If the team stumbles to a sub .500 record once again in 2015, it will most likely be due these positions left unattended, more or less.
Going into the draft, I was almost certain that Dimitroff would target an athletic guard to give Matt Ryan what would be his best protection since the 2010 season. As it stands now, the starting spot seems to be up for grabs for any of Sam Baker, James Stone, Mike Persons, or even Harland Gunn. While there looks to be quality depth on the line for the first time in a long time, there is no clear-cut starter that looks a long term solution. Hopefully we will be surprised.
If we're going to assume that Quinn is bringing an exact replica of Seattle's 4-3 under to Atlanta, we have to consider the team's failure to add a legitimate free safety as a huge concern. It's believed to be between Charles Godfrey, Kemal Ishmael, and Ricardo Allen for now, and that doesn't exactly make me entirely confident. The team will likely be fishing around in the free agent pool after another wave of cuts, but where we stand at the moment may make most of us a bit uneasy.
Discounting 2013, the Falcons offense moved the chains more consistently when future hall of famer Tony Gonzelez would don the red and black. Tony is the best of all time, but Matt doesn't necessarily need another Gonzalez. Tight ends Levine Toilolo, Jacob Tamme, and Tony Moeaki look to give Atlanta's offense a little boost in 2015, but they don't seem to be the guys that are considered essential pieces. Atlanta could look at the athletic Jermaine Gresham, but after adding two free agent tight ends, I don't know if I'd put my money on that happening.
Vic Beasley, Atlanta's star draft selection will be holding down one side of the line, but what about the other? Adrian Clayborn and Malliciah Goodman are likely the safe bets there, but can the Falcons improve upon their pass rush from last year? Absolutely. However, Clayborn has had a hit-and-miss history with health, and Goodman is an unknown talent that has shown flashes. If Clayborn were to fall victim to injury once again, the pass rush could see a significant dip.
One could have never realistically expected all holes to be addressed in one offseason, as it was always going to be at least a two year rebuild. Atlanta could easily be the NFC South Champions when all is said and done, but if there is yet another cringe-worthy performance like years past, look for these areas to be the cause.
What are your biggest concerns for this season, and how do you see the ones above playing out?