Falcons fill need at weak-side ’backer with Weatherspoon

Posted April 22, 2010 @ 10:10 p.m.
Posted 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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