The Falcons were pretty active in free agency, adding a number of players at positions of need. When new head coach Dan Quinn spoke with the Atlanta media this week, he shared some insight on how the Falcons approached the free agency position. With so many needs, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, there was no single player who could magically fix the team's deficiencies. The Falcons instead looked for guys who would fit Quinn's "fast and physical" ideal and collectively improve the team.
"The free agency part -- the important part is to continue to add overall guys to our team," Quinn said. "There was not one player we'd say, well, this is going to be the difference. It's collectively guys we can add to the club. And so all players at all positions - really, what we were trying to say is, can we add speed? Can we add toughness, in terms of adding to the team that we already have. So that was the real factor going into it - how many more guys can we add, and then it was our job as coaches to say, how would these players fit onto our team."
Of course, the team is looking toward the draft, and the assumption is that the team will be looking to add an impact pass rusher with the eighth overall pick. Quinn discussed his priorities when evaluating available pass rushers.
"I think, really, it still comes down to, at that position, the speed and length of a player," Quinn said. "There's always outliers, where a guy's shorter but is still a really good pass rusher. He doesn't have quite the same speed, but he's still a really good pass rusher."
It's not just speed and length. Effort is also a factor.
"But really, speed and length and that effort to keep relentlessly going - that's what makes the really good pass rushers the great ones - those hands, that effort, that mindset," Quinn said.
And game tape plays a big role in the team's evaluation of prospects. "So when you go through, you really want to go through as much of the game film as you can to try and get the best fit of how the guy can do it," Quinn said. "There are some terrific players in the draft that can get the quarterback this year, so it's not any one over another, but all of them have some unique stuff, and that's kind of the fun part, to look at how would we play him in our system."
What do you think about the team's approach to free agency this offseason, and which players in the draft do you feel best fit Quinn's ideals for pass rushers?