By Kevin Major @KevinMajor_Rant on April 5, 2014
The Atlanta Falcons entered the 2013 season with Super Bowl aspirations. Those aspirations were quickly dashed through a combination of injuries and poor play, and the Falcons finished a disappointing 4-12. In order to get back into contention, Atlanta will need to use the 2014 NFL Draft to bring in new talent and address key needs. Here are five players who Atlanta should target on the second day of the upcoming draft.
The Falcons will be implementing a hybrid defense this season, switching back and forth between a 4-3 and 3-4 alignment. In order for this system to work, Atlanta will need to stockpile versatile pass rushers. Jeremiah Attaochu would fill this need. Attaochu is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback, recording 31.5 sacks while at Georgia Tech. He can play defensive end or outside linebacker for the Falcons.
The Falcons ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in terms of sacks allowed in 2013. Atlanta will need to add depth and talent to this unit through the draft to fix this problem. Morgan Moses is an option in the second or third round. Moses started 43 games while at Virginia and shows sound technique in pass protection. He needs to improve as a run-blocker, but he has the potential to be a starter at either tackle spot in the NFL.
Antonio Richardson is another offensive lineman who the Falcons should target during Day 2 of the draft. Richardson is a gigantic person, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 336 pounds. Despite his gargantuan size, Richardson showed nimble feet and surprising athleticism at Tennessee. He can still improve his technique in both run and pass protection, but his size and power make him an attractive prospect for the Falcons.
The Falcons cut veteran Thomas DeCoud this offseason, leaving them very thin at the safety position. Outside of William Moore, Atlanta lacks a starting caliber player at the position. First-Team All-American Deone Bucannon would be a strong addition for the Falcons. Bucannon is big-hitting safety who excels in run support. He needs to develop his coverage skills, but he could still be an immediate contributor for the Falcons.
The retirement of Tony Gonzalez has left the Falcons with a pressing need for a pass-catching TE. Drafting Jace Amaro would give the Falcons a versatile receiving threat who could line up tight or wide. Amaro earned First-Team All-American honors by catching 106 passes for 1,352 yards and six TDs in his junior year at Texas Tech. Amaro could be paired with Levine Toilolo, who is more of an in-line tight end, to form an exciting duo.
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