NFL Atlanta Falcons

5 NFL Draft Prospects Who Could Be Instant Starters for Atlanta Falcons

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5 NFL Draft Prospects Who Could Be Instant Starters for Atlanta Falcons

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons had a very disappointing 2013 season. The Falcons finished with a record of 4-12. In 2014, I don't foresee the Falcons having another lousy year. The organization will likely pick itself back up and become playoff contenders again. The club has a good quarterback in Matt Ryan who is capable of accomplishing great things. Moreover, the Falcons have a good group of receivers.

With the sixth overall pick, the Falcons should be able to snag a player who can be an instant starter. Atlanta had trouble protecting its quarterback and rushing opposing teams' quarterbacks in 2013. The Falcons ranked 29th in the league for total defensive sacks, and Ryan was sacked 44 times, which ranked him as the third-most sacked quarterback of the 2013 season.

Atlanta's starting left tackle Lamar Holmes allowed 53 quarterback hurries in 2013, which was the second-most of all offensive tackles in the 2013 season. Furthermore, Holmes allowed 10 sacks in the 2013 season. The Falcons' right tackle spot was a mess throughout the entire 2013 season as well.

The defensive end positions were also a mess last season. The Falcons' defensive ends were unable to generate much of pass rush, which was a big reason why the Falcons did so poorly in the sack department. The Falcons signed veteran defensive end Osi Umenyiora during the 2013 offseason, but he was unable to make a huge impact. Umenyiora is surely not the long-term answer.

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5. DE Jadeveon Clowney

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If Jadeveon Clowney slips to the no. 6 spot in the draft, the Falcons will have no hesitation in taking the South Carolina product. Clowney is the best player in this upcoming draft class.

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4. OT Jake Matthews

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There's a very good chance Matthews will be available at the no. 6 selection. He is equipped to play either tackle position. He protects the edge well, and he is also a great run blocker. There's no doubt he would be an instant upgrade for the Falcons.

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3. OT Taylor Lewan

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Taylor Lewan is the second-best offensive tackle in the upcoming 2014 draft class. Lewan is very strong off the ball, and he knows how to seal the edge. Lewan would start right away in Atlanta.

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2. DE/OLB Khalil Mack

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Khalil Mack gets off blocks very quickly, and he has a lot of strength. He has a full arsenal of moves to disengage from blockers, which makes lineman constantly guess as to what he will do. Mack would jolt the Falcons' sack numbers.

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1. DE Kony Ealy

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Kony Ealy decided to forgo his senior season at Missouri and enter the 2014 draft. It may be a bit risky to take Ealy with the no. 6 pick in the draft, but he has great potential. He is very good against the run and the pass.