Atlantaís defense is air-tight in the back end, with a fine pair of cornerbacks in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, plus terrific FS Keanu Neal. MLB Deion Jones was outstanding last season, and the Falcons are solid up front, led by DT Grady Jarrett and DE Vic Beasley. This was a solid all-around unit last season. Atlanta ranked ninth against the run, 12th against the pass, eighth in points allowed and ninth in total yardage allowed.
The Falcons need to force more turnovers. They had 16 takeaways last year; only four teams had fewer. The pass rush has long been a problem area for the Falcons. They had 29 sacks last season, a respectable total, but their sack leader from last year, Adrian Clayborn, signed with the Patriots in free agency. Beasley went from 15.5 sacks in 2016 to just five last year.
This unit probably doesnít get enough respect. Itís not necessarily a defense that you want to target, but itís not a bad end-of-the-draft option. Itís also a defense you should feel comfortable starting against lesser offenses.