Atlanta Falcons: What do a Safety, Kicker, and Quarterback have in common?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit ranks safety, kicker and quarterback as the top-three needs for the Atlanta Falcons in the draft that follows this season

What is it that a safety, kicker and quarterback have in common for the Atlanta Falcons? Well, according to’s Lance Zierlein, they’re the top 3 needs for the Falcons to address this offseason.

I’m normally a fan of Zierlein and’s other draft analysts (especially Mike Mayock, Charles Davis, Daniel Jeremiah, and Bucky Brooks), but I’ve got pretty strongly disagree with this analysis.

Ranking safety, especially a free safety, as a top need I understand. Ricardo Allen has been solid but not spectacular there since being converted from cornerback by Dan Quinn after his rookie season. There’s a reason why the Falcons experimented with Brian Poole at free safety during the preseason. There’s a reason why they drafted Damontae Kazee and converted him from cornerback to free safety. There were a number of true free safeties  – Budda Baker, Marcus Maye, Marcus Williams, Obi Melifonwu, Justin Evans – that Atlanta was rumored to be considering with their second round pick last April.

Having quarterback and kicker so high baffles, me, though. Matt Ryan is the defending Most Valuable Player. He likely has another five years or so, at the least, left in his career. He’s been exceptionally durable, missing only two games as a pro. Yes, Matt Schaub will be a free agent at the end of the year, but getting a backup quarterback isn’t a top need. By the same token, even if Matt Bryant does hang it up after this season, you don’t spend huge money in free agency or spend a high draft pick on a kicker (ask the Tampa Bay Buccaneers how well that worked out).

As I’ve mentioned in other articles in the past, I believe defensive tackle will be the biggest need for the Falcons after this year. They’ve already cut Ra’Shede Hageman after he was suspended by the league, and he was an upcoming free agent anyway. Dontari Poe will be a free agent at season’s end, as will Courtney Upshaw, Joe Vellano, Taniela Tupou, and Adrian Clayborn — an end who kicks inside to  tackle in certain situations. The only true defensive tackle who will be under contract at season’s end will be Grady Jarrett.

Next: Will The Falcons Win A Super Bowl In Your Lifetime?

I’m not saying replacing Schaub and Bryant, if necessary, aren’t needs. Just saying they’re not Top-Three needs. I’d obviously rank defensive tackle higher, and given potential free agent losses, I’d also rank offensive line and wide receiver/kick returner as positions of higher priority than kicker and backup quarterback.