Atlanta Falcons Draft Preview: Can the Falcons Fill their Needs without a First Round Pick?

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The Atlanta Falcons are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs, but they will need a few more pieces from the draft.
The Atlanta Falcons are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs, but they will need a few more pieces from the draft.

The Atlanta Falcons will be looking to select some replacements for aging talent in this year's draft, with players like John Abraham, Tony Gonzalez and Todd McClure all in their mid-30s and approaching the end of excellent careers.

But the Falcons mortgaged this year's draft a bit last year when they shipped their first and fourth round picks for this year to the Cleveland Browns in order to move up to select Julio Jones. So they will need to find a way to replenish the team with just six picks, all coming after their second round pick, at 55.

They will undoubtedly be seeking offensive line help, where they are lacking a tackle and a guard in addition to needing to find a center of the future. But their other needs are pressing as well.

On the line, they could be looking at guys like Bobby Massie, Amini Silatolu or Peter Konz with their first overall pick. Massie is a virtual unknown to many fans thanks to a miserable 2-10 season by his Ole Miss Rebels last season.

Massie has the right size to play tackle in the NFL, but has relied on his physical gifts to this point. Many scouts don't know if he has the work ethic to learn the technique he will need to succeed at the next level.

Silatolu is a very intriguing prospect as he comes from Division II school Midwestern State. Though he played tackle in college, most scouts anticipate him sliding to guard at the NFL level as his 6-foot-4, 311-pound frame isn't quite long enough to play tackle. He is vicious and aggressive at the point of attack, but will have to develop a more nuanced game to pass block in the NFL.

Konz is the top available center prospect and by all accounts is a character guy known as much for his work ethic and off-field accountability as he is for his on-the-field talent.

He is a solid blocker who started 30 games in college. He is a big guy at 6 feet 5, 314 pounds, but lacks knockout power. He is more of a persistent and consistent blocker.

Atlanta could also opt for a tight end as Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez nears the end of his career. Top prospect Coby Fleener will probably pass them by, but Dwayne Allen from Clemson should be available when the team selects at 55.

Allen is a prospect in the mold of Antonio Gates. He is another former basketball standout, turned tight end. Allen won the John Mackey Award as the best tight end in the country with 50 catches for 598 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Falcons could also use their picks to go after a developmental quarterback or perhaps a pass rushing lineman.

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