Despite being active(ish) in free agency and not making large trades in the draft, this team still has a number of holes. It is nearly impossible to completely fix the problems of a six win team in one offseason, but the Falcons can get close.
No, it does not look like they can fix the free safety spot. Thomas DeCoud might be the best available safety, which would be similar to just setting fire to a roster spot.
Other positions? You bet the team can find some starters.
Tight End Jermaine Gresham
The Falcons rightly refused to overpay for the likes of Julius Thomas and Charles Clay, but left them picking up the oft-injured Tony Moeaki and perennial underachiever Jacob Tamme. With five tight ends on the roster, mostly veterans, there is a total of only five seasons between them with over 185 receiving yards.
And only one of our tight ends, outside of Levine Toilolo, have eclipsed 185 receiving yards since 2012.
Former Cincinnati Bengal Jermaine Gresham is still available thanks to his offseason back surgery. He was originally expected to be healthy by training camp. Assuming he has not had any setbacks, Gresham would be an immediate starter for the Falcons.
Gresham is considered more of a blocker but has averaged about 550 yards every season of his career. With Andy Dalton at quarterback. You will not confuse him with Tony Gonzalez, but he is easily better than every tight end on the roster.
Right Tackle Joe Barksdale
The Falcons offensive tackles are either returning from crippling injuries, have limited playing time, or even worse, are Lamar Holmes.
We know the Falcons kicked his tires a few days ago, but as has been consistent with Barksdale this offseason, he left without a contract. He is likely still asking for too much money, but has been running out of teams where he has a chance to start.
Barksdale has been healthy, has some quality experience, is reasonably effective, and is not Lamar Holmes. It seems that due to the injuries the Falcons will be required to sign a swing tackle. But with Barksdale they could sign a likely starter.
Middle Linebacker Brandon Spikes
I know what you are saying. Barksdale and Spikes were both on my list of best available free agents in March. I would remind you that I called for Mike Smith to be fired in August, and in a mere 4.5 months, it came true. By my math, three more months and the Falcons will sign Barksdale and Spikes.
Dan Quinn helped make the Seattle Seahawks one of the most intimidating, hardest hitting defenses in the league. The team lists new signings Justin Durant and Brooks Reed at outside linebacker, with a mass of young, inexperienced, and undrafted players listed at linebacker.
The likeliest battle for the middle linebacker spot will involve Paul Worrilow, Nate Stupar, and Marquis Spruill. That should make you want to sign Spikes today. Spikes would immediately improve Atlanta's run defense and start on day one.
There are very few quality remaining players, but feel free to toss out any names that are not Thomas DeCoud. If the Falcons do not make a move soon, they will have to rely on skimming veterans after final roster cut downs in August.