Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A DE idea for Atlanta
By Tim Kavanagh
Though the Atlanta Falcons flew over their competition in the NFC South in 2012, and made it to the NFC championship game, there are clearly some areas in need of improvement as the club looks to better that result in 2013. One area foreseen as a trouble spot is defensive end.
In the "Offseason Playbook" entry for Atlanta, Gary Horton of Scouts, Inc. breaks down the problem as follows: "The Falcons have only one legitimate edge pass-rusher, John Abraham, and he is almost 35 years old and near the end of his career. What makes this need a little confusing is that [DC Mike] Nolan is talking about using more 3-4 schemes, which would mean that an athletic outside linebacker could fill this role. Look for the Falcons to find the best edge guy available and adjust their scheme to the skills of the players that they have."
They might be able to find that guy in the draft. But there's another one from elsewhere in the division that would look nice as a complement to Abraham, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Field Yates:
Field YatesOffseason Playbook: Atlanta
"General manager Thomas Dimitroff has knocked many of his personnel decisions out of the park in Atlanta, but signing defensive end Ray Edwards to a handsome free-agent deal in 2011 was one of his rare misses. But that shouldn't shy him away from pursuing a top-flight pass-rushing free agent this offseason, and the Falcons would benefit tremendously from adding Bennett, a solid fit inside their defensive scheme. Bennett, just 26, finished the 2012 season with 11.5 sacks, is stout against the run (grading seventh overall among 4-3 DE's according to Pro Football Focus' metrics) and has good vertical quickness as a rusher. Atlanta managed just 29 sacks in 2012, and in a division that features drop-back passers in Drew Brees, Josh Freeman and Cam Newton (who can also hurt a defense with his legs), pass-rushers are essential."