Draft needs: Atlanta Falcons

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
3:07
PM ET
With the scouting combine officially starting Thursday, let’s go ahead and take a look at team-by-team needs around the NFC South. We’ll go in alphabetical order and start with the Atlanta Falcons.
  1. Defensive end. John Abraham is coming off a big season, but he’s nearing the end of his career. Even if Abraham continues to play well, the Falcons could use another pass-rushing threat to take some blocking attention off Abraham.
  2. Wide receiver. The Falcons have one of the best in the game in Roddy White. Fellow starter Michael Jenkins is a complementary player and not really a big-play threat. The Falcons had hoped Harry Douglas would emerge as a playmaker in the slot last season. It might be time to get a deep threat for Matt Ryan.
  3. Running back. The Falcons have been riding Michael Turner hard, and Jason Snelling has established himself as a quality backup. But Jerious Norwood has been injured much of his career and never really has produced. The Falcons need a speed back to work into the rotation with Turner and Snelling.
  4. Offensive line. This remains a question mark because we don’t know exactly what will happen with free agency. But the Falcons could end up losing several starters. They prepared for that by drafting two offensive linemen last year, but this position could be in play. Much of the talk is about the interior of the offensive line, but we don’t know if the Falcons are thinking it’s time to replace Sam Baker at left tackle. If they are, this position could move up a few spots on the list.
  5. Linebacker. Mike Peterson is aging and Stephen Nicholas could leave through free agency. The Falcons have Sean Weatherspoon and Curtis Lofton as two long-term starters, but it might be time to get a third guy.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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