(AP photo) FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Armed with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Falcons are certainly in position to add a franchise-altering type of player on Saturday.
That's the good news for Falcons fans.
The not-so-good news is that the Falcons are picking third for a reason – and coming off a 4-12 season means they need to add more than just one impact player this weekend.
So, what are the Falcons' biggest needs heading into the annual draft? Let's dive in and take a look.
*2008 draft picks:
- Round 1: 3rd overall
- Round 2: 34th, 37th, 55th
- Round 3: 68th
- Round 4: 103rd
- Round 5: 138th
- Round 6: 172nd
- Round 7: 212th, 232nd
Armed with 10 picks heading into the draft, the Falcons should be able to address a number of areas of need. The double-digit number selections also give first-year general manager Thomas Dimitroff some flexibility to move around (possibly trading up).
Biggest offseason needs:
- Defensive line
- Offensive line
Should the Falcons pick a quarterback at No. 3 – the other quarterbacks currently on the Falcons roster are Chris Redman, D.J. Shockley and Joey Harrington – it only magnifies the point that Atlanta still needs to revamp its line. And while offensive and defensive tackle are real positions of need, Atlanta did spend some money this offseason on the latter.
Prospects to watch:
- Quarterback Matt Ryan, Boston College
- Quarterback Joe Flacco, Delaware
- Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, LSU
- Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, USC
- Offensive tackle Jake Long, Michigan
- Offensive tackle Ryan Clady, Boise State
- Linebacker Keith Rivers, USC
- Linebacker Jerod Mayo, Tennessee
It's no secret that the two players most often linked to the Falcons – and the ones most draft experts have pegged in the No. 3 spot – are Boston College's Matt Ryan and LSU's Glenn Dorsey. Michael Vick's off-field issues have left Atlanta without a proven quarterback, and with Grady Jackson and Rod Coleman no longer on the roster, the team also needs to bolster the interior of their defensive line.
**Picks prior to draft and any subsequent trades. *