Atlanta Falcons, Def, Falcons
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2016 Outlook: Do Not DraftLast updated on Aug-04-2016 by Shawn Childs
The Falcons did show growth in their run defense. They finished 14th in rushing yards allowed (1680) with ball carriers gaining 4.0 yards per carry. Atlanta had high risk defending the goal line in the run game as they allowed 20 rushing TDs. They ended up 18th in passing yards allowed (3882) with only 19 passing TDs and 15 Ints. Their biggest issue was their pass rush (19 sacks). Their best defender is CB Desmond Trufant, who is an asset in pass coverage with strength in run support. CB Robert Alford tends to be streaky leading to bad games at times. He finished about league average in pass coverage while being a weak link against the run. Rookie Keanu Neal is expected to start at strong safety. He has a chance to be an impact player while adding strength to the run defense. Neal should be serviceable in pass coverage as well. S Ricardo Allen did an excellent job in pass coverage in 2015 with no value against the run. LB Brooks Reed came in below the league average in all areas in 2015 while missing time with a groin issue. He didn't have one sack last year with minimal tackles (17) after showing more upside earlier in his career with Houston. LB Deion Jones should move into the starting lineup as well after being picked in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. His best value will be his speed, but he needs a clean run at ball carriers until he adds more strength and bulk. LB Vic Beasley had risk against the run while posting four sacks in his first season in the league after being selected in the first round in 2015. DE Derrick Shelby only had nine sacks over the last three years with the Dolphins, but he does upgrade this pass rush while improving their run defense. DE Adrian Clayborn looks like a rotation guy due to his failure as run defender. He projects as league average pass rusher. Clayborn played his best ball in his rookie season with Tampa (7.5 sacks). DT Ra'Shede Hageman has a liability against the run last year while only delivering one sack. DT Grady Jarrett is expected to move into the starting lineup after offering league average value in all areas in part-time snaps last year. The lack of talent on the defensive line really hurts this defense in all areas. I don't see a ton of growth in sacks or pressure on the QB, which limits the chance at turnovers while killing any upside in Fantasy value. They have three strong players in the secondary while their linebacking core looks to be in transition. Atlanta's defense will only offer a couple of games where that might be playable in the Fantasy market.
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