A year after nearly making it to the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons regressed considerably and suffered through an injury-riddled 4-12 season in 2014.
It’s safe to say no one saw that coming, but Atlanta is in a really good spot this offseason to load up their roster with high draft picks and if they can stay healthy, they could set themselves up for a really good future if they nail a few of these picks.
The core of this team starts with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, one of which was inconsistent last year and the other suffered a season-ending injury. The Falcons need to invest in protecting Ryan with the best talent possible, and they got started this offseason by signing Chiefs guard Jon Asomoah and former first round bust Gabe Carimi to hopefully compete on the offensive interior.
Atlanta has plenty of needs and was 4-12 this past season for a reason, but in the NFC South you can count on another worst to first season pretty much every year. The Falcons have to nail this year’s draft and they can be right back in Super Bowl contention.
- LB Stephen Nicholas (released)
- CB Asante Samuel (released)
- OG Garrett Reynolds (released)
- RB Jason Snelling (retired)
- TE Tony Gonzalez (retired)
- S Thomas DeCoud (released)
- OG Gabe Carimi (Buccaneers)
- DT Corey Peters (re-signed)
- OT Mike Johnson (re-signed)
- DT Jonathan Babineaux (re-signed)
- C Joe Hawley (re-signed)
- DT Tyson Jackson (Chiefs)
- NT Paul Soliai (Dolphins)
- OG Jon Asomoah (Chiefs)
- CB/RS Javier Arenas (Chiefs)
- DT Peria Jerry (re-signed)
1. Pass Rusher
The Falcons would covet either Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack with their first round pick I would imagine, and it’s possible neither will be there. Atlanta has other pressing needs but none more so than this. They are moving to a 3-4 look defensively, or at least you would assume that by the offseason acquisitions of Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai, so getting an edge rusher this offseason that fits their scheme is absolutely critical.
2. Offensive Tackle
Sam Baker was not good in his first year after signing a huge deal in free agency. The Falcons aren’t going to look to replace him but they could find a player in this draft–possibly with the 6th overall pick–that could play RT and eventually push Baker out of a starting job.
3. Running Back
Steven Jackson isn’t getting any younger, and wasn’t a superstar in his first year in Atlanta anyway. The Falcons could find a back in the middle rounds of this draft that could eventually wind up being a featured player a year or two down the road.
5. Wide Receiver