We don't know whether the Falcons were planning to rely heavily on Jalen Collins, but it seems like a pretty safe bet he was going to get a lot of playing time. Now that he's been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season, the Falcons are going to have to replace him, and they're going to have to do so in a pretty thin market.
Right now, the Falcons have two top-line starters in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, one intriguing reserve in Akeem King, and speedy free agent flier DeMarcus Van Dyke. Unless King or Van Dyke can surprise, the team is both woefully thin and not all that talented at corner beyond their first two options. Collins was no guarantee to be a great player in his second year, but Atlanta was counting on him to be competent and be part of their nickel sets, in all likelihood, and now the team doesn't even have five quality cornerbacks for the first four weeks.
That's going to necessitate an addition. The Falcons could go for a cornerback, but they just drafted Collins, and they could use a more immediate impact player at the position. That leaves free agency, where the best options available are holding out for a fair amount of money (Walter Thurmond), a 31-year-old coming off a 12 game season (Leon Hall), and a 32-year-old who battled injuries all last year (Antonio Cromartie). The Falcons will almost certainly sniff around all three, and perhaps others, but they're working with limited cap space. It's a tough spot to be in after the first couple of waves of free agency have already come and gone.
Personally, I'll hope for Thurmond, who despite his possible cost would seem to be a strong fit for the defense. Landing him would give the Falcons a potentially very strong set of corners, especially if Collins returns and can show us more than he did a year ago. I just don't think the draft is going to be an option.
Who do you have the Falcons signing?