Our projection series turns its lonely eyes to the defense (woo woo woo), where things get decidedly more complex.
For the purposes of this exercise, we're going to assume the Falcons will be using players like Jonathan Massaquoi, Kroy Biermann and Stansly Maponga primarily at linebacker, i.e. they'll run lots of sets with three down linemen. With that in mind, the players you're looking at in your projection are guys like Malliciah Goodman, Tyson Jackson, Jonathan Babineaux and Ra'Shede Hageman, the bulky dudes ticketed for duties up-front.
Projected 2014 Defensive End Depth Chart
DE Tyson Jackson: 45 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble
DE Jonathan Babineaux: 30 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
DE Malliciah Goodman: 35 tackles, 1 sack, 4 pass deflections
DE/DT Corey Peters: 20 tackles, 2 sacks
DE Ra'Shede Hageman: 25 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 pass deflections
As you can see, I have reasonably high hopes for the ends on this roster. No one here is going to get a ton of sacks, but they should be productive. Chiefly, they're going to be looking to open things up for the men behind them playing linebacker, but
Obviously, I don't have Peria Jerry or Cliff Matthews making this final roster. I think the collection of talent here simply outclasses those two, and Peters would have to hit PUP to start the season for either to hang around. Jackson and Babineaux should start, but I'd anticipate Goodman and, if he's ready later on, Hageman eclipsing his snap totals before all is said and done. I'm especially bullish on the Jackson/Goodman duo on the ends in true 3-4 sets, because both are potentially dominant run-stoppers who can put a thicket of arms in front of an opposing quarterback. There's no truly great player here, at least not yet, but there's reason for optimism.
Project away, my friends.