In roughly 3 months our Atlanta Falcons will be on the clock with the sixth overall pick. This is the Falcons earliest draft pick since 2008 when Matt Ryan was selected third overall.
In those six years Matt Ryan has been a pretty solid quarterback for the team. Last year he bypassed a few of his critics by beating this years super bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. This year on the other hand was a different story with a record of 4-12. Now Matt has always had a pretty solid offensive line, until last year. Matt was sacked 44 times, only nine teams were sacked more and three were tied. Our offensive line was injured basically all season and our 14 year center Todd McClure retired last offseason. Sam Backer, Mike Johnson we lost to injuries early in the season and also last offseason we lost Tyson Clabo to the Miami Dolphins.
With all that have being said, the falcons defensive line was not much better this year. We brought in Osi Umenyiora this offseason after getting rid of John Abraham. Osi had an average season at best. He recorded 7.5 sacks, forced 3 fumbles, and even recorded his first career touchdown off his only interception. On the other side of the D-line Kroy Biermann, our regular starter/ hybrid linebacker, tore his achilles at the beginning of the season. Other than Osi, and Jonathan Babineaux our defensive line is relatively young.
With both of those being said, we have two big holes in our team. Offensive Tackle, and some defensive pass rusher. We have 4 potential picks that we could go for.
1. Jadaveon Clowney- DE University of South Carolina- More than likely we will not be able to draft him unless the stars align or we trade for him. I don't see the Texans, or the Jags both passing on him. If they do pass we would have a pretty good chance in getting him because the Browns, Raiders, NEED a quarterback, and the Rams will get Greg Robinson. Most coaches have him as the the best player in the draft, I just don't see it happening.
2. Greg Robinson- OT Auburn- I don't see the Rams passing him. They need help on the O-line to bad to pass on him unless he has a bad combine or something of that nature. If that happens they would probably get Jake Mathews.
3.Jake Mathews- OT Texas A&M- As i said in the Greg Robinson column, I don't see the Rams passing on him which would leave Mathews to be our best logical, and possible pick. Jake Mathews is a really good offensive lineman though, and could be Matt Ryan's personal protector for the next 10 years or so. Protecting our franchise quarterback is kind of a big deal especially since he is getting a pretty big paycheck from us for the next 4 years.
4.Anthony Barr- OLB/DE UCLA- This pick is some what of a reach. He has only been playing defense now for 2 years, this would be his 3rd year playing defense. He also is not the best in coverage. He is an extremely smart player which is a plus and he could learn quite a bit from Nolan. He also is physically dominant and could help a lot in run support.
With all of this being said i think getting an offensive line man would be our best pick in the draft and could improve our seasons to come for the next years to come. Hopefully our general manager and owner could free up some cap space and we could make a splash in free agency. Hopefully next year we won't be plagued by injures and can hopefully bring a Super Bowl to the grab city of Atlanta soon.