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Mike Mayock on edge rushers: “We haven’t seen a group like this in a long, long time”

Dan Quinn may finally get the chance to put together a defensive line like he had in Seattle.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Wisconsin vs Western Michigan
Molded in a family of grit.
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This is the point in the offseason where we are usually stretching the bounds of reality to somehow cover all of Atlanta’s roster holes in one offseason. The Falcons just need Michael Strahan to come out of retirement, find his old form, take vet minimum, and a few more impossible things to fix the team.

The Falcons are keeping most of their roster. FB Patrick DiMarco will hopefully be resigned, and Dwight Freeney might just retire. Everyone else that makes an impact is staying.

The team has big needs at defensive line, right guard, and not too many other places. We should see some depth signings at linebacker, tight end, and few more positions. But the team should be able to focus heavily on the defensive line. And this is a good year for that.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King talked with long-time NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock, who freaking loves these pass rushers.

This is as good and as deep a class as I’ve seen in a draft in several years—with the exception of quarterback and offensive line. Running backs and tight ends, top end and depth are outstanding. Tight ends—I haven’t seen a group like this in years. Wide receivers, very good. Defensively, it’s unbelievable. The edge rushers … we haven’t seen a group like this in a long, long time. You’ll be able to get a starting edge rusher in the fourth round that last year or most drafts you’d compare to an edge rusher in the second round. Cornerbacks and safeties, it’s the best I’ve seen in 10 years at least.

What a great year to need edge rushers. Quinn is potentially looking at replacing Freeney and Brooks Reed, if not simply adding some speed and youth to the position. Don’t be surprised to see the team double dip, a la 2013, and come away with two rookie pass rushers Quinn can coach up.

If we see early returns on defensive players like we saw in 2016, this could become an intimidating defense.