Atlanta Falcons: Jonathan Babineaux important in rebuilding defense


As the Atlanta Falcons look to add youth to their defense in the 2015 NFL Draft, it is the experience of Jonathan Babineaux that remains crucial to the rebuild.

Vaughn McClure of ESPN believes Babineaux is still a key figure to the team moving forward. McClure wrote:

"Babineaux’s presence as a locker room leader is invaluable. The new defensive scheme to be implemented by coach Dan Quinn should allow Babineaux to show his value on the field as pass-rush contributor.“It’s going to be exciting to work with Dan this year,” Babineaux said. “I love his defensive philosophy; how guys get after the quarterback and get in the backfield and disrupt plays in the backfield. It’s going to be very exciting.”"

McClure is right. While adding talented players in the draft and developing the young players already on the roster is essential, McClure’s experience is key.

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Babineaux will turn 34-years-old early in the 2015 season, but he will still remain an important player at defensive tackle.

In his ten years with the Falcons, Babineaux has recorded 342 tackles, 60 stuffs and 25.5 sacks.

The main area of need for the Falcons is the pass-rush. The Falcons have already been active this offseason in addressing the area in free agency.

Linebackers Brooks Reed and Justin Durant were added early in free agency, and defensive ends Adrian Clayborn O’Brien Schofield followed shortly.

Oct 5, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Justin Durant (52) celebrates making a tackle in the game against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium. Dallas beat Houston 20-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

By adding an elite pass-rusher in the first-round, the pass-rush will have a new look heading into the new season.

With the eighth-overall pick, the Falcons should have options to bring in a talented pass-rusher. Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Florida’s Dante Fowler and Missouri’s Shane Ray could be options.

With all the new faces joining the Falcons, Babineaux’s leadership is essential. A new scheme will be implemented and he will be able to help younger players adjust.

As McClure writes, Quinn is excited to see how the veteran will perform in his system:

"“He’s such a unique guy in that he has such a great get-off, so I can’t wait to see what he can become,” Quinn said. “As you know, almost half of the game is played in the sub-package, probably more than that. You’ve got to feature what guys can do best. With Babs, I know he’s got that quickness. So you’ve got to try and feature him inside. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”"

With all the changes coming in Atlanta, will they be able to turn a defense that struggled so much in 2014 into a unit that can get off the field?

On offense, the Falcons have proved they can move the ball and put up points. They now need the defense to step up and help them out.

For now, it seems, the Falcons are headed in the right direction.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: 3 First-Round Targets

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