By Brian Kalchik @BrianKalchik on April 27, 2014
The Atlanta Falcons have gone through plenty of changes this offseason -- some positive and some negative. Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez retired this offseason and Paul Soliai was brought in to fix Atlanta's defensive line. The Falcons also got rid of veterans Omar Gaither and Sean Locklear.
While the Falcons have had a productive offseason so far, here are five of the their biggest mistakes up to this point.
I understand that Asante Samuel was not what he used to be in 2013, but the veteran corner is still a very productive player. With Samuel's absence, Atlanta's starting corners, Demsond Trufant and Robert Alford, both young players, have no veteran leader to lean upon when the going gets tough.
In one of the more surprising moves this offseason, the Falcons released Pro Bowl-caliber safety Thomas DeCoud in favor of journeyman Dwight Lowery. The worst thing about this is that DeCoud signed on to join the division rival Carolina Panthers. To myself and to most other people, DeCoud is easily a better player than Lowery.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez finally retired this offseason after 17 years in the NFL, but what the Falcons did or didn't do makes this the third-worst mistake. Instead of finding a veteran who is capable of being a productive player, the Falcons instead ignored the tight ends in free agency and will have to count on Levine Toilolo or a rookie tight end to be Matt Ryan's security blanket.
The offensive line was the major reason why Atlanta slumped from the NFC Championship game in 2012 to a 4-12 season in 2013. The weakest link was right tackle Lamar Holmes, who looked completely overwhelmed last season and was benched for that. The Falcons will find a lineman early in May's draft, but failing to find one now is a big mistake.
Needing to shore up their new defensive line, the Falcons signed defensive end Tyson Jackson away from Kansas City with the hopes that he could become an effective 3-4 defensive end. When I've watched Jackson, all I saw was a player who played well in just one season which was a contract year for Kansas City. Jackson was previously known as a bust, and I don't see him changing that label in Atlanta.
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