With how horrendous the Atlanta Falcons Defense played in 2013 you would think there is plenty of holes to be filled this offseason but I don’t think that’s the case. Safety, defensive end and linebacker are TD and crews main focus this offseason on defense, so here are the moves I think will turn it around at a fair price for their impact
- Thomas DeCoud –replaced by– Jairus Byrd
- Osi Umenyioura –replaced by– Jadeveon Clowney
- Stephen Nicholas –replaced by– Brian Orakpo
DeCoud had a bad season last year to say the least attributed by poor routes to ball carriers, bad tackling and horrible coverage skills. Byrd excels in pretty much every aspect of his position and while everyone seems to want a pass rush Jairus Byrd will only help that cause. His great man coverage skills would allow Nolan to send the blitz, last year the falcons were very vulnerable when putting DeCoud on a man during a blitz Quarterbacks would look for his man virtually every time he was left alone to cover. Byrd is the best safety available and I don’t see a scenario where the falcons don’t make a big push to get him.
The Second player who needs to be replaced is Osi Umenyioura. Osi expected to have a big impact on the defense last year but found himself in a situational pass rushing role by the end of the season. Not what you want from a guy set to make over 3 million dollars next season so it seems like hes another guy on the chopping block. Everyone has their own opinion of Clowney and though he may not be a once in a generation type player this guy is G.O.O.D and Atlanta needs not only immediate impact players on the defensive line but big impact players. We are only a few years removed from the draft that saw Atlanta move up into the 6th overall spot to grab Julio Jones, it would be an easier move to jump up to grab Clowney this year.
Finally with Atlanta trying to convert to the 3-4 and with 3 out of 4 of those spots taken one more guy could make that a real possibility. Enter Brian Orakpo; a high motor player who is able to get to the quarterback and more importantly stop the run. With Spoon coming back from injury and Worrilow and Bartu having another year under their belts grabbing a veteran Linebacker and converting to the 3-4 is just what this team needs. Orakpo comes with an above average price tag but with his skills and experience he could find his way into the budget.
With these moves the starting 11 will be much improved giving them a very strong secondary, an above average linebacker corps and a lot of potential on the line. Of course adding depth to the group would be important but this is my ideal situation to impact the defense. The only thing standing in the way is the salary cap and the price tags. I would love to hear everyone elses thoughts on addressing the defense this offseason.