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Defensive Breakout Candidates For The Atlanta Falcons

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You can make a reasonable argument that the Falcons defense as a whole is due to bust out.

After all, it's a (mostly) young defense with players who have underperformed in your more conventional statistics (Kroy Biermann), underperformed due to injury (Peria Jerry) and just plain underperformed (Jamaal Anderson). The law of averages and my rose-colored glasses tell me that cannot possibly continue on all fronts.

So you've got your potential breakout candidates. If you want a good, short list, you should check out Alexander Shirley's over at SBN Atlanta.

Shirley's choices are not surprising, per se, but they're valuable. He leads off with Kroy Biermann, who more or less everyone agrees is due to have a big season. He's already an extremely valuable player, but it hasn't translated to a huge number of sacks.

Next up is Peria Jerry, who I believe has a mandate to destroy the league in 2011. The injury that took away his season in 2009 and sapped his effectiveness in 2010 can't be a crutch this current season,so he's got to deliver. That's doubly true given that Corey Peters is plenty capable of starting, should he once again falter.

Finally, he's got Dominique Franks. I don't think Franks is going to be huge this season because I think he's still very raw. I can't possibly know how far along his learning curve Franks is, but until he's got everything down, he's unlikely to be more than a nickel back in this defense.

My choice? Sean Weatherspoon. I loved his skills coming out of college and I still think that a fully healthy 'Spoon playing next to Curtis Lofton is going to be downright beastly.

Your pick?