Mailbag: Atlanta Falcons edition
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
We'll go in alphabetical order (by city) today and start our series of team-by-team mailbags with the Atlanta Falcons.
OG in Ft. Lauderdale, FL writes: I see a lot of people mocking Brandon Pettigrew to be drafed by the Falcons. Don't you think LB and DT (i think there are no first round Safeties) would be a more pressing need, ala Clay Matthews, Evander Hood, Brian Cushing, or Peria Jerry? From my perspective, TEs like Shawn Nelson, Travis Beckum, and Chase Coffman will be available in the later rounds while there is more of a dropoff in LBs and DTs after round 3. In my opinion, wouldn't it be better to draft LB, then S, then DT or DT, then S, then LB and pickup a TE in round 4 or 5?
Pat Yasinskas: I know there are a fair amount of people thinking Brandon Pettigrew will end up with the Falcons. But I'm with you and I don't think it will happen. That's no knock on Pettigrew. He's the best tight end in the draft. But I just can't see the Falcons taking a tight end in the first round. Like you said, they've got bigger needs on defense. Also, I just don't see them changing Mike Mularkey's offense to make the tight end a huge part of the passing game. Yes, they might want to get a little more out of their tight ends as receivers, but they can find a guy who can help in that area in the middle rounds.
Allen in New York writes: Hey Pat, do you think the Falcons should get another cornerback in free agency. There seems to be too many holes to fill in the draft and there seems to be a decent market still out there for corners. I just dont see Chris Houston as a No.1 and I like Chievus Jackson, but I dont know if he is ready for a starting role. Im hoping Atlanta tries to sign a veteran. What are your thoughts?
Pat Yasinskas: Not sure you'll see the Falcons add a cornerback in free agency. If anything, it might happen in the draft. That's just the way the Falcons are operating now -- building through the draft. I agree, there is some uncertainty at cornerback. But Mike Smith and his staff might be higher on Chris Houston and Chevis Jackson than the rest of us are and they see those guys every day in practice. They've also got Von Hutchins returning from injury and Brent Grimes back. Not a desperate situation, but I would like to see the Falcons add one more cornerback to the mix.
Carter in Virginia Beach writes: Does the Atlanta coaching staff feel confident in the linebackers they already have or do you think they will try to add one in the draft or late in free agency?
Pat Yasinskas: I think it's very possible the Falcons use their first pick on a linebacker such as Clay Matthews or Brian Cushing. The coaching staff is sold on middle linebacker Curtis Lofton and probably will make him an every-down player. The Falcons signed Mike Peterson, who has a history with Smith in Jacksonville and he appears to be set as one of the outside linebackers. There are also high hopes that Stephen Nicholas can step into a starting role or be a key backup. But I think you'll see the Falcons add a linebacker somewhere early in the draft.
G Falcons in Miami writes: I'm hearing tony scheffler the tight end from the broncos wants a trade do you see us the falcons being interested in him and why are not signing free agents such as tank johnson or other DTs to help us at the line?
Pat Yasinskas: I don't think either truly fits the profile of what the Falcons are trying to do. They want to build through the draft.
Pro from College Park, GA writes: Pat, keepp the good work! Every year the Falcons say they are going to use Norwood more in the running game but all seem to use him about the same which is not alot. Do you think we will see more of him this year in a 2 back system, especially after the year Turner had. Or more of the same?
Pat Yasinskas: I think it's critical that the Falcons get Jerious Norwood more carries this year. Michael Turner is a workhorse, but the Falcons pushed the envelope by running him so much last year. They know that and they know they've got to lighten his load a bit. I believe they'll work on getting Norwood more playing time this year.
Jeff in Atlanta writes: Hey Pat, why have the Falcons not given Roddy White a contract extension yet? Is there any logic in waiting until the closing weeks of next season? I don't see any, and I think I speak for the majority of Falcons fans when I say: If the front office doesnt get him re-signed there will be riots in Atlanta. - Thanks
Pat Yasinskas: I think the Falcons are quietly working toward getting Roddy White locked up for the long term. In fact, I think that's a priority and part of the reason they've kept a decent chunk of salary-cap room open. I think you could see something happen with White before the season starts.