One of the hardest things about projecting a depth chart for the Falcons this year is that there's so much uncertainty surrounding the team's plans at multiple positions. Particularly along the defensive front, however.
With yesterday's news that Ra'Shede Hageman is moving to defensive end, it's more clear than ever that Dan Quinn has the players he wants, and he's going to shuffle them as he sees fit. I mean, thus far this offseason, we've heard that:
- Hageman is going to play defensive end;
- Vic Beasley is going to play linebacker and end;
- Derrick Shelby is going to play defensive end and defensive tackle;
- Brooks Reed could play linebacker and end;
- Courtney Upshaw could play linebacker and end.
And there's likely more we simply haven't heard yet, including the possibility of Keanu Neal and/or Kemal Ishmael getting a little run at linebacker. When you have a versatile defense with some talent, this is a great approach, as the Seahawks have illustrated, and Quinn certainly subscribes to the Seattle method of both team-building and deployment. The only problem is that he doesn't have that caliber of defense just yet.
The upshot here is that you should pencil everyone's roles in until late this summer when we have some more clarity, and we'll hope this makes a traditionally weak Falcons defense a strong unit in 2016.