Falcons Draft Preview

Matt Ryan

The Falcons were active this off-season but still have big needs going into the NFL Draft.

Atlanta Falcons
2014 draft picks:
1st round (6), 2(37), 3(68), 4(103), 4(139), 5(147), 6(182), 7(220), 7(253), 7(255)

The Falcons were a huge disappoint in 2013. Then again, Atlanta was besieged by injuries to some of their top players. Still, Mike Smith only managed four wins. That's on the opposite end of their Super Bowl expectations.

There will be an enormous amount of pressure on this franchise to bounce back in a very big way this fall and winter, as they have to get back on the winning track… or else.

For the first time in a while, Atlanta finds itself inside the top 10 in the first round and they have picks in each round totaling 10 in all. A lot of help should be on its way to the Falcons via the draft.

Team Needs
1. Offensive Line

Atlanta is in prime position to land an elite talent at offensive tackle in Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews or Taylor Lewan. In all likelihood, two could still be on the board when it's their turn at No. 6. If for some reason they go in another direction with their first pick, the Falcons have to address this position in round two or three. That's not the only hole on their offensive front. Atlanta could use another guard and even center. Quarterback Matt Ryan is a pocket passer and the Falcons have to do a better job in pass pro. Ryan is who makes the Falcons fly.

2. Defensive Line
It's simple, Atlanta must do a better job rushing the quarterback. It's starts on the edge at defensive end. The Falcons have long been rumored to be aggressive and try and trade up into the top three, hoping to land defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or outside linebacker Khalil Mack. Either one of those players could jump start their pass rush. The price tag for trading up could be too much. If that's the case and they sit tight, there are an abundance of edge guys that can do the job. At some point next weekend they also need to add a body inside, if nothing else to provide depth in their defensive tackle rotation.

3. Tight End
At some point in time Atlanta has to address the tight end position. Tony Gonzalez is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play the position. He showed how important the position is to Ryan and the passing game. Atlanta did draft Levine Toilolo last May but they need another from this draft.

4. Running Back
The Falcons could never get Steven Jackson going last season. He got hurt early and never really caught his stride in this offense. Atlanta needs to look at the deep pool of running backs in this draft class and go get their guy.

Acquisitions
Jon Asamoah (OG)
Gabe Carimi (OG)
Paul Soliai (NT)
Tyson Jackson (DL)
Josh Wilson (CB)
Javier Arenas (CB)
Devin Hester (KR)

No Longer with the Team
Jason Snelling (RB)
Bradie Ewing (FB)
Tony Gonzalez (TE)
Garrett Reynolds (OG)
Stephen Nicholas (OLB)
Thomas Decoud (S)
Asante Samuel (CB)

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