Falcons Free Agency: The 3 Biggest Remaining Needs

Al Messerschmidt

The Atlanta Falcons were active on the first day of free agency, landing free agents at key spots. What do they still have to do?

The Atlanta Falcons shored up the offensive line with the signing of Jon Asamoah, and the defensive line with Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson. While those aren't necessarily the kinds of moves that change the course of a franchise, they were solid, and Falcons fans in general graded the first day at around a solid B.

The Falcons are left with a handful of significant needs. With the way these signings and the re-signings of Jonathan Babineaux and Joe Hawley shuffled the deck, I felt it would be a good idea to revisit those needs.

#1: Pass Rusher

The Falcons have a much better run defense already with the addition of Soliai and Jackson, and more 3-4 looks can only help in that regard. While that guarantees nothing, I feel a lot more confident about the run defense than I did just a day ago.

The pass rush, on the other hand, is still in flux. The Falcons might be able to get more out of Jonathan Massaquoi, and asking guys like Joplo Bartu and Sean Weatherspoon to rush off the edge in 3-4 sets might be good for them. As it stands, there isn't an impact pass rusher on the roster, and the Falcons still haven't added one.

The team could take their chances with an aging pass rusher like DeMarcus Ware or Julius Peppers, but that route hasn't been fruitful the last few years for these Falcons. The likeliest outcome may be a draft pick, either Khalil Mack in the first or a Dee Ford, Trent Murphy or Scott Crichton in the second round. It would be nice if they added multiple pieces, and until we get a sense of who might be coming on board, this remains the most pressing need.

#2: Safety

The Falcons released Thomas DeCoud. They now have William Moore to move and two seventh round picks to try to fill that hole, which means they'll be making a move. For who?

Suffice to say the market is emptying fast. Chris Clemons may be the best safety left on the open market, and he's maybe a tick above average. If he's signed tomorrow, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and we move on with our lives, even with Jairus Byrd going to the bleeping Saints.

If it's not Clemons, it gets a little dicier. The Falcons may simply view free safety as a non-priority position in 2014, but you can't exactly throw a stiff at the position and hope for the best. The Falcons will have to look at aging veterans like Ryan Clark or sink a second-to-third day pick into free safety. Both could bear fruit, but with the draft in particular, they'll have to hit.

It's a priority, at least in my eyes.

#3: Tight End

The Falcons are apparently set on adding some kind of talent to the position. The cupboard's bare beyond Levine Toilolo, so even if he does go into the season as the starter, the team would be smart to add talent.

I can see a decent veteran (Owen Daniels?) winding up on the team as a stopgap and competition for Toilolo, and a draft pick for future depth at minimum. One way or the other, they gotta stock the cupboard.

Your thoughts?

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