The espn.com NFL NFC South blog has the Falcons going defense with their first pick.
“The best way to improve a defense overall is to start with the pass rush. In that area, the Falcons, who have the 24th pick in the first round, have nothing but John Abraham. They could get him some help and score some major points with the hometown fans if they can land Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson.”
[Or Plan B] “Drafting so late in the first round means the Falcons can’t lock in on any one position. If Johnson or another quality pass-rusher isn’t available, it will be easy for Atlanta to move in another direction. The Falcons let outside linebackers Keith Brooking and Michael Boley go through free agency. Although they brought in free agent Mike Peterson, they need another starting outside linebacker. USC’s Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews could fit nicely.”
I am not 100% sold on the Falcons taking a LB early in the draft, at least not with the first two picks. This article (another one from the espn.com NFL NFC South blog) points out the Falcons do have a few options at LB. Let’s hope they do not get desperate and reach.
I think the Falcons have to go d-line and shut down corner (as if those are a dime a dozen) with their first two picks, and then go LB with their third or fourth pick. Atlanta should only go LB with one of their first two picks if they are sure they can get a starter, and at the same time they still have to figure out how to plug holes on the d-line and in the secondary.
I am sure Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff are up to the challenge. Should be an interesting draft.