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Falcons fill need at weak-side ’backer with Weatherspoon

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

The Falcons, who ranked 27th in sack percentage last season, needed to bolster their pass rush in this draft. They didn't go the most conventional route by taking a defensive end in the first round, but they still filled a need at weak-side linebacker by taking Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon.

Last year's starter at the position, Mike Peterson, will turn 34 in June and coupling Weatherspoon with MLB Curtis Lofton gives the Falcons a quality young nucleus at the second level of their defense. Peterson, a valuable veteran presence on a defense with many young pieces, likely will move to a reserve role to clear the way for the 19th overall pick.

Atlanta hasn't been a blitz-heavy team under head coach Mike Smith, but they could do more of that with Weatherspoon, an active, fast-flowing 'backer. They're going to have to generate more pressure on quarterbacks somehow, as they lack a legitimate pass-rush threat to pair with DE John Abraham, another aging veteran who will need to be replaced in the next couple years.

 

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