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NFL Network analyst: Falcons 'badly' need pass rush help

As Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn spend the next few months evaluating their roster, it's likely their start with the defensive end position.

And here's why.


The Falcons finished the 2018 season No. 22 in the league in sacks with 37. In 2019, the Falcons finished No. 29 in the NFL with 28 sacks.

When the Falcons have made the postseason, they've finished in the top half in the league in sacks: No. 13 in 2017 with 39 and No. 16 in 2016 with 34.

"I think this is a team that badly needs a pass-rusher," said NFL Network analyst Mike Garafolo."

Getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks is paramount in Atlanta's defense and there was no greater display of that then when the Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints on the road and sacked Drew Brees six times.

The Falcons are in search of more "game-wreckers" on defense and whether it's through the draft or free agency, they'll address their roster accordingly so.

Atlanta could also be thin at the defensive end position depth-wise if the Falcons let Vic Beasley and Adrian Clayborn hit free agency. Beasley led the Falcons in sacks with 8 and Clayborn finished his ninth year in the league with four sacks.

Takk McKinley and Allen Bailey would be the only starting defensive ends on the roster after ending the season on injured reserve.

The Falcons are counting on McKinley entering the 2020 season healthy and have high expectations for their former first-round pick. McKinley played in 14 games in 2019 and recorded 3.5 sacks.

Bailey was more of a factor in the interior of the defensive line and that's likely where he'll stay as Dimitroff said he was pleased with the way he and Tyeler Davison played last season.

"Vic Beasley, you're probably looking at him playing somewhere else this next season," Garafolo said. "There could be some guys available. You could go as high as Jadeveon Clowney potentially if he hits the free agent market. There will be guys available for them, maybe this is the splash year we're looking for. I really do believe this team believes they are ready to strike again. If they're active in free agency it won't surprise me."

Free agency and the draft are quickly approaching and you can expect the Falcons to be right in the mix of things as they look to be a contender in 2020.