Atlanta Falcons: Pass rush isn’t their biggest need anymore


Heading into the 2016 offseason the Atlanta Falcons’ biggest need was obvious.

What they needed to address first and foremost was their pass rush, but a week and a half removed from the free agency period opening, it isn’t their top priority anymore.

The Falcons signed defensive end Derrick Shelby to a 4-year contract worth $18 million and re-signed Adrian Clayborn to a 2-year contract worth $9 million. While those two plays won’t completely fix the Falcons’ woeful sack numbers, they should bring a lot more to the table paired with Vic Beasley for the upcoming season.

What is now the Falcons’ biggest need is the outside linebacker position. The Falcons currently have just two outside linebackers under contract. Brooks Reed at this point will be Atlanta’s starting strong side linebacker but their weak side starter is in shambles at this point in time.

More from Blogging Dirty

Atlanta signed fan-favorite linebacker

Sean Weatherspoon

to a 1-year deal but his actual role with the team is unknown. Weatherspoon himself said that he doesn’t know what his role will be and isn’t expecting much. One thing is clear. If Weatherspoon is the opening day starter, Atlanta will be in big trouble.

Weatherspoon can not stay healthy. He hasn’t played a full season in over four years and hasn’t been a starter in that span either. Weatherspoon signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 and was injured most of the season. When healthy, he didn’t start.

So it’s pretty obvious what the Falcons’ biggest need is. They fixed their center issues, they have added a couple of pass rushers and they agreed to terms with Paul Worrilow on a 1-year tender deal. They have a vacant spot at the strong safety position as well, but with an able body on the roster in Kemal Ishmael who has seen playing time, that isn’t going to be their top priority.

There is a strong possibility that the Falcons will use their first-round pick on a weak side linebacker. One of the top options in the first would be Ohio State’s Darron Lee. Lee to the Falcons is starting to pick up steam and should continue as we inch closer to the draft.

Here is a list of their biggest needs heading into the 2016 draft.

  • Weak side linebacker
  • Strong safety
  • Defensive end
  • Offensive guard
  • Wide receiver/Tight end

Next: Five second-round options for the Atlanta Falcons

Stay tuned to Blogging Dirty for all the latest Atlanta Falcons draft news and analysis. Click here to join the conversation on Twitter with the staff.