Another day, another expert saying the Falcons need to look at defense in the NFL Draft.
Haven’t we heard this before?
A year after selecting franchise quarterback Matt Ryan and left tackle Sam Baker in the first round, Atlanta looked toward defense — selecting all but one player on that side of the ball in 2009.
Should we expect more of the same in 2010 as the team looks to rebound from ranking 26th in sacks and 21st in overall defense?
Charles Davis of NFL Network thinks so.http://video.atlantafalcons.com/video/279759/279759_2010-04-01-205441.flv
“They have to get that defense going,” Davis said, referencing the pass rush and John Abraham’s drop from 16.5 to 5.5 sacks from ‘08 to ‘09. “I think you have to look for a pass rusher to help that out.”
Davis spoke on NFL Network as part of the “State of the Falcons” segment leading into the draft and — in the Falcons case — offseason conditioning.
Fellow analyst Jamie Dukes said the Falcons will only go as far as their quarterback will take them. With his third professional year looming, it’s easy to see why more should ride on Ryan’s shoulders.
Dukes doesn’t balk at Ryan’s 14 interceptions in 2009 but said the signal-caller should offset that with closer to 30 touchdown passes.
“If they’re going to be an elite team, “Matty Ice” has to be the catalyst,” Dukes said.
Ryan was named Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press after leading the Falcons to an 11-5 record and playoff appearance in 2008. He missed three games last year but threw 22 touchdowns. He guided the team to three-straight victories to end the year and wrap up the first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history.
But, for now, the Falcons have to focus on adding younger talent.
The NFL Draft is but a few weeks away and Davis and Dukes agree Senior Bowl MVP Brandon Graham, a hard-nosed defensive end, and versatile linebacker Sean Weatherspoon could be available when Atlanta goes on the clock.
Here we go with the defense again…