2013 NFL Offseason: Atlanta Falcons
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Atlanta Falcons (Last Year: 13-3)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: A-
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Atlanta's offense is pretty much set, save for some depth issues. What the Falcons need to concentrate on is their defense. They need help at every level. Two defensive linemen, a linebacker and two cornerbacks have to be obtained.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Thomas Dimitroff is a strong general manager who likes to attack needs without reaching. He utilized his strategy extremely well again this year.
The Falcons absolutely had to shore up two areas: defensive end and cornerback. Given what Dimitroff tends to do, it's no surprise that he doubled up on corners right away and then selected a pair of pass-rushers on Day 3.
The corners are both very good prospects. Dimitroff traded up eight spots for Desmond Trufant, which was probably a necessary move because a couple of teams drafting ahead of him needed a corner. Robert Alford provided much more value at No. 60, given that there were reports that he would be a "top-42 lock." The defensive ends, meanwhile, both fit the range. Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga complement each other very well.
Almost all of Atlanta's other selections were pretty solid. I wish the Falcons would've found some help at linebacker, and I wasn't crazy about Kemal Ishmael (No. 243), but that was an extremely late pick not worth fretting about.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
22. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: B+ Grade
I like Desmond Trufant a lot. I mocked him to the Falcons quite frequently at No. 30, but I guess Atlanta felt like he wouldn't fall to them. Moving up eight spots to land him is definitely acceptable. Trufant should be an instant starter across from Asante Samuel, as he fills a huge need.
Follow @walterfootball for updates.
60. Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana: A Grade
There was a report a few weeks ago that Robert Alford wouldn't make it past the 42nd pick. Well, he did, and the Falcons have to be thrilled. Alford, who provides solid value, really helps fortify the cornerback position along with Desmond Trufant. Atlanta's former greatest weakness now has to be considered a strength.
126. Malliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson: B Grade
The Falcons needed a defensive end despite signing Osi Umenyiora in free agency. Malliciah Goodman projects as a solid complement for the former Giant, and he fits the range.
133. Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford: B- Grade
This is a slight reach for Levine Toilolo, but that's not a big deal at the end of the fourth round. Toilolo could be viewed as the heir apparent for Tony Gonzalez whenever the future Hall of Famer chooses to retire.
153. Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU: B Grade
The Falcons continue to draft well. This is another pick that makes sense, as Atlanta had to double dip at the defensive end position. Stansly Mapgona fits the range as a fifth-round prospect.
243. Kemal Ishmael, DB, Central Florida: C+ Grade
Why not add another defensive back? Teams can never use enough of them. Kemal Ishmael will provide some help on special teams.
244. Zeke Motta, S, Notre Dame: B Grade
Speaking of defensive backs, Zeke Motta provides more value than Atlanta's other compensatory seventh-rounder. The Falcons didn't have much depth at safety.
249. Sean Renfree, QB, Duke: A- Grade
Sean Renfree is a very smart quarterback who could be developed and flipped into a mid-round pick or better. Why not take a chance on him?
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
The Falcons finally got over the hump and won in the playoffs. They were yards away from advancing to the Super Bowl, but Matt Ryan's shoulder injury - as well as a great 49er team - ruined those chances.
- Two Defensive Ends: The Falcons can't put any pressure on the quarterback whatsoever. John Abraham and Ray Edwards were released in the past six months. The front office could double dip at this position during the draft. Signed Osi Umenyiora
- Running Back: This is an obvious need. Michael Turner was cut, so the Falcons need to bring in a replacement. There will be plenty of backs available on Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft. Signed Steven Jackson
- Linebacker: The Falcons' play at linebacker must improve. Stephen Nicholas can't be on the field on all three downs, while Akeem Dent was a disappointment in his first season as a starter. The team needs to find a linebacker capable of playing all three downs with Sean Weatherspoon. Signed Brian Banks
- Defensive Tackle: Atlanta will look for a defensive tackle to complement Jonathan Babineaux this offseason. Someone like Kawann Short makes sense at the end of the first round this April.
- Cornerback: Depth is needed. Brent Grimes is a free agent coming off a torn Achilles. Dunta Robinson, meanwhile, was recently cut.
- Right Tackle: Tyson Clabo was a surprising release. He'll have to be replaced.
- Tight End: Tony Gonzalez will likely retire this offseason. If that's the case, Atlanta may draft a tight end early. If he comes back, a successor could be found. Re-signed Tony Gonzalez
- Interior Lineman: The Falcons will need a new right guard or center, depending on where they want to put Peter Konz. Todd McClure retired. Luckily, this upcoming draft is deep in terms of interior blockers. Re-signed Garrett Reynolds
- Left Tackle: Sam Baker finally got over his chronic back issues, which is why he played well in 2012. However, he's now a free agent who must be retained. Re-signed Sam Baker
- Strong Safety: William Moore is another free agent who has to be brought back. Re-signed William Moore
- Wide Receiver: Atlanta has to find receiving depth, especially with Roddy White turning 32 in November.
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams. Age: 30.
Signed with Falcons
Steven Jackson ran like he had plenty left in the tank this past season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry behind a battered offensive line. However, he turns 30 and has 2,385 career attempts under his belt. He could fall off at any moment.
Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants. Age: 31.
Signed with Falcons
Osi Umenyiora had some decent games this past season, but was mostly invisible. It's fair to wonder if Umenyiora's talents have eroded. He'll be 32 in November.
Atlanta Falcons Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
William Moore, S, Falcons. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Falcons (5 years, $30 million)
William Moore missed the final quarter of the season with a hamstring injury, but he performed extremely well in all facets otherwise.
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons. Age: 37.
Re-signed with Falcons
Tony Gonzalez somehow recorded 93 catches for 930 yards and eight touchdowns as a 36-year-old. He's expected to retire, but if he comes back, he'll still probably be able to play at a high level.
Sam Baker, OT, Falcons. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Falcons
Sam Baker was deemed a bust prior to this season because of years of underachieving, but he actually played well in 2012. The difference was that he was finally over his back problems. Remember though that those things tend to linger and resurface.
Tyson Clabo, OT, Falcons. Age: 31.
Signed with Dolphins
Tyson Clabo was Atlanta's top lineman last year, so even though he was due $4.5 million over the next three seasons, his release was a surprise. I do not have him rated highly, however, because he'll be 32 in October. He could begin to regress quite soon.
Todd McClure, C, Falcons. Age: 36.
Todd McClure is still getting the job done despite being in his mid-30s, but he could completely drop off soon.
Brent Grimes, CB, Falcons. Age: 30.
Signed with Dolphins (1 year)
Brent Grimes would be ranked much higher if he weren't coming off a torn Achilles' tendon. He'll be 30 in July, so it'll be tough for him to bounce back.
John Abraham, DE, Falcons. Age: 35.
John Abraham still got the job done as a 34-year-old last season, registering a team-high 10 sacks. He was cut because of his $7.25 million cap number. He can still start, but it's fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank, given that he'll be 35 in May.
Dunta Robinson, CB, Falcons. Age: 31.
Signed with Chiefs (3 years)
Dunta Robinson was due $8 million in 2013, so there was little doubt that he would be cut. Robinson plays the run well, but has been torched in coverage the past two seasons.
Mike Cox, FB, Falcons. Age: 28.
Mike Cox came on as a solid run-blocker at the end of the season.
Michael Turner, RB, Falcons. Age: 31.
Michael Turner is still capable of being a functional No. 2 goal-line back, but his days of being a starter are finished. He's lost all explosion.
- Garrett Reynolds, G, Falcons. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Falcons (2 years)
- Will Svitek, OT, Falcons. Age: 31. -- Signed with Patriots
- Vance Walker, DT, Falcons. Age: 26. -- Signed with Raiders
- Christopher Owens, CB, Falcons. Age: 26. -- Signed with Browns
- Chris Hope, S, Falcons. Age: 32.
- Michael Palmer (RFA), TE, Falcons. Age: 25.
- Lawrence Sidbury, DE, Falcons. Age: 27. -- Signed with Colts
- Mike Peterson, OLB, Falcons. Age: 37.
- Luke McCown, QB, Falcons. Age: 32. -- Signed with Saints (1 year)
- Antone Smith (RFA), RB, Falcons. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Falcons (2 years)
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 17
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 16
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 15
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 3
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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