The 2015 NFL league year begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET and with it comes the start of free agent signings throughout the league.
A lot has transpired in the past year, including a leadership change as the team hired a new head coach, Dan Quinn. Since arriving in February, Quinn has hired his staff and partnered with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff to evaluate the team's current roster and assessed pro prospects at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.
Both Quinn and Dimitroff have been very clear about improving their team via the draft and free agency with a tactical approach.
"When you look at a guy, you're trying to see and picture the things that he can do," Quinn said. "That's what I saw with guys on the current roster, and I was fired up about them, and then as we add to it, whether it's the draft or free agency, all the unique stuff that a guy has, (we'll think about) how we can use him and feature him."
Included in the uniqueness of each player the Falcons brass is looking for is a versatility that can add a lot more value to the team.
Defensively speaking, for example, during a typical season, a team's nickel defense may play up to as many as 500 to 550 snaps out of the 1,000-1,100 plays, so finding a player who is able to stay on the field for two or three downs, switching positions if needed, benefits the entire unit.
During his time as Seattle's defensive coordinator, Quinn saw versatility at its best with players like Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and cornerback Jeremy Lane, each playing in different spots as needed, causing matchup nightmares for opposing offenses. Such is the blueprint Quinn and company will use in Atlanta, making the most out of versatile players.
"That's kind of my process now," Quinn said. "Finding all the unique guys on the team now and who else we can add to it and let's find all the things that they do well, and let's try to feature it."