Falcons: Dan Quinn and Rebuilding the Front Seven
Oct 12, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
With proper emphasis and smart signings, the Falcons can make a drastic turnaround to their defense. It won’t be easy and they will have to make compromises at some positions. They’re paying their quarterback $20M while Russell Wilson isn’t even making $1M. However, the Falcons don’t need an all-time great defense. A top-12 defense which can make stops and get off the field should be more than enough. I do believe that is possible to accomplish this offseason. We’ve recently seen the Texans and Saints finish in the bottom-3 prior to entering the offseason before finishing the ensuing regular season in the top-5.
The following table lists the 4-3 under positions, and the star FA the Falcons can get or a cheaper option.
The Falcons obviously won’t be able to upgrade every position but I do think they’ll upgrade at 3 positions in FA and also at 2 in the draft. My money would be on McPhee, an attacking SAM (e.g. Orakpo) and a LB (e.g. Spoon) in FA and they will draft their Leo or Ace with the 1st and then look for a LB on day 2 while getting interior depth on day 3. For clarity, we’ll assume Randy Gregory and Paul Dawson are Falcons in this scenario.
They could settle for a traditional LB instead, freeing them up for Brandon Graham as the pass rushing ace and then use the 1st round pick on a SAM/Leo.
Both scenarios would be welcome upgrades to the poor front sevens the Falcons have trotted out over the last two seasons.