Editor's note:The statements and opinions regarding players and/or potential future players in the article below are those of the AtlantaFalcons.com editorial staff and are not of the Atlanta Falcons' football personnel unless noted in a direct quote.
We'll know what the Falcons have done with the No. 8 overall NFL Draft in less than three weeks' time. Trade up, down or simply take a talent at their assigned spot? After tons of discussion, the big moment's nearly here.
That said, plenty of Bair Mails remain to talk about that topic and more as the Falcons continue to reshape their roster with extensions, free-agent signings and draft assets.
- Official free agency signings: S Jessie Bates III, DL David Onyemata, LB Kaden Elliss, QB Taylor Heinicke, CB Mike Hughes, LB Tae Davis, WR Mack Hollins; DL Joe Gaziano, WR Scotty Miller, DL Calais Campbell, OL Josh Miles
- Key learnings, themes from Falcons approach to free agency
- Why Calais Campbell ultimately decided to join the Falcons
- ESPN has Falcons taking Oregon CB at No. 8 overall in NFL Draft
There are several scenarios playing out in Falcons minds, including needs after the main wave of free agency, the prospect of trading up or even standing pat and taking an offensive lineman.
We'll address all that and more in this Friday afternoon mailbag.
Jon Wach from Buford, Ga.
What are your thoughts on the Calais Campbell signing? I know he's in his late 30s and is a good leader, but can he still help us on the field?
Bair: Appreciate the question, Jon. To answer it in a word: Yes. I think he's still got. Maybe not at his All-Pro best, but Calais Campbell adds tons of production value to the Falcons defensive front.
His addition makes them hard to handle while working with David Onyemata and Grady Jarrett, especially on early downs. The dude primarily plays end and stands 6-foot-8 and 300 pounds. That's, well, massive. And he'll play need to the aforementioned massive individuals to for a wall in run defense. Don't forget that Campbell can still be good as a pass rusher, too. He had 5.5 sacks last season, only a half-sack less than Jarrett’s team best.
It's a big add that changes the look of the Falcons defensive front, adding a well-liked person who makes others around him better. I don't see tons of downside to the move, especially with him working on a one-year deal. If it doesn't work, you haven't lined up future dead cap space and you can play younger edge rushers if so inclined. Something tells me that, even in that instance, Campbell will be a quality mentor and locker-room presence.
Socrates Liabotes from London, Ontario, Canada
What are your thoughts on moving up in the draft for Will Anderson jr. Or do teams not usually move up for non-quarterbacks? Love to hear your thoughts on this!
Bair: Yes, teams will move up for non-quarterbacks. That could certainly happen for Alabama's Will Anderson, widely considered the best edge rusher in this draft. There are a few teams up top comfortable at quarterback, namely Arizona at No. 3 and (possibly) Seattle at No. 5 and Detroit at No. 6. You might have to go up to the third spot to get Anderson and that price would be pretty steep. Not a fan of that, especially in a deep class of edge rushers.
The other issue, all the teams I just mentioned need pass rushers. You'd think they'd stand pat at take Anderson if they loved him. I think it would take a unique situation for the Falcons to go get him, so much so that I'd consider it highly unlikely.
Alan Davidson from big Spring, Tex.
Thanks for this great outlet, and all of your insights. I read today that Frank Clark is still available. I think he would be a great addition to our defense and will allow us to draft the outstanding cornerback at pick number eight if he's there. I think these two additions would really be for our defense with all the other additions that we made during free agency. What are your thoughts?
Bair: Well, Alan, I'm a big Frank Clark fan. He's quality and clutch. That’s a good combo. The Falcons still have some cap space available – beyond what they need to sign the draft class – but I'm not sure they'll run out and add someone like that pre-draft. They'll want to see what they end up getting and then can backfill a need after the draft.
Now let's put ourselves in Clark's shoes. If I were him, I wouldn't want to sign somewhere before the draft only to have my new team add a first-rounder at my position. It behooves everyone to wait, but in no way am I ready to eliminate the prospect of adding another veteran edge rusher.
I asked Terry Fontenot about adding one in general at the NFL owners meetings, and he said the Falcons never want to feel desperate. At that position, they shouldn't. They've got depth, especially after the Campbell signing.
Bill Whitten from Killen, Ala.
Scott, maybe I've overlooked it but has anyone asked about the 2 top offensive linemen, Paris Johnson and Peter Skoronski? Do you think with a top defensive end, top corner back and even Jalen Carter likely available at # 8 there's any possibility one of these linemen would be selected?
Bair: That would seem to be an unpopular move, but it's not impossible. I'd consider it less likely after the Kaleb McGary re-signing. They Falcons seem set at four spots, with an opportunity to backfill the guard spot or, maybe more likely, let Matt Hennessy take ownership there. Peter Skoronski could be a mainstay at the position and dominate whenever he plays, which speaks to the Falcons commitment to the front. So do the Lindstrom and McGary retentions.
If Christian Gonzalez or Devon Witherspoon or a top edge rusher is a tossup with the offensive linemen on the board, I personally might be inclined to go to a position of greater immediate need.
Call for questions
Let's reload the mailbag in time for Monday's edition of Bair Mail. Submit your questions right here.
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