There's more than three, certainly, but our focus groups found people like small numbers. Never fight a focus group.
At this point, I'm fully prepared for the Falcons to sign Osi Umenyiora and not make another significant signing until after the draft. With that expectation firmly in mind, I think it's time we think about the draft, given that Osi's negotiations are being conducted underwater in molasses and we probably shouldn't expect them to wrap up before the end of the week.
Here's the big three.
This may seem like an odd need to lead off with, considering that depth by definition consists of backups, but it's an important one.
The Falcons are thin beyond their top three at wide receiver. They're thin along the defensive front. They're dangerously thin at linebacker, and their depth in the secondary is largely unproven. The fact that they're loaded with quality starters at most positions is what makes them so successful, but all it takes is injury or ineffectiveness to make things awfully hairy in a hurry.
That's why depth is so important. With 11 picks in total, the Falcons can load up on promising young players who can add a needed infusion of athleticism and youth, particularly on the defense. They should take advantage.
I didn't view this as a huge need earlier in the off-season, but with Chris Owens gone and Brent Grimes likely following him, the Falcons need help here.
I'm of the opinion that Robert McClain can probably kick outside and handle it, as he really impressed me a year ago. Still, he did his best work in the slot, and even if he can move outside, the Falcons suddenly have a major hole in the slot. Counting on Terrance Johnson or Dominique Franks to fill that hole is a troubling thought.
The Falcons should be looking to the draft. The first couple of rounds will offer up players like Desmond Trufant, David Amerson and Jonathan Banks, while later on you can get everyone's favorite troubled but talented former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. If the Falcons can add a good-sized, athletic corner with some ballhawking skills to the roster, I'll be feeling pretty good about this secondary.
A Pass Rusher
Maybe more than one, even with Osi virtually a lock to sign.
The Falcons simply haven't gotten after the passer with any regularity in recent years, he said, delivering another swift kick to the corpse of a horse. That means that even if they were to bring Osi on and bring Abe back and sign Dwight Freeney and inject Jonathan Massaquoi with some sort of super pass-rushing serum, I'd still want to see them add players who can get after the passer. I don't care if they're defensive ends, defensive tackles or linebackers, so long as they can put the fear of God into Josh Freeman.
If the Falcons can stock up on their depth and address these key concerns, I'm going into the 2013 season with a lot of confidence. How about you?