Do the Atlanta Falcons need to add one more piece to complete their championship puzzle? Let’s take a look.
Using Scout.com as a resource, I took a look at the top 50 free agent prospects and focused only on the unrestricted free agents on the list. There were six.
Hit the jump to see which players are available and which players the Falcons would be wise to take a chance on.
Scout Rank – #20
This has been covered by our own Lee Tollison before but it’s worth mentioning again. Owens is winding down a tremendous career. Despite all the drama, he’s my number three receiver of all-time behind only Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison. The question remains: what does he have left to offer? His numbers have declined the past two seasons but you can’t question his durability – he’s played every game the last two seasons and actually out-performed the Falcons current number two, Michael Jenkins. Interest has been next to nothing though and sometimes the writing’s on the wall.
Consensus: He doesn’t fit the attitude of the Falcons organization and would be a one-year stopgap at the expense of Harry Douglas and Kerry Meier’s maturation process. I’ll pass.
Scout Rank -#26
Bulluck is another aging star similar to Owens. Since 2000 when Bulluck entered the league only three outside linebackers have been more dominant (Derrick Brooks, Joey Porter, Lance Briggs). Bulluck, in my opinion, would be the Falcons best outside linebacker if he signed. He’s a year younger than Mike Peterson and has outplayed him the past two seasons. His interest, however, appears to be with the Titans and Giants.
Consensus: Another bad fit. The Falcons will undergo a youth movement in 2011 and have their sights set on a Sean Weatherspoon-Curtis Lofton-Stephen Nicholas linebacking corp. Bulluck would provide value now, but it’s not a need.
Scout Rank – #35
Wow, no wonder these guys are still free agents – they are old. 2010 would be Mawae’s 17th season but he has still performed at a high level. Since 2008, he’s outperformed the Falcons incumbent, Todd McClure. Mawae is one of the top five centers of all-time and the Hall of Fame awaits his arrival. He’ll likely latch on with a team this year but don’t look for him to be teammates with Albert Haynesworth anytime soon.
Consensus: McClure is solid and bringing in Mawae doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. You have to figure Atlanta is grooming Joe Hawley to take over snapping duties when McClure hangs it up.
Scout Rank – #36
Pitts started every game for the Houston Texans for seven straight seasons until a knee injury erased all but two games from the 2009 season. He says his knee is fully healed but he’s already 31 years old and a lineman with bad knees is not considered a positive.
Consensus: With Justin Blalock and Harvey Dahl, the Falcons are set at guard. Newcomer Mike Johnson solidifies that position and further eliminates the need to sign Pitts.
ADEWALE OGUNLEYE/CHARLES GRANT
Scout Rank – #45/#47
We get a two-for-one here on the defensive end front. We all know John Abraham is locked in at one end spot but the other position is still very much up in the air. I love Jamaal Anderson as a run-stuffer but his pass rushing skills are non-existent. Chauncey Davis, Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury all have a shot with Biermann appearing to have the inside track.
Consensus: My pick, and the move I hope the Falcons make, is Ogunleye. He could come in and start right away opposite Abraham and provide a bookend pass rush the Falcons lacked in 2009. It also provides a great springboard for next year’s draft which appears to be DE-heavy. I don’t think Grant fits, but Ogunleye makes sense and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is wearing a Falcons jersey come August.