With the 2nd pick of the draft the Falcons pick Jadeveon Clowney and this horrible nightmare of a season suddenly becomes worth it.
I am going to keep this simple. I won't run through a complete off-season/draft. Just the first two moves in free agency and the first two rounds of the draft. You can fill in the rest if you must but I don't really care.
FA move #1) DT - We have our top 3 DT's going into free agency this year. If we ever wanted an easy transition to a 3/4 this is the perfect opportunity. We are going to have to sign 2 DT's (or 1 NT and 1 3/4 DE) and I suspect they will be bigger than what we have been used to in Atlanta the past 6 years. And we will draft another one (as we are losing 3). Expect TD to go after the best defensive tackle hard in Free Agency, or even the best defensive lineman (DE included) and expect us to land at least one big time player that immediately upgrades our entire defense.
FA move #2) OL - The second expensive free agent signing will be an OL. Most likely the best RT we can get our hands on. Sam Baker can't be cut next year due to his horrible contract, so we will have 2 LT's (Baker, Holmes, 3 if you count Schraeder) and no RT's. Another reason is that an early 2nd rounder has traditionally been the best value pick for interior offensive lineman.
Draft Round 1) - Best pass rusher period (at any position). This is Clowney period. I don't buy the character concerns. None if it seems real substantial and everything that I read that does, says that Clowney is going to be a superstar. Just watch his film. Once in a generation talent that just knows how to play football. Whoever passes on Clowney will never forgive themselves. If we miss out on Clowney then there are other options that can get after the passer. Barr as a 3/4 OLB or Hageman as a 3/4 DE or 4/3 DT.
Draft Round 2) - Best interior offensive lineman. These first-round talent interior lineman always slip into the top of the second round and we can get a future pro bowl road grader here. Best value pick is interior lineman. Second best value here might be safeties which is now relevant after Decoud has "developed" into our worst starter on defense.
Lines fixed. Everything else becomes academic as we reclaim our dominance of the NFC South for the next 5 years.
Just one more thing I might throw out there. HD might get close to 1000 yards this year. If he does and if I were TD I would try and get a team to part ways with a 3rd of 4th rounder. Teams in desperate need of receivers are always willing to trade for a 1000 yard WR even if they are 29 years old like HD. HD has reached his ceiling. Darius Johnson has a higher ceiling at slot receiver.
And on Decoud: I would bench him this week just to see if he can take a wake up call and snap out of whatever funk he is in. He has potential. He has been benched before and he came back stronger and had a pro-bowl year. Bench him and see how he responds before cutting him in the off-season. You never know, it worked before.