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Will the Falcons approach the draft with a needs-based strategy?

It's need vs. BPA, as always.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When you're drafting, as the Falcons are wont to do, you have to weigh your need at a particular position against the raw talent available to you. The best teams tend to go for a mix of the two

In this year's draft class, the question takes on added weight both because the Falcons have a handful of massive needs, and because this is widely considered to be a fairly weak draft class, one where you might be better off grabbing the best talent available than stretching for a linebacker just because your linebackers are less than stellar.

That's really the struggle for Atlanta, and it will be particularly interesting to watch how the team's first round unfolds, given that there's no consensus first round safety, two or even three of the top linebackers could already be off the board, and it's anyone's guess what pass rushers will be available. The Falcons may be forced to consider whether their needs are more critical than getting their hands on, say, a defensive tackle.

I have to think the Falcons will lean toward need in the first three rounds, at least, especially because their needs line up fairly well with the depth of the positions likely to be available. Those positions include defensive end (where they're strong, but still need pass rushers), linebacker, safety, and tight end, though that tight end class thins out awfully quickly. In the fourth round and the seventh, maybe they take a flier on a high-upside player at a position where they have a little more depth, like quarterback, wide receiver, tackle, or cornerback. This is not a team that can totally afford to eschew players with chapel ceilings in favor of what they most need, after all.

As always, though, a balanced approach is best, and this team had better not walk out of this draft with a first round running back. Which side of the debate do you come down on?