LB, DL Positions Atlanta Could Target in the Draft

After making a number of key signings during free agency, the Falcons' draft plan is becoming more clear. Here's a look at some of the positions Atlanta is likely to target in Chicago.

Safety: Kemal Ishmael might be able to take over William Moore's old post at strong safety, but the Falcons need to give him some competition. Robenson Therezie might help in that regard; a free agent who fits Dan Quinn's scheme could be added, too. Nevertheless, there are some intriguing safety prospects in this year's class, and selecting the right one could change the dynamic of Atlanta's defense.

Guard: It's still unclear who will start at right guard in 2016. Chris Chester could be brought back, but at 33 years old, he isn't a long-term option. This draft class features a lot of interior O-linemen who are built for Atlanta's offensive scheme, and many of them can be found in the later rounds.

Tight End: Jacob Tamme is under contract for 2016, but like Chester, his age (31) will catch up with him in the not-too-distant future. Drafting a tight end who can stretch the field would certainly make Matt Ryan happy. It'd take some pressure off Julio Jones, as well.

Defensive End: Atlanta finished 32nd in sacks last season, and adding guys who can disrupt the passer remains a top priority for the front office. There are plenty of talented defensive ends in the upcoming draft—Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah, Noah Spence, to name a few—and the Falcons are undoubtedly scouting them hard.

Linebacker: Atlanta has a number of vacant spots at linebacker—including the starting job at WLB, previously occupied by Justin Durant. It's not a coincidence that all 10 writers had the Falcons using their first round pick on a linebacker in our latest mock draft monitor. Given the current roster makeup, it wouldn't be surprising if the front office used two of its early picks on this position. The Falcons were in a similar situation in 2013, when they used their first and second round choices on Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, respectively.

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