The Youth Movement Is Far From Over

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons tossed rookie after rookie into the fire in 2013. Unfortunately, the 2014 Falcons draft class may be relegated to the same fate.

You, me, or David Lee Roth Choate can spin the 2013 season however we wish. The one thing we can all agree on is that a ton of young Falcons received playing time, whether they truly deserved it or not.

You don't have to be a veteran fan to know that the team has had a fair amount of turnover the past few years. Want to take a guess at how many players from the 2008 season are under contract?

7.

6 of those are on offense (Biermann is the lone defender). I believe Babs is a free agent this year. I'm not counting DeCoud, who is about to be long gone.

But that's not the part that should bother you: 41 players on that team had 5 years or fewer of NFL experience, and maybe 7-8 of those had 5 years of experience.

That suggests to me that we have done a miserable job of developing players for the long term. I can't fault the GM for that completely. If it were all the GM's fault, why would we have coaches to coach up the players? What would be the point of positional coaches.

"Good luck!" yells the GM to the uncoached players.

In all seriousness, it's going to require a lot of new faces to get this team back on track. We have had a fair bit of luck in terms of rookies being able to play at a reasonable level, but I do wonder if the rookies we sent out last year (sans Trufant and, to a lesser extent, Alford) aren't as good as we think they are. If that's the case, then we have a real problem on our hands, don't we?

Don't forget, even the Browns, or the Texans, or the Vikings, or the Raiders all had sacks and interceptions and touchdown passes. It's not like our rookie LBs played so far out of their minds that they're a definite thing going forward. Yes, the sacks and tackle numbers are great to look at, but are they hiding the truth?

Regardless, there's going to be plenty of people brought in this offseason. One side of the debate is that we should trade down and that this draft is very deep. That may be true, but doing so brings in more rookies who potentially are nothing more than camp bodies. Trading up, as much as we may not desire it, may be the answer if the quality of player we get is worth the trade. In any case, we're going to have many more growing pains this year, especially on the offensive line.

This is just my opinion of course, but keep your expectations for this season low, friends. Let's let the offseason machine play out before we pass judgment on anything, but a one season turnaround may be too much to ask for this time.

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