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How many sacks will the Atlanta Falcons finish with in 2017?

Will the Falcons enjoy increased pass rushing production?

SiriusXM At The 2017 NFL Draft Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The offseason is a great time for those big offseasons questions that we’ll endlessly debate in the coming months. In my long experience, no one question generates a greater range of outcomes than this one.

How many sacks will the Falcons have as a team in 2017?

They had 34 as a team in 2016, almost half (16.5) of which came from Vic Beasley. In 2015 they had 19 and in 2014 they had 22, so it was a massive improvement fueled almost entirely by Atlanta’s breakout sack artist. They need more pass rushing acumen to really make a leap as a defense—regardless of whether that translates into increased sacks—and getting Takkarist McKinley in the draft, Derrick Shelby back healthy, and adding talent across the board can only help.

I’m going to predict another decent-sized jump in production this year and go with 40 team sacks. I think Beasley’s total will pull down closer to 12 or so, but McKinley, Shelby, and the linebackers should add to the total. I think this will be a drastically improved defense in many ways, though, so this shouldn’t be a major surprise.

What number have you got?