Hard Knocks League Watch Atlanta Falcons Special Edition Hard Knocks Atlanta Falcons are led by the active assassin xxkimura who has found his way into a 6-7 record with a misfortune of a 5 game losing skid. This would not at all be a complete implosion by the franchise with a manageable schedule in the Final 3 Weeks. Two road trips (Minnesota, Philadelphia) will be a challenge, but a home meeting with the newly acquired Carolina Panthers to close the season could give the fan base some hope going into next year. This team has been fairly average at all assets of the football game, but have excelled tremendously at defending the run. Ranked 2nd in the league, Atlanta has found the formula to stuff the run and force opposing teams to beat them in the air, which, unfortunately for the Falcons....has been done. Disregarding all potential FA's that need to be resigned, this roster is a bit of (in a non-harassing matter), a bit of a copy and paste, thrift shop bunch. With an abundance of Centers, Atlanta has Centers playing LG, C, and RG. As well on defense, MLBs are starting at LOLB and MLB, with Sean Weatherspoon being the lone true OLB in his natural position. Injuries have been a bit of an issue for Atlanta, as currently DE Margus Hunt, CB Tramon Williams, and MLB Geno Cornelius are out, with Williams being placed on the IR. Atlanta is making their hodgepodge work, but they've not found the results as of late. Matt Ryan has been offered to the sharks, mainly to see what he would be able to pull in Trade wise and see what his value is. I'm not sure they would part with him, but could be looking to mold a QB into the future. With only Blaine Gabbert being the other QB on roster, Atlanta could be looking for a change of pace. Gabbert may not have the pocket presence of Ryan, but he is a bit more mobile, and that could be the direction the ownership has for this team. Time will tell. The running backs group is pretty good for the Dirty Birds, with Ex-Charger Ryan Matthews leading the charge. Quizzzzzz Rodgers, Vic Ballard, and Stephens-Howling round out the group, which make this a pretty star studded backfield. Ballard also finds himself lining up at FB now and then, but the ex-two way player Owen Marecic of Stanford has been a key contributor to the offense. The Receiving group is led by none other than Julio Jones, an absolute STUD at WR. Behind him, a field of average to good WRs in Joseph Morgan, Clyde Gates, Brandon Tate, and Jason Avant. There is good experience in the WRs, which could pay dividends in clutch situations. Brandon Myers leads the TEs, with Jermaine Gresham sitting in the #2 spot. Again, making for a household name group of receivers. The offensive line is one that could find the ball being snapped from 1 of 3 locations. Centers run a muck on this team, and it is no secret that they are looking to shop these keystones. Rookie David Parks should remain on the squad, barring any compete Tom Foolery by the owner, and he will be the key figure of the Offensive Line. Abdulai Umana is in his 2nd year of play, and has done a phenomenal job at the LT position. Justin Blalock is that best natural LG on the team, and Garrett Reynolds holds that card for the RG position. Nate Garner has switched from LT to RT, but Jeremy Trueblood also is on the roster with his 9 years of experience. With Margus Hunt being injured, Everette Brown holds down the left side of the defensive line, with Stansly Maponga being his counter part on the right. The interior looks ugly if you looked at it on paper. Jonathan Babineux is nearly out the door, but Philip Vee is a new comer in his 2nd year looking to make a difference. Glenn Dorsey has fallen off a bit, but we know what he is capable of. At LB, Jamari Lattimore, a natural MLB, plays LOLB, with Joe Mays taking over the middle with the injury to Cornelius. On the right side comes Sean Weatherspoon, who has done fairly well in this position. Not great, but does his job. This LB group is a real cut and paste operation, but with the #2 Run Defense in the league...it works. The secondary is also very talented, with Desmond Trufant being the #1 CB and Robert Alford being the #2. This makes for a very young group, that is already very talented. This should be something to be fearful of for the Atlanta Falcons opponents going forward, as these two will only get better. Robert McClain is currently listed 3, with Phillips Adams at 4, helping in Nickle and Dime situations. Chris Sentef is a stud at FS, as is William Moore at SS. This secondary is very talented and should remain as such going forward. Everything tells me in my gut that Atlanta will go DT, in hopes to continue to add to an already talented defense and bolstering a bit of a low point in that group, however, I'm not sure that will happen, at least not in the first round, but depending on who is available, I would not be at all shocked. The rest of the Defensive Line is pretty young, and the LB group has done well. However, there could be a snag for a LB here. Offensively, it depends on where they go with Matt Ryan. I don't think he will be in another uniform next year, but I could be wrong. If that happens, I believe they stick with Gabbert and maybe draft a QB in a later round. The running game is pretty talented, and I'm not sure they would address that HERE in the draft or at all. Looking at the receiving group, Atlanta could look to bring in another very good WR to make the defense take some attention off of Julio. However, that also good be done at TE, which is pretty deep in this draft. The offensive line may be the spot that needs to most work, but certainly not at C. If they keep at least 2 of the Big 3 Centers, they won't need to look at OG, but if it is OLine first, Guard is the likely position of interest. OLB Evan Levingston - Arkansas Despite having a talented group of LBs, Free Agency and Age could claim some of them, and in part OLB would be the biggest effected. It is no secret that Cornelious is the rock in the middle, with Joe Mays likely to start play OLB as well, with Weatherspoon on the right side. However, I do think this ownership has a soft spot for LBs, and would have a hard time passing up on such a talent as Levingston, who could easily be a Top 10 pick. IF THEY MOVE UP Look for Atlanta to get in the race for one of the Top 3 TEs. Myers and Gresham have done well, but Gresham is on his contract year. I think TE is where they would love to go, but may not be able to here. It may not be worth it as the TE class is pretty deep. Also, look for a possible DT if they move up higher. IF THEY MOVE DOWN They could still draft OLB later, with Fabian Helm being another good talent. The further they would fall, the closer they get to looking into a 2nd round TE or DT. DT Dareyon Sharp could be attractive to Atlanta, and he very well could be the pick here over an OLB. That would be VERY possible. Also keep an eye out for a possible OG such as Dave Louis-Jean or another offensive weapon at HB or WR.