After all, the franchise has a new head coach in former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and the Falcons failed to put up much of a fight on that side of the ball down the stretch of a 6-10 season in 2014. That's part of the reason why NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks the team is a lock to take one of the top edge rushers available when it comes time to pick at No. 8 overall.
"Four and a half sacks led the Atlanta Falcons last year and to put that in perspective, that's tied for 85th in the NFL," Jeremiah said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" on Tuesday. "This is their No. 1 need and this is where they will go with the No. 8 overall pick. I look at four names: Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler, Randy Gregory and Shane Ray. Any one of these guys would be a great value pick."
In his latest mock draft, Jeremiah has the team taking Gregory, the former Nebraska star, with its first-round selection and he would certainly have the ability to boost the pass rush from the outside linebacker spot as a rookie. NFL Media's Mike Mayock ranks Gregory as the fourth-best edge rusher available in the draft and it's possible that he will still be on the board when the Falcons pick at No. 8.
It's still early in the offseason, but it's safe to say the players Jeremiah mentioned make sense for Atlanta.