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3 Vacancies the Falcons Can Address in Free Agency

The Falcons addressed a variety of needs during the first day of the new league year, signing ex-Cowboy Jack Crawford and a trio of players from the 2016 club. But, like every team, they still have areas to address – through more veteran additions, through the draft, through college free agency.

Here's a look at some of the positions Atlanta could fill in the weeks ahead.

Fullback: Atlanta no longer has a fullback on its roster now that Patrick DiMarco has joined the Bills. DiMarco was a vital part of Atlanta's outside zone blocking scheme, regularly taking on linebackers to open up holes for Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. He was helpful in pass protection, too, often giving Matt Ryan space to step up in the pocket. It'll be interesting to see who the Falcons target to replace him, and it'll be interesting to see how the fullback position is valued in Steve Sarkisian's offense.

ESPN’s Vaughn McClure wrote that Atlanta could go after former Bill and 2012 Pro Bowler Jerome Felton to replace DiMarco. The 30-year-old's run block grade on Pro Football Focus has been positive in seven of his last eight campaigns.

Kick/Punt Returner: According to multiple reports, Eric Weems is off to the Titans to reunite with former Falcons coaches Mike Mularkey and Terry Robiskie, and his departure means Atlanta will have to search for a new kick/punt returner, or multiple returners, in 2017. Last season, Atlanta was 11th in in the NFL in kick return average (22.6 yards) and tied for seventh in punt return average (9.6 yards).

Inside the organization, Justin Hardy, Tevin Coleman, Taylor Gabriel and Devin Fuller have experience in this area. And with head coach Dan Quinn's emphasis on speed, don't be surprised if more return options are added as the offseason rolls on.

Linebacker:Paul Worrilow, who led the Falcons in tackles in 2013, 2014 and 2015, signed with the Lions at the start of free agency. Though his role diminished in 2016 – rookies Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell started at MIKE and SAM, respectively – he was an emotional leader, a reliable backup and useful on kick and punt coverage.

There are still plenty of linebackers on the open market, including Philip Wheeler and Sean Weatherspoon, and the draft is chock full of exciting prospects at that position.

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