Falcons Still Need to Address Defensive End


Lost in all the excitement coming from Atlanta about the drafting of Missouri Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is the fact that the team still hasn’t addressed, arguably, their biggest need; Defensive End.

Weatherspoon will be able to pressure the passer but I believe his biggest strength will be as fierce tackler and playing in space i.e. coverage.

The Falcons still need a DE who can disrupt the opposing quarterback and in the words of Lawrence Taylor, “Go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs and have some fun!”

The Falcons finished 27th in sacks in 2009. They also finished 28th against the pass. Starting to see a pattern?

A pass rush is a secondary’s best friend. When you can’t put pressure on the quarterback, your corners, safeties and linebackers are in coverage for longer and that’s when bad things happen.

Look for the Falcons to address this need and we’ll discuss the options that might be available but first…

Let’s Review the Incumbents

John Abraham will be 32 years old next month but probably has another year left in the tank. He led the Falcons with 5.5 sacks last season but that’s an 11-sack dip in production from 2008. Abraham does have the highest sack/per game ratio in Falcons history. He’s averaging 0.64 sacks a game.

Jamaal Anderson has been a disappointment thus far and is one of major reasons (along with Abraham’s age and decline) the Falcons are in the market for a DE. He recorded a half-sack in 2009 and has 2.5 sacks in his career. His sack/per game ratio is 0.06. In other words it would take him 634 games to record as many sacks as Abraham did in 56.

The Rotation

Kroy Biermann had 5 sacks last season. He started two games last season and would see more time if the Falcons cut ties with Anderson before the season starts. Sack/per game ratio: 0.22.

Chauncey Davis is more of a run stuffer than a pass rusher. He did start four games last season including the final three, all Falcons wins. Sack/per game ratio: 0.11.

Lawrence Sidbury, a fourth round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft recorded his first NFL sack and first NFL touchdown in his rookie season. His sack/per game ration: 0.06.

The Candidates in the 3rd Round

Everson GriffenSouthern California
Carlos DunlapFlorida
Alex CarringtonArkansas State
Corey WoottonNorthwestern
Austen LaneMurray State
Brandon LangTroy (< --hey it's me!)
Greg HardyMississippi
Jermaine CunninghamFlorida

Do you think the Falcons will address their defensive line with one of their 3rd round picks? Or are other positions more pressing? Let me know in the comments.