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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