Falcons Must Target OL and DL in Day Two

With the first day of the NFL Draft wrapped up many teams are looking to grab some of the impact fallers from the first day. Propsects like Cordy Glenn, Peter Konz, Janoris Jenkins, and Courtney Upshaw will all be on the board when the clock starts for the Rams today. The Falcons won’t be selecting until 22 picks after the Rams, but several impact linemen could still be there at 55. Specifically, DL should be in abundance when Atlanta comes on the clock. Charlie Casserly of NFL Network said that, “There would be a run on OL, WRs, and CBs in the 2nd Round.” Luckily for Atlanta they only have a big need at one of those spots. That being the OL, but they also could use a run stuffing NT and another pass rusher. If all goes according to plan, Atlanta will be in great position to get an impact lineman at 55.

To put it simply the trenches for Atlanta are in need of repair. On the offensive side Sam Baker has struggled, and the right guard position is wide open. While on the defensive side John Abraham is old, and Johnathan Babineaux is coming off of a season where he tore his MCL and had very limited production. Atlanta could go with either line at 55 and get an impact player. On the defensive side and extra pass rusher would help bolster an Atlanta defense that already looks strong against the passing attack on paper after adding Asante Samuel; edge rushers like Andre Branch of Clemson and Vinny Curry of Marshall have a great chance of being there when the Falcons pick. They could also add a run stuffer like Brandon Thompson to help shore up the run D after the loss of leading tackler Curtis Lofton to free agency. On the offensive side a LT is badly needed to protect Matt Ryan and open up edge runs. Mike Adams could be there when the Falcons pick, but he has several red flags, most noteably he’s criticized for not giving his all in games and practice. However he has all the tools of a franchise LT, and if Thomas Dimitroff is confident in Mike Smith and Pat Hill then Mike Adams could be an easy selection to make. At RG former Iowa State standout Kelechi Osemele could still be lingering, and some scouts have said that he has the most talent out of all the OL. The problem will be finding a coach who can be paitent enough with Osemele to help him reach that upside, but the talent and potential are obviously there.

Atlanta also has plenty of options at 84, as former Miami OG, Brandon Washington could still be on the board. Washington has the intangibles to play G at the next level, and with couple of years of experience he could develop into a great player in the trenches. UAB OT Matt McCants could also be at 84, McCants is a developmental prospect but he shows the intangibles and upside to develop into a good LT. He’ll be a project pick, but he could award the team that has paitence with him. On the defensive side the big man for Bama will likely be available. Josh Chapman would come in and immediately make the run defense better, but unless we switch to the 3-4 he won’t be a starter. However he could still make an impact on goal line and on short running situations. Cam Johnson from Virgina should also be available at 84; Johnson had a superb Senior Bowl where he was using his speed, strength, and moves to generate consistent pressure for Atlanta, he also has a good amount of versatility, which would be helpful in Mike Nolan’s multiple scheme.

Atlanta’s biggest needs are in the trenches. There is a great chance that they will have an impact player when they come on the clock, for both their 2nd and 3rd round choices. Either way Atlanta has to take a lineman at some point; the trenches on both sides of the ball need to be solidified, and there are plenty of players in this draft who could do that.