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Atlanta Falcons' top draft picks add beef to running game

  • By NFL.com
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After getting stuffed in several short-yardage situations last year, the Atlanta Falcons used the team's first three picks in the NFL draft to bulk up. 

"We waited a whole round to jump into our offensive-linemen sweepstakes, and it was something that we were focused on through the offseason," general manager Thomas Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"Both (coach Mike Smith) and I spent a lot of time focusing on the offensive line and how we could acquire some more size, strength and stoutness to help bolster our roster."

The Falcons took Wisconsin center Peter Konz (No. 55 overall), Southern Mississippi tackle Lamar Holmes (91) and Wisconsin fullback Bradie Ewing (157) with their first three picks.

"We talked about coming in here and getting some wide loads," Dimitroff said. "Quite honestly, Lamar is a double-wide load. He's a big man who has a presence, as far as his stature."

The Falcons rushed for 1,834 yards last year, 17th best in the league, and converted just 31 percent of fourth downs (26th in the NFL). The team was stopped in a key short-yardage situation in its loss to the New York Giants in the wild-card round of the  playoffs.

Konz was the Falcons' first pick in the draft. The team did not have a first-round selection after trading it away, along with five other picks, to the Cleveland Browns last year to move up and snag wide receiver Julio Jones.

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