who's already been tagged for the league's substance abuse policy, and we don't have a lot going on after that. Trufant is a rock star and should be with us for a while, but we don't have a lot else going on.

I agree. I've been mentioning the huge possibility of Alford leaving and have been told by the usuals that he won't price himself out of town and likely won't see himself as a #1 corner. Who in their competitive mind wouldn't think they should be the #1 guy? 

For 2 consecutive consecutive off seasons we've heard allows say too many times that he's willing to do whatever is asked of him. That makes me assume that beginning last season he was already told that he was gonna be the teams nickel back assuming Collins would have been a hit. Fortunately for him Collins didn't do as Quinn expected but at the end of the day, Collins is Quinn's guy. 

Even if they sign Leon hall right now, next year corner will still most likely be a position that needs to be addressed seriously 

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Just now, mdrake34 said:

They're both pure speculation. 

I've watched Falcons my whole life.  We have not had two good passrushers since the one year we had Patrick Kerney and John Abraham both together in 2006  - that was 9 seasons ago.

Saying the Falcons #1 need is passrusher - it is not really speculation - if Matt Ryan or Jake Matthews went down with a career ender, that would be the only way I see passrush not being the #1 need.

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1 minute ago, g-dawg said:

I've watched Falcons my whole life.  We have not had two good passrushers since the one year we had Patrick Kerney and John Abraham both together in 2006  - that was 9 seasons ago.

Saying the Falcons #1 need is passrusher - it is not really speculation - if Matt Ryan or Jake Matthews went down with a career ender, that would be the only way I see passrush not being the #1 need.

I've watched the Falcons my whole life too.  There are plenty of scenarios in which pass rush is not our #1 priority next offseason, none of which involve career ending injuries to Matt or Jake. 

Despite popular consensus to the contrary, the pass rush could improve.  Alf may walk.  Schraeder may walk. We don't know, because we haven't even had rookie mini-camp yet.

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6 minutes ago, mdrake34 said:

I've watched the Falcons my whole life too.  There are plenty of scenarios in which pass rush is not our #1 priority next offseason, none of which involve career ending injuries to Matt or Jake. 

Despite popular consensus to the contrary, the pass rush could improve.  Alf may walk.  Schraeder may walk. We don't know, because we haven't even had rookie mini-camp yet.

The passrush could improve?

Of course the passrush will improve - it cannot be worse than last year - that is impossible - the passrush will improve this year - there can be no doubt about that - it was almost historic how bad the passrush was last year.  Improvement is not expected, it is pre-ordained.

We have Vic Beasley(24) who is being moved to more of a LB position.

We have added Derrick Shelby(27) who is more of a hybrid DE/DT - more of a rotational defender

We have an older 28 year old Adrian Clayborn re-signed to a 2 year deal - more of a rotational defender

 

The Falcons don't really have a young passrusher that appears to have any type of dynamic game outside of Vic Beasley.      Yeah, I feel highly confident that this time next year it will be a large consensus the Falcons #1 need will be a passrusher.

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I LOL every time someone says we need to upgrade a position to get an "elite" player. There's a reason people call them elite players- there's very few of them. A team is lucky to have 1-3 elite players max. Also, to get an elite player you usually have to be drafting top 10 AND guess right or get totally lucky somewhere else in the draft and develop that player.

 

If you have an above average player at every position, then by definition you will have a VERY good team. So really, that should be the goal. Mix in a couple studs and you have a Super Bowl team.

 

We're lucky that we actually do have several elite players already. All we need to do is upgrade the rest of the roster to "above average"

Ricardo Allen played well and has a very good chance to be "above average". Trying to replace him with an "Earl Thomas"-type is not only delusional, but a waste of resources. 

I really think if we get the crap off the field (worrilow, person not snapping, Reed, etc) we will be fine. 

Finally, to get a good pass rush, Beasely just needs some good help, not Von Miller. Also, not sure how Lawson is so amazing when some people are saying Dodd will be better...

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5 minutes ago, NeonDeion said:

Finally, to get a good pass rush, Beasely just needs some good help, not Von Miller. Also, not sure how Lawson is so amazing when some people are saying Dodd will be better...

these kind of statements above^^^^^   are annoying.

There is a HUGE gap between say Adrian Clayborn and Von Miller.  I'm personally fine w/ the Keanu Neal pick but the Falcons are going to have to add more talent at Defensive End next year.

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55 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

The passrush could improve?

Of course the passrush will improve - it cannot be worse than last year - that is impossible - the passrush will improve this year - there can be no doubt about that - it was almost historic how bad the passrush was last year.  Improvement is not expected, it is pre-ordained.

We have Vic Beasley(24) who is being moved to more of a LB position.

We have added Derrick Shelby(27) who is more of a hybrid DE/DT - more of a rotational defender

We have an older 28 year old Adrian Clayborn re-signed to a 2 year deal - more of a rotational defender

 

The Falcons don't really have a young passrusher that appears to have any type of dynamic game outside of Vic Beasley.      Yeah, I feel highly confident that this time next year it will be a large consensus the Falcons #1 need will be a passrusher.

You say "poh-tay-toe," I say Beasley will have 8-10 sacks this year. :rolleyes:

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