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2013 NFL Draft Results: Falcons Must Address Pass Rush

The upshot of the Atlanta Falcons selecting two defensive backs in the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Falcons picked Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford in the first two rounds, and then watched the third round go by with nary a pick to use.

There's no doubt that the secondary is younger, faster and more dynamic than it was on Wednesday. The Falcons appear to have added a competent returner, as well. That means the biggest need on this football team—by far—is the pass rush. Unless the Falcons get incredibly lucky with Jonathan Massaquoi, Travian Robertson, Cliff Matthews and others developing and doing big things in 2013, they need to add help at linebacker and defensive end. Kicking up the pass rush a notch and pairing it with that intriguing, dynamic secondary would make the Falcons pretty fearsome on defense.

Unfortunately, we're going to enter the fourth round tomorrow, and the pickings are going to get fairly slim. Knowing the Falcons have to address the pass rush somehow, someway, how will they do it?

Only two options, if you don't count standing pat.

The Draft

There's no game-changers left, probably, but there's talent. Alex Okafor has plunged this far and still strikes me as a guy who has 6-8 sack upside and disruptive abilities at the NFL level. Cornelius Washington could be, at minimum, a useful rotational piece. Maliciah Goodman has intriguing ability if he can be coached up.

That's not even mentioning Sean Porter, who is still out there, has met with the Falcons and knows how to rush the passer from OLB. It's clear that no one the Falcons get is going to be an immediate starter for them, but the Falcons just sorely need youth, athleticism and pass rush ability in the front seven. I could see them sinking a pick into defensive end and linebacker, at minimum, if there's anyone worth a damn at the end of the fourth and beyond.

Free Agency

This seems possible. The Falcons wouldn't seem to be able to afford to draft two corners in the first two rounds if they didn't either really believe in their front seven or have options. Adding back John Abraham, picking up Dwight Freeney or trading for someone like Vinny Curry could be a possibility, and a fairly intriguing one, to boot.

Considering next year is considered a better class for pass rushers, it might actually behoove the Falcons to work in a stopgap option or two for a year and then eye a DE or LB with their first or second round pick in 2014.

The likeliest outcome? A pass rusher or two drafted and the potential addition of John Abraham once the draft is over. I think we can all get on board with that.

Your thoughts on the pass rush?

Related Links

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