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Pass rush will be a priority in the draft for the Falcons

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Expect to see a pass rusher in the first three rounds as the Falcons try to solve one of their most persistent woes.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta's pass rush from 2006 to 2012 consisted of John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, and an assortment of spare parts. From 2013 to 2015, the Falcons effectively had no pass rush, with Babineaux, Kroy Biermann, and Vic Beasley effectively leading the team over the last three years with a decent number of pressures and very few sacks. The Falcons' pass rush has been a punchline for three years.

With Dan Quinn in town and years upon years of embarrassing efforts, it appears the Falcons are finally getting serious about addressing the problem. They drafted Beasley in the first round last year to give them a young player with some real promise, and they added a handful of complementary players. What the team is missing now is a talented pass rusher to pair with Beasley, and I fully expect this team to make one a priority in the top three rounds of the draft.

Part of that is just simple logic, given the team's clear frustration with their inability to get to the quarterback, and part of it is the team's obvious interest in Senior Bowl players like Noah Spence, who could be the piece the Falcons need to actually get some pressure. I know the team has so many needs that singling out any one in particular may seem foolish, but getting Beasley help and giving him the support he needs to  blossom is still a huge priority for Atlanta.

If the Falcons do invest a first or second round pick in a pass rusher again, it will give those who thought Mike Smith was pass rusher-averse plenty of ammunition. The Falcons never drafted a legitimate pass rusher high in the draft in the Smith's seven years in Atlanta, with Peria Jerry being the closest thing to it. Under Quinn, it seems likely they'll break that trend for the second year in a row, and I certainly hope we see a better Falcons defense because of it.