There as been much talk about our defensive needs. Compiling most thoughts on the subject, one would assume we almost need an entirely new defense with "needs" at the DE, DT, LB, & SS positions. Some of it is simply just a need for depth moreso than outright positions to be filled. So, after looking through most of the comments and posts I thought I might throw out an idea that as far as I can see, has yet to be mentioned for the DE position.
DE Michael Johnson is an option to look at for either the DE or the OLB position. I think we would be much better suited at DE, but he has worked out at the OLB position and openly commented that he would not be opposed to moving to that position.
Of course, the problem is that we already have Anderson at the DE spot opposite Abraham and I'm sure that management are not ready to close the book on Anderson. If anything, Johnson could be picked up for more depth now and possibly become the permanent solution in the next year or two.
If looking at moving him to OLB, then it wouldn't be a difficult transition for him as he performed many OLB duties while playing under Gailey at Ga Tech, such as zone coverage against TE's and RB's.
Either way, here's a few non-subjective numbers from '08 to chew on(per cfbstats):
Per the AJC:
Johnson dazzled the crowd of more than 40 NFL executives and personnel men Monday, including Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, head coach Mike Smith,...
"There is no surprise that Michael Johnson is a heck of an athlete, a heck of a physical specimen," Dimitroff said. "Things will work out very well for him well in the National Football League,..."
Now for my personal opinions. As a fan of both the Falcons and GT, would I like for him to be a member of the Falcons come next fall? Absolutely. Unfortunately I just don't see this happening. He's being pegged as a late first round to high second round pick, so I don't see how he would fit into what I perceive to be the plan of attack come draft time*. We would have to take him with our first rounder, if he's even there. Basically, I don't think he is going to be there for us in the first, but if we passed on him then, I still don't think he would be there by the time we got to our second round pick.
*Of course, I should note here that almost none of us had the same plan as TD & Co. this time last year, so I could be wrong again. I'm sure Matty Ice forgives us all.
Also, as I mentioned above, I don't think the book as been closed on Anderson yet. Drafting Johnson would essentially put the writing on the wall for Anderson. Moving Johnson to OLB could work, but it's also a major risk and I'm not one to favor drafting a guy just to move him to a different position that what he is currently comfortable at. I could buy into the 'for the future' reasoning behind taking him, or trading away Anderson to make room for Johnson, but I'm also sure some would argue that Johnson fits the same mold that Anderson did coming out of college.
While TD's plans are never clear, one thing is and that is TD & Co are obviously weighing all of their options. At least that's what I draw from the above quotes. I think we can all agree that that is never a bad thing. Either way, I just thought I would throw it out there for discussion.