Sep 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates his touchdown in the end zone with teammate wide receiver Roddy White (84) against the New Orleans Saints during the third quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
1. Wide receivers
Think the massive trade for Julio Jones was worth it? It was risky, but it paid off. Jones is an elite receiver and will be utilized in a number of ways by new OC Kyle Shanahan.
Sep 28, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Julio Jones (11) during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
In his four years in Atlanta, Jones has caught 278 passes for 4,330 yards and 26 touchdowns. At just 26 years of age, he has plenty of years left in the tank.
The biggest concern is with his injury history, particularly the foot problem he’s dealt with in recent seasons. Despite that, Jones put the injury worries to one side in 2014 and posted career-best numbers.
Then there is the contract negotiations. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff wants to get it done sooner rather than later, but the team appears to be in no rush. This could be smart, as they will be able to gage market value with the deals Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas go onto sign.
Jones is the main target, but Roddy White still has plenty to offer, even at 33. After six straight 1,000-plus yard seasons between 2007 and 2012, he finished below 1,000 in the past two years, but was still productive (711 yards, 3 TDs in 2013; 921 yards, 7 TDs in 2014).
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Harry Douglas departed in free agency, but Justin Hardy was drafted in the fourth round. Hardy will help out in the short and intermediate pass game and will find a home in the slot.
What do you think, Falcons fans? What are the best positional units on the roster? What are the worst?