The Atlanta Falcons have made moves this offseason to address key needs on both sides of the ball. However, not all issues were fixed and there are key positions left that need to be addressed.
This offseason, the Atlanta Falcons brought in a pass rusher in Dante Fowler and elevated their rushing attack by adding Todd Gurley as well. While these two guys will steal the headlines as far as player acquisitions, the Atlanta Falcons also traded for Hayden Hurst to replace Austin Hooper.
In addition, the Falcons brought in offensive lineman Justin McCray (who will be on his fourth NFL team since 2014, sixth if you include his two AFL seasons), and receiver Laquon Treadwell, who has not panned out since being drafted in the first round in 2017. Both guys were brought in just to add depth and rotation.
While these moves did address key problem areas, there are still holes that are lingering and need to be answered. Even with the Atlanta Falcons signing Fowler, the team still needs to draft a guy that will share time with Takk Mckinley on the opposite side.
John Cominsky could be a viable option going forward, however, having the ability to draft either Klavon Chaisson or Yetur Gross-Matos would add two guys who can make an instant impact paired with McKinley.
The same issue can be said about the interior of the defensive line. Other than Grady Jarrett, the Atlanta Falcons don’t have a viable second option. To avoid having to draft an interior lineman high in the draft, the Atlanta Falcons could slide Cominsky inside and rotate with Tyeler Davison. This gives the Atlanta Falcons a chance to give young guys who are unproven, the same as they would any rookie, an opportunity to help this team. However, if the unlikely chance that a guy like Javon Kinlaw is available at pick 16, or if the Falcons trade up, they should definitely not miss out on an opportunity to get him.
The running back spot has become more blurry after the Atlanta Falcons signed Todd Gurley. Yes, the Falcons got a strong replacement to Devonta Freeman, however behind Gurley is where the question marks come. Ito Smith has an injury history that has cut his season short in back to back years and no running back behind him has stepped up or shown they can rely for extended periods of time. While the Atlanta Falcons did get their main guy, the door should still be open in the middle to later rounds of the draft.
The Atlanta Falcons defensive secondary should now be the prime focal point for this draft. The issues that plagued the Falcons secondary pit three players as the focal point. Keanu Neal is injury prone and with lack of depth at corner and free safety, this will hurt us yet again if Neal goes down for the third time.
Desmond Trufant, long time top corner for this Atlanta Falcons defense, has been announced that he will cut by the Atlanta Falcons on June 1st. Most importantly, this leaves us with Damontae Kazee. Kazee has been used primarily as a safety in 2018 and 2019 due to injuries from both starting safeties. Kazee is not a natural safety and lacks the natural instincts that are needed to be a top safety and is much better used as a nickel corner.
Here is a great video demonstrating why Kazee cannot be relied on as a safety.
If CJ Henderson is there at number 16, if the Falcons don’t trade up, then there’s no reason to pass on him. However, drafting a safety at number 16 over an edge rusher and interior lineman (both can be addressed deeper into the draft) should be the top priority if Henderson is off the table.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be upset if the team did draft an edge or interior lineman because it will improve our team whichever way, but I just feel the biggest improvement would be safety help.