We've touched on the Atlanta Falcons' running back corps a couple times this week. Andrew Hirsh did an excellent write up about the state of our running game. Give his post a read, if you haven't already. In short, we've got two guys under contract, a promising rookie in Devonta Freeman and an aging legend in Steven Jackson. The Falcons may bring Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith back on team-friendly deals as well.
So let's acknowledge the elephant in the room: should the Falcons look to shore up their running back corps in the draft? If you ask Mel Kiper, they may do just that, as early as the second round of the draft.
Despite the contribution from Freeman, ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper Jr. speculates the Falcons may go after another young running back, among other offensive weapons, after likely targeting a pass-rush specialist with the eighth overall pick.
"If you're Atlanta and you think about the offensive line, you could use a tight end and another running back at some point, and they can get those," Kiper Jr. said via conference call. "There's a lot of depth at running back with all the juniors that came out."
The obvious temptation is Todd Gurley, a top-tier talent with injury issues. He also played for a certain SEC school many Falcons fans support. Gurley could be available when the Falcons pick in the second round, making it a high risk, high reward scenario.
I do think the Falcons will target a running back at some point, especially if they cut Jackson or don't re-sign Smith/Rodgers. In my mind, it's more a question of when, not if. They have other, more pressing priorities, like improving their horrible pass rush. I'd be shocked if they don't draft a pass rusher with their first pick, but where they go from there is anyone's guess.