Atlanta Falcons 2017 Team Needs
The Falcons surprised many folks by reaching the Super Bowl, and many more by blowing the largest lead ever in a Super Bowl game. As good as the Falcons season was it must leave the organization with a bad taste in their collective mouths, and Atlanta does not appear equipped to frequent the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl, at the moment.
Primary Needs: DL, OG, WR
Secondary Needs: LB, QB, S
Free Agency Strategy: Jonathan Babineaux, Dwight Freeney, and Courtney Upshaw are all free agents leaving some holes along the defensive line that must be filled. Philip Wheeler, Dashon Goldson, and Sean Weatherspoon are also free agents that played significant minutes on the defense. Chris Chester is the main free agent loss on the offensive side of the ball. WIth only $22.5 million in cap space currently the Falcons would need to choose one of their mid level free agents to resign and spend a little money bringing in some veteran players for the league minimum after June 1st. Given their depth at defensive end, and their need for a better pass rusher, it is not inconceivable that either Brooks Reed or Adrian Clayborn are also cut in order to free up some cap space. If the Falcons do cut Reed or Clayborn resigning Babineaux would make a lot of sense as it would make defensive tackle a secondary need.
Draft Strategy: The Falcons really need an edge rusher. Fortunately they should also be able to find one at the bottom of the first round this year. Players like Carl Lawson, Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, and Tim Williams figure to be available in that range and each could help improve the Falcons pass rush. If the Falcons want a guard at this spot then they should have their pick of the litter, with Dan Feeney being the highest rated players currently. Juju Smith-Schuster would be a nice choice at receiver, though their need at that position is not as great as along the two lines. Receiver and guard both have some value in the second round with players like receiver Cooper Kupp and guard Forrest Lamp likely to be available. Atlanta could look at add a safety in the third round where the depth at that position will be to their advantage. A player like Rudy Ford or Marcus Williams would be good value there.