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Five In Flight: Free Agents The Falcons Should Pursue

It's never too early to start looking at free agency, particularly when there's some solid players at positions the Falcons really need. Ideally, the team would supplement its killer drafting abilities with some additions at real positions of need.

The following is only a list compiled by yours truly. Consider it a wish list for unrestricted free agents, and come up with your own list in the comments. Based on community feedback, I'll plan on drawing up a more comprehensive wish list late in the week. You'll note that my priorities here are youth, pure talent and abillity to play positions of need; I'm also only selecting one player per position. In this dream world, money ain't a thing.

1. Jordan Gross, OT: This guy is, in my opinion, the crown jewel of free agent offensive linemen. At 28 years old, Gross has been a very good player for the division rival Carolina Panthers and would give the Falcons a truly fearsome duo of tackles. Listed at 6-4 and 305 pounds, Gross isn't carrying an extra thirty pounds of ribeye steak, but has excellent footwork and enough strength to play where we need him to. If the Panthers franchise him, this dream goes up in smoke. If they don't, the Falcons should make a real effort to sign him and instantly boost the line that has to open holes for our franchise back and keep our franchise quarterback alive.

2. Albert Haynesworth, DT: You're all clamoring for a stud defensive tackle to help our pass rush, and Haynesworth fits the bill and then some. With 8.5 sacks this last season and at a relatively young 27, Haynesworth probably has another 3 or 4 excellent years left in him. He's had some very significant character issues--including a now infamous face stomp that earned him a justifiable amount of media attention--but I believe he'd be fine in our culture. He's also a true talent, which means I'm more than willing to roll the dice with him. Although it's little more than a ridiculous pipe dream, imagine a line that paired B.J. Raji with Haynesworth.

I'll get the smelling salts.

3. Dunta Robinson, CB: Though I agree that the pass rush needs to be the first priority on defense, it certainly wouldn't hurt to add a corner of Robinson's caliber. He would immediately take over as our #1 guy, letting Foxworth draw slightly weaker competition and leaving Chevis Jackson and Chris Houston to duke it out for nickel duties. We have a ton of young talent at corner, but an immediate upgrade there would let us hang against teams like Arizona, whose excellent receivers eat the Falcons alive. I'd definitely be a fan of adding the 26 year-old.

4. O.J. Atogwe, S: Atogwe might represent the most likely free agent for the Falcons, as he'll likely command a little less and the Rams have proven that they can't tell which talent they need to keep around. Atogwe is always near the ball, hits well and is decent in coverage. He plays free safety for the Rams, but I think his skill set translates well to strong safety and we really need to upgrade there as Lawyer Milloy continues to trend downhill. Oh, and he's only 26 years old. I forgot about that.

5. Leonard Pope, TE: I'm willing to predict that at least one person is going to call me a damn crazy fool for even entertaining the notion of signing Pope. I'm drawn to this kid's potential if the light ever came on, and I think being tutored by one of the game's finest blockers in Mr. Ben Hartsock and a disciplined coaching staff could help him immensely. Pope has all the tools to be a complete tight end, with 40+ catch potential and the ability to put the brakes on linebackers. He'll likely come fairly cheap given his injuries and struggles, so this is another gamble I would love to see. Pope is also still only 25, too, which means he's not exactly washed up yet.

What do you guys think?