Football, NFL


As I mentioned yesterday, things in Atlanta are looking up.  The Braves are rock and roll-ing, The Five Stripes are on a roll as well, however part 2 takes a look at the Atlanta Falcons’ draft picks and how they impact our team.
If you want to hear more about Calvin Ridley, take a look at a few posts back to see what I think about the first round pick.  I’m here to focus on what was certainly another fine draft under the DQ and TD pairing.
To understand the picks is to understand the state of the Falcons.  I personally hated to see the pure regression in our offense last year but it should be noted how efficient we played on defense.  Yes we gave up plenty of long drives and couldn’t get off the field, but overall, we held the Super Bowl Champion Eagles to 15 and had 4 downs to score a TD to win the game in the 4th.  The year prior we were in a healthy position to win the Super Bowl.
The window of opportunity is now.  How long the window stays open is undetermined.
So, it’s safe to say we don’t really NEED much, if anything.  Our offense has a lot of weapons and our defense is coming along nicely.  This was a defense who gave up the 7th fewest TDs in the NFL (33).  Of the 33, only 9 were rushing.  That leaves 22 TDs through the air.  2nd rd pick, Isaiah Oliver (CB), looks to have been brought in to help get that number down.  There were times last year where we needed another stellar 3rd option at cornerback, now we may have that guy.
It’s not like our Pass Defense was bad: 12th in Pass Yds/G (214.3) & 2nd in 40+ Yd receptions (4).  We just couldn’t get off the field fast enough.  The Falcons were the 9th worst team giving up first downs through the air with 197.  Now that can be frustrating if it’s 3rd and 8 or 3rd and 4 and the opponent is allowed to extend drives and run time off the clock.
One way we can help ourselves get off the field faster would be to solidify our defensive front.  Deadrin Senat looks to be the rotational, motor running, physical force we need to fulfill our front.  I strongly believe had Oliver not been available and P.J. Hall been available we would’ve went Hall in the 2nd.  However, the Falcons got 2 value picks and had faith in a number of guys in the 3rd round they believe could make an impact and Senat is the guy they trust.
He’s another prototypical Quinn guy who has leverage, explosiveness, and high motor.  On top of that he’s a stout body in the middle of our defense who can stuff the run and help push the pocket for our primary pass rushers.  He’ll be a guy who should rotate in nicely and help add depth and strength to our defensive line along with some of the guys we signed as FA.
At first, I was quite confused why we elected to go RB with our 4th round pick, but, after looking over how the round played out and who was available in the 5th, I love the pick.  Why not add a speedy grinder who is multifaceted.  Ito Smith can be our, not x, y, or z factor, he can be our aa factor.  Just another weapon to help our offense attack the defenses we are about to face.
That’s why I like the Russell Gage pick.  Come at us.  He most likely will play special teams but having depth and being able to run 5 wides or 4 WR and Ito Smith.  Combinations and matchups should be easier to exploit now and there shouldn’t be any more reason for Sarkisian’s shortcomings.
The final pick is perfect.  What’s not to like about a physically gifted football player with an education from Yale?  Sounds like the perfect guy to play behind our Pro Bowl and 2nd year linebackers from LSU.  Foye Oluokun will be a guy I look for to make a few tackles a year just so I can turn to someone and tell them he’s from Yale.  #InstantTrivia
Overall, The Atlanta Falcons are loaded and should have every opportunity to play for and win the Super Bowl this coming season in Atlanta.  I know I won’t be going to the game but I’ll be hyped as all get out to watch it unfold.  The window is open.

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