As the great locomotive that is the NFL Draft chugs onward to rounds two and three, the Falcons still have a number of areas on their roster in need of strengthening. With the obvious lack of a pass rush hopefully improved with the team's first round selection of Vic Beasley, let's take an updated survey of what other positions could most use a fresh set of rookie legs in 2015.
First, a reminder that Atlanta has the 10th pick in the second round, the ninth pick in the third round and five more picks in rounds four through seven on Saturday. Now onto a brief breakdown:
If our hunches are correct, head coach Dan Quinn (and perhaps the front office) are not completely comfortable heading into the season with Kemal Ishmael and Charles Godfrey as the two primary options at the free safety position. Dezmen Southward, if you'll recall, seems destined to wind up a cornerback under Quinn. And the sorts of safety prospects the Falcons have reportedly worked out -- Eric Rowe and Landon Collins both come to mind -- have been projected as early draft picks. The safe bet might have the Falcons targeting other players in that range, as well.
#2: Running Back
With offenses relying far less on the feature-back formula that used to rule the NFL, there is a growing need for teams to have two or even three competent ball-carriers in any given season. In Cleveland, Kyle Shanahan scrapped the position entirely and brought in three backs of his choosing:, and (for a time) Ben Tate.
With the departures of Devonta Freeman and home-run hitter Antone Smith. Look for that to change sooner in the draft rather than later, even if the coaching staff's confidence in Freeman is legitimate. There are a whole host of talented backs Atlanta could target in the middle rounds.and , the Falcons' only players with meaningful experience at the position are second-year player
#3: Left Guard
Whether the Falcons actually target this position early on in the draft will be interesting, but there is no question that they could use another player to compete with the oft-injured Peter Konz, career backup Mike Person and swing man James Stone for the starting job. Poor depth on the offensive line has been a thorny problem for this team in the past, and it would be wise to stock up on as many quality blockers as possible heading into a long season.
Ricardo Allen may not be ready for the full-time fire just yet, leaving Phillip Adams as the team's likely nickelback -- a full-time starting spot in today's NFL. Look for Atlanta to add another player into the mix.is already one of the top corners in the league, and the athletic stands to take a step forward this season if Quinn & Co. can tap into his potential. Beyond that, however, the Falcons are pretty thin at one of the most important positions in the modern game. Southward's transition could take time and
#5: Inside Linebacker
Brooks Reed was signed to be the team's primary SAM linebacker, while veteran Justin Durant looks to slot in at either the MIKE or the WILL, both inside linebacker positions in Quinn's defense. For whichever spot Durant doesn't occupy, Atlanta's possible options include , , and , the last of whom is coming off an ACL tear. A versatile, late-round pick with upside could be the remedy here.
Honorable mention: Wide receiver
While the prospect of handing Leonard Hankerson likely takes up Harry Douglas' spot as the No. 3, and after that there are already defined roles for Devin Hester and Eric Weems. Add in promising second-year wideouts Bernard Reedy and Freddie Martino and suddenly the mix at receiver looks strong.another weapon sounds enticing, there simply won't be many snaps for a rookie this season. and return as receiving options 1A and 1B,
How do you feel about the makeup of the roster leading into Day 2 of the draft?