Atlanta Falcons Biggest Draft Needs

Atlanta Falcons Dan Quinn (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons Dan Quinn (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons Devonta Freeman Ryan Schraeder (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

5. Running Back

The Falcons offense seems to be shifting. The additions of the two offensive guards and two primarily blocking tight ends, the Falcons are shifting to a more power run philosophy. With Tevin Coleman gone to San Francisco, the Falcons are down to Devonta Freeman, Brian Hill, and Ito Smith.

That sounds good, on paper. The only unknown is Freeman and his health. If Freeman is healthy, the running back position should be good enough for the Falcons. Another injury-plagued season from Freeman, and the Falcons are in big trouble. Coleman struggled mightily for the Falcons last season without the 1-2 punch of Freeman to compliment him.

And now with the Falcons shifting to a more power run offense, Freeman might not be able to withstand the beating. The NFL Draft has shown over and over again that running back talent can be found later in the draft.

The Falcons would be smart to have an insurance plan in place for Freeman. If the team can find a productive running back late in the draft, this team will be all the better for it. Freeman is a high priced, injury prone running back, who is getting older. That’s not how you build a smart team. Now, if Freeman comes back to have an All-Pro season, I’ll eat my words.

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But I’m more concerned about him being able to play a full season at this point of his career. Atlanta should look for a back who can compliment Freeman and Ito Smith. Maybe Brian Hill is the guy, but don’t be surprised if the Falcons bring in a guy to mix it up.