Terry Fontenot has done an adequate job of bolstering the depth charts ahead of the NFL draft at the end of the month. It’s clear he’s trying to patch holes with stopgap veterans on one-year contracts, so the Falcons are flexible enough come the draft to take the best players available. It makes sense too, if the Falcons don’t NEED any one position, Fontenot will be able to exploit those teams who will overpay or overdraft for needs. However, there’s still more work to be done before the draft at the end of the month. To be completely level-headed going into the draft, addressing these positions will solidify the Falcons’ roster frame.
Fontenot signed veteran safety Erik Harris, which brought the number of safeties on the roster to two. Jaylinn Hawkins is the other player under contract, and in a defense like Dean Pees, that isn’t close to enough bodies at the position. During the 2018 season, the Titans dialed up a nickel personnel package on 73% of defensive snaps — ninth-most in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders.
Pees’ scheme plays as much subpackage defense as any in the league, and he needs versatile players that can drop deep, in the box, in the slot, and defend the run at each alignment. There isn’t going to be a safety worth taking at four, but Fontenot could ease fans’ worries by signing another veteran free agent like Duron Harmon — able to drop deep, cover man to man, and support the run in the box.
The only other glaring need has to be the offensive line. As of now, the possible starting line would be — from left to right — Jake Matthews, Matt Gono, Matt Hennessy, Chris Lindstrom, and Kaleb McGary, which is concerning. Josh Andrews, who was recently signed, will be a depth-piece and shouldn’t be expected to start. Dwayne Ledford is one of the best offensive line coaches in the country, and McGary will surely continue his ascension as a player under him. Regardless of in-house development, the Falcons need more depth pieces at the very least.
The roster is starting to take shape, but the offseason is far from over, and many of these concerns will be alleviated come the end of the month. April’s draft will bring the roster close to completion, where the holes left after the draft can be patched through a post-draft free agency frenzy.