Mailbag Monday: Your Atlanta sports questions answered

What’s the best possible pickup the Hawks could get for next year?- @MarkStewartRTR

Harrison Coburn: Given the team’s assets, the best pickup I could them going after is Paul George or Jimmy Butler. It was rumored that the Hawks offered multiple first rounders in an effort to land both wings this past trade deadline. The front office has had a shakeup, but young assets who can be used as trade chips, such as Taurean Prince and Dennis Schroder, have heavily increased their trade stock. However, this may not be what is best for the team in the long run. Sure, a team like the Hawks is going to have to take such risks to get a true superstar they have forever seeked. Paul George can become a free agent next offseason, and has long been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers. Butler would only be under contract for two seasons. The Hawks would have to ask themselves whether it is worth it to ship off their future, which would surely include multiple first rounders, for a shot at getting a legitimate superstar. They may now have what it takes to get it done. Personally, I think Schroder will definitely be a star himself.

With that being said, I think the smartest “move” the Hawks can make this offseason is addition by subtraction, and that would be moving Kent Bazemore and getting cap relief to spend in the coming years.

When will the Braves young arms start coming up?

Harrison Coburn:It will likely happen this year. But that does not mean they will necessarily stick.

The Braves have two highly touted prospects that are performing at a high level with AAA Gwinnett. Lucas Sims has had a topsy-turvy minor league career since being a first round pick, but the good news is that he is off to a hot start this season. The bad news is he also got off to a hot start last season to go on to end up struggling the rest of the way. The Braves will want to see Sims keep up his performance, but if he does he will surely get a call at some point this year. Sean Newcomb has been a bit of a project as well. Acquired in the Andrelton Simmons trade with the Angels, “Newk” has struggled with his control, which can expected from a young southpaw flamethrower at that age. Lefties are notorious for being late bloomers, and Newcomb is having a great start after a “meh” 2016 campaign. Newcomb is pitching well enough to warrant a callup within the next year, but his control still needs refinement.

Max Fried and Patrick Weigel are a couple of older guys in AA who could get a shot at a start as well.

Who will be the Falcons starting front 7 at the start of the season?

Chase Irle: Football season is still months away yet I cannot stop thinking about it. I guess that is what blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl will do to you.

Last offseason, it was the Falcons moves on the offensive side of the ball that had me counting down the days until week 1. This offseason it is the Falcons moves on the defensive line that have me giddy for the 2017 season. The Falcons finished right in the middle of the pack in terms of total sacks with 34 last season, but that number is deceiving. Atlanta rarely touched the quarterback until week 5 of last season, but after that the defensive line was a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. That pass-rush only improved as the season went on and peaked come playoff team. This defensive line was incredible last postseason, totaling 10 sacks in 3 postseason games, including 5 against Tom Brady who is supposed to be unsackable.

Now to the part that makes me giddy.

Atlanta is adding 5 terrific players to that defensive line this season. Dontari Poe will be a force in the middle and should see an uptick in his recent sack numbers with the amount of talent around him. Atlanta’s first-round pick Takkarist McKinley looks to emulate Vic Beasley in his quest to become a top-flight NFL pass-rusher. I love McKinley and think he will be a huge addition to this defense immediately. Jack Crawford was also added this offseason, and Adrian Clayborn and Derrick Shelby return from injury. This defensive front is stacked from top to bottom. As far as starters go: look for Vic Beasley Jr., Grady Jarrett, Dontari Poe and Takkarist McKinley to be the starting front for the Falcons.

The linebacking group is much less solidified. Deion Jones will start in the middle and was absolutely amazing in his rookie season. Expect him to hold down this spot for a while. De’Vondre Campbell showed great potential in his rookie season as well. He will likely occupy one of the other starting linebacking positions. The third spot is open, and if I am a betting man, I am betting on Duke Riley to snag it. Quinn has never been shy to play his new guys, and Riley is going to be the best option at the position from an athletic standpoint. Maybe not week 1, but I expect that young-trio of linebackers to be roaming the field together a lot in the future.





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