How do the Atlanta Falcons get back to the Super Bowl?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Defensive Outlook: Tackle

This is the biggest need for the Falcons, period. They lost Ra’Shede Hageman before the season even started. They could lose Dontari Poe and Ahtyba Rubin in free agency.

Hybrid end/tackles Adrian Clayborn and Courtney Upshaw could also be lost. Fortunately, it looks to be a very year in the draft for defensive tackles. Christian Wilkins, DaRon Payne, Vita Vea, Maurice Hurst, Derrick Nnadi, Tim Settle, Taven Bryant, among others, are all highly regarded, and would make nice compliments to Grady Jarrett.

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There are some decent options in free agency, too, like Justin Ellis, DaQuan Jones, and Jay Bromley.

Free Safety

I don’t think Atlanta is sold on Ricardo Allen (or Damontae Kazee or Brian Poole) as the long term answer at this position. It’s my understanding they took good long looks at the free safeties who went in the second round of last years draft – Budda Baker, Marcus Maye, Marcus Williams, Justin Evans, and Obi Melifonwu.

In free agency players like Morgan Burnett, Lamarcus Joyner, and Tre Boston might be good fits. The blue-chippers of the draft, Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick won’t be there for Atlanta’s pick, but prospects like Justin Reid, Terrell Edmunds, Jordan Whitehead, and DeShon Elliott would make sense on day two or early on day three.


With Jalen Collins and C.J. Goodwin now gone, depth is thin at this position after Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and Brian Poole. There’s also no big corner on the roster that one would typically associate with a Seattle-style defense.

Both the free agent and the draft class this year look good but not great at this position, so I would expect mid-level money to be spent in free agency or a day three draft pick here.