I'd go with Ryan Schraeder and Chris Chester. Schraeder, a college free agent signing in 2013, surprised a lot of people last year with his strong play at right tackle. As injuries mounted throughout the offensive line, the Valdosta State alum provided some much-needed stability at a crucial position — and the new coaching staff is well-aware. Although he may not get much attention outside Atlanta, Pro Football Focus recently named Schraeder the Falcons' "Secret Superstar" thanks to his 7.1 overall grade in 2014.
Signed recently to play guard, Chester will have little trouble adjusting to his new surroundings. The veteran worked with Kyle Shanahan in Washington and is familiar with the outside zone scheme Atlanta will employ moving forward. Not only is he familiar with the ZBS — he's thrived in it: He registered a 13.4 rating in 2012, the 15th best mark among qualifying OGs. If he returns to form, and if Schraeder continues to impress, the Falcons' O-line should be much better than it's been in recent memory.
I think any time you have a talent like Julio Jones at wide receiver, you have a chance to stretch the field as well as anyone. And Matt Ryan is no slouch when it comes to deep passing: The veteran QB finished last year with the eighth-best PFF grade on throws between 31 and 40 yards. If the running game improves — which would subsequently force defenses to be more honest — the Falcons should be able to open things up more than have in the past.
It'll be a while before we know if the offensive line will improve, but fans should expect a more balanced attack nonetheless. Devonta Freeman is poised to improve upon his rookie season, and Tevin Coleman — who racked up more than 2,000 yards last year at Indiana — could be effective from the get-go. Those two may eventually grow into one of the league's best one-two punches at halfback. And we can't forget about Devonta Freeman, now healthy coming off a broken leg.
That depends on how Leonard Hankerson and Justin Hardy look. If both prove to be effective options in 2015, Devin Hester will be limited in the offense. But, even if that's the case, he could still make an occasional impact on a screen, end-around or intermediate route.
Grady Jarrett has loads of potential and should be here for the long haul, but I'd keep expectations low for 2015. As you mentioned, Jonathan Babineaux and Ra'Shede Hageman are penciled in at the 3-tech; Paul Soliai, a far more massive athlete than Jarrett, should start at the other tackle position.
Still, I do think we could see Jarrett and Babineaux or Hageman on the field together when Soliai needs rest. Bryan Cox is optimistic that Jarrett can make an appreciable impact as a rookie; however, my sense is the D-line coach wants to bring his new protégé along slowly.
William Moore will take the strong safety spot, and I think Ricardo Allen will start at free safety. Allen, a converted CB, has impressed the new coaching staff with his transition to FS and has looked good during padless practices. Charles Godfrey should be in the mix as well.
If I had to guess now, I'd say Robert Alford earns the No. 2 cornerback job behind Desmond Trufant. The team has many reasons to be excited about rookie Jalen Collins, but, with only 10 collegiate starts under his belt, he may not be ready for a significant role when Week 1 approaches. While that could certainly change later in the year, it'd take a remarkable training camp and preseason for him to earn a starting job in September.
Kemal Ishmael has also received looks at FS, but I view him as a SS moving forward. His size, physicality and run-stopping ability make him a solid option behind Moore, who's missed 17 games in the last four seasons. Given what he accomplished in 2014, and given Moore's injury troubles, it might make more sense for Ishmael to focus on strong safety rather than shift to a new position.
This is an easy one: an orangutan.