clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Heading into the draft, what the Falcons roster looked like in April 2015

The offense is remarkably similar, but the defense is not.

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When Dan Quinn was installed as the newest head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, he was taking over an offense loaded with skilled players, including (as it turned out) a young running back on the cusp of stardom. What he didn’t inherit was a great defense, and what’s striking looking back at the roster before that 2015 NFL Draft is just how different the defense looked. It’s worth exploring.

So here’s a look at how different the team looks in the year 2018 than 2015, with the caveat that some of these starters are guesstimated because the team made moves in the draft or later in the offseason that quickly made them backups.

Starters 2015 vs. 2018

Position 2015 2018
Position 2015 2018
QB Matt Ryan Matt Ryan
RB Devonta Freeman Devonta Freeman
FB Patrick DiMarco ???
WR Julio Jones Julio Jones
WR Roddy White Mohamed Sanu
TE Jacob Tamme Austin Hooper
LT Jake Matthews Jake Matthews
LG James Stone Andy Levitre
C Mike Person Alex Mack
RG Chris Chester Brandon Fusco
RT Ryan Schraeder Ryan Schraeder
DE Adrian Clayborn Vic Beasley
DT Ra'Shede Hageman Grady Jarrett
DT Tyson Jackson Jack Crawford
DE Kroy Biermann Takkarist McKinley
LB O'Brien Schofield De'Vondre Campbell
LB Justin Durant Deion Jones
LB Paul Worrilow Duke Riley
CB Desmond Trufant Desmond Trufant
CB Robert Alford Robert Alford
CB Phillip Adams Brian Poole
S Ricardo Allen Ricardo Allen
S William Moore Keanu Neal
K Matt Bryant Matt Bryant
P Matt Bosher Matt Bosher
LS Josh Harris Josh Harris

The differences are most striking along the offensive line, where Alex Mack is a massive upgrade on Mike Person, and throughout the defense, where Dan Quinn’s teardown is getting closer to completion. The Falcons have jettisoned or replaced all four tentative starting defensive linemen from that 2015 team and all three starting linebackers, plus strong safety, where they replaced William Moore with Keanu Neal. Not every single one of the players they’ve got as a replacement at the moment is a true upgrade, but it’s pretty close, and the defense is light years better and younger than it was in Quinn’s first season at the helm.

Keep that in mind as the team embarks on its draft and attempts to put the finishing touches on the current Falcons squad. There are no guarantees that the 2018 team is going to be significantly better than that ill-fated 2015 team, but it sure looks a hell of a lot better on paper already.