We continue our “Falcons 50” countdown with a look at the Atlanta Falcons’ top offseason moves of 2016. Falcons football is just 28 days away. You can follow along with the full countdown here.
Falcons top offseason moves: #3 Adding versatility on defense
A static defense is against Dan Quinn’s vision. Quinn wants players who can light up the backfield on one play and sink into coverage on another. One position isn’t enough, and Atlanta’s 2016 defense will feature a number of moving parts.
Perhaps the most intriguing is second-year Vic Beasley. For the Falcons to climb the ladder defensively, Beasley must too accelerate his development. The former eighth-overall pick must adjust to his position switch, now operating at linebacker in the base defense.
Quinn wants to put Beasley in a prime position to succeed. Explosion off the snap and using speed to hurry the quarterback is his biggest strength, which is what he will do in sub-packages. His role will vary in the base defense, increasing his importance to the entire unit.
Beasley isn’t the only Falcon on the move.
Along the defensive line, Ra’Shede Hageman will spend time at defensive end. Tyson Jackson goes the other way, currently listed as a defensive tackle starter. Free agent addition Courtney Upshaw will try his luck in the front four, transitioning from linebacker.
Quinn sees Robert Alford fit best at nickelback, another example of maximizing a player’s skill set and lining them up where they are ideally suited.
Following Jalen Collins‘ selection in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Alford looked destined for the slot. Collins is yet to meet expectations, but Quinn feels it’s time to put Alford where he will operate at his optimum level.
Elite defenses attack in waves and in various ways.
Versatility is key, the next stage in Quinn’s defensive rebuild.