Jay Adams: We'll start right off with the big topic. Is this the perfect draft to need a pass rusher and be in the top 10?
Pete Schrager: Yes. You have a bunch of different types. You have a Shane Ray (Missouri), you have a Vic Beasley (Clemson), you have Dante Fowler (Florida) who does it from a different position. There's very rich pass rushing and outside linebacker options. The challenge is, at No. 8, how do you pick the right one and how do you make sure he fits our defense best? I feel confident Dan Quinn will know which body type, which kind of guy fits the team.
JA: What are your overall thoughts on Dan Quinn?
PS: Every time I've met with him, I feel the same feeling I have with a Pete Carroll or a Gus Bradley or anyone who's been in that organization where it's super positive, super high-energy, super contagious, and the players like that. This isn't a knock at Mike Smith at all because I think Mike Smith is one of the most beloved coaches ever to walk through any organization — those players loved him — but it's a different kind of energy. It's very positive. It's all kinetic. It's 'let's go, let's go, let's go.' As far as that defense goes, there might not have been any better defense in the past 10 years in football (than Seattle)
JA: How do you view the upcoming effort for the Falcons? Would "rebuilding" be a word you'd use?
PS: It has to start from the inside out. The offensive line, obviously, stung with injuries — that hurts. You need to build from the draft and free agency this year. It's there in the skill positions. I think Matt Ryan's a top-10 quarterback. I think Julio (Jones) and Roddy (White) are elite wide receivers. The running backs are fine. The defensive backfield is good. It's just the front seven, and that's where it starts.
JA: From the running back perspective, do you think the Falcons have that guy that can carry the ball 25 times a game on the roster?
PS: I'm not sure they do and I'm not sure they need one. (Offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) last year, they cut Ben Tate in Cleveland midway through the season and they got such production out of Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. They found guys, and I think the way Kyle looks at it is, 'Let's get a variety of backs and throw a different bunch of looks at you.' And I think you guys have that. I think the Falcons have that in-house. It depends on who they bring in, what veteran, what Steven (Jackson) does — all that stuff is all up in the air. There are a lot of different variety of body types and running backs in that type of offense.
JA: What's your take on a guy like Shanahan? I think he's working with the best quarterback he's ever had as a coordinator.
PS: I am so excited to see what he does. I'm a Kyle fan. RGII came in (to Washington) and people said, 'Oh, the Kyle Shanahan offense wasn't working.' Kyle had to build that offense. That was the offense that they were dealt. I don't think Robert could have done anything else than what Kyle built for them that first year. Then in Cleveland, it was a totally different look than the offense with Robert Griffen once you had Brian Hoyer, who's a veteran quarterback who doesn't have the athletic ability. When Johnny (Manziel) comes in, it had a different look there. I think, if you look at what Kyle Shanahan did with Matt Schaub in 2009 and 2010, there might have been — I mean, there was (Drew) Brees and (Aaron) Rodgers and all those guys, but Schaub was in the conversation. Matt Ryan's a much better quarterback than Schaub.
JA: How can Shanahan's mission to make opposing defense fear the Falcons' deep ball come to fruition?
PS: He just missed the boat on DeSean Jackson in Washington, he didn't get Josh Gordon last year, so I think, for Kyle, he hasn't really had — look, Pierre Garcon had 105 catches in Kyle's offense (in Washington) and Pierre Garcon to me is not a No. 1 receiver. If you give him Julio and Roddy and even Harry Douglas, those are three legitimate NFL wide receivers. I'm excited to see what Kyle can do. Matt Ryan's put up huge number, but he might put up even bigger numbers (with Kyle).