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NFL free agency: Falcons have a dire need at linebacker

Sean Weatherspoon's likely departure puts the need in sharper focus.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, the Falcons' linebackers are Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu, Marquis Spruill, Prince Shembo, Tyler Starr, Nate Stupar and Allen Bradford. A need that would have been pressing with Sean Weatherspoon becomes dire without him.

Right now, only Worrilow can be penciled in as a starter, and the team may look to upgrade on him as they dip into free agency. Getting a pass rush matters a great deal, and that's something you can do by signing  a linebacker anyways. The Falcons need to add multiple players outside and inside to shore up what is more or less inarguably their weakest unit on the roster.

Look for the Falcons to address both the middle and outside while adhering to what I can only assume is a fairly strict value limit on each player. That could mean players like Jason Worilds outside or Mason Foster in the middle, or it could mean reserve-caliber players signed for cheap. The beautiful thing about the state of the linebacking corps is that you almost can't help but improve it, unless some of the young guys are set to drastically improve in a way we can't anticipate. If Dan Quinn wants to field a quality defense in his first season in Atlanta, it's imperative they don't leave linebacker until the draft, given the likelihood that they won't be able to sink multiple, immediately impactful picks into the position.

On the bright side, the team's current set of linebackers is extremely young, and there's legitimate upside from a handful of those players. The Falcons will have, at minimum, quality depth. They just desperately need to add talent.

Who will the Falcons sign at linebacker?