Training camp is here! The Falcons are arriving today and will practice in front of the public tomorrow, which means we can get our sweet, sweet football fix in the coming days. For the Falcons, it’s an opportunity to look at the roster and figure out how they’re going to get down to 53 men and 11 men on the practice squad.
While they do so, they may also cast about the free agent market in search of upgrades. After spending way too much time looking at the 90 man roster over the offseason, here’s our top remaining potential needs for these Falcons. There are very few!
Andreas Knappe is the early leader, but when you have a bunch of undrafted free agents competing to back up your quality starting tackles, you have to consider it a need until someone emerges. The market isn’t exactly loaded with options, but it’s very likely a decent enough veteran shakes loose between now and September.
Right now, the team has Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, Takkarist McKinley, and I guess Brooks Reed as their most compelling pass rushers who can play defensive end. You’ll note that one of those players is a rookie and two are recovering from major injuries, and only Beasley and maybe McKinley seem likely to be capable of high-end production.
That’s why the Dwight Freeney idea won’t die. The Falcons could definitely stand to add a useful edge rusher, but they’ll likely need to sacrifice depth elsewhere to get it done.
Defensive tackle depth
You have a strong trio atop the depth chart with Dontari Poe, Grady Jarrett and Ra’Shede Hageman available, plus new addition Jack Crawford to back them up. You also have a number of inside-out players, which would seem to take care of any issues the Falcons might have at the position.
I’d like to see the Falcons add another young, interesting player here to be the team’s true fourth defensive tackle, especially because there’s no guarantee Poe and Hageman are coming back next year, and it’d be nice to have more depth on hand.