The 2012 Atlanta Falcons were a force to be reckoned with in the NFL.
With playmakers such as Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez catching passes from Matt Ryan, the team had tremendous success through the air.
But it was the ground game that left something to be desired.
Michael Turner could not muster a 1,000-yard rushing total and showed some of his old age throughout the season. The team had Jacquizz Rodgers to change gears and be a threat to break big runs and catch the ball out of the backfield.
However, Rodgers is not an every-down back and the Falcons realized that their needs on offense stemmed around two major factors. One was to get future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez back for one more run at the Super Bowl.
The second was to go out and get a runner to help take pressure off Matt Ryan and the receiving corps. General manager Thomas Dimitroff did both of those things and set the team up to address the biggest needs on the team in the NFL Draft. Defense.
The two biggest needs for the Falcons rest on the defensive side of the ball. Pass rushing specialist John Abraham has moved on and left a pretty big whole on one side of the line. The team signed Osi Umenyiora to fill his roles, but with Kroy Biermann at the other end spot the team needs to find a playmaker in order to make a difference.
The biggest concern for the team is at the cornerback position. Gone are starters Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson. The team also lost quality back up Chris Owens. The team needs to draft a corner first. With the depth of the corner Draft class, the team will find a great player with the 30th pick.
Round 1 (30th Overall), CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State
Like I said above, this is the team's biggest need. Taylor has good size for a corner, standing 5'11" and 192 pounds. He is a fast rising prospect in this Draft and has not had much press coming out of Boise State.
However, Taylor had a great Senior Bowl week and showed he belongs in the first round. He has tremendous instincts and quickness to play the position.
His only red flags have to be that he hasn’t been challenged much in his career playing weak competition, and he has question marks in press man coverage.
But he is a legitimate starting corner prospect and most likely will be there when the Falcons pick at 30.
Round 2 (60th overall), DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn
With Abraham leaving there is a pretty large hole in the defensive end rotation. What the team needs is a project with great upside who can learn behind Umenyiora and Biermann. Both of those players are great pros and will show Lemonier the ropes.
Lemonier brings raw talent to the team coupled with great size for a quick pass rushing defensive end. He stands 6'4" and 255 pounds and possesses a good combination of strength (27 bench reps) and speed (4.56 40 time).
Lemonier is still raw, but shows great power moves and hand punch in his pass rush. If he can be developed by a good coaching staff, Lemonier will be a steal in this round.
Round 3 (92nd Overall), TE Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
Gonzalez is only going to give the Falcons one more year. Behind him the teams has a bunch of journeyman, blocking tight ends and are in need of a youth insurgence.
Kelce is a playmaker in the passing game and brings great route running and solid speed (4.64 40). One thing on Kelce is that he missed an entire year during college for a reported failed drug test and some off the field problems.
With Kelce falling to the Falcons in the third round, the team can have Gonzalez mentor a potential star talent for a year and hand over the reins in 2014.
Round 4 (127th Overall), LB Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
The Falcons need help with depth in the outside linebacking corps. Stephen Nicholas has no backup on the roster as of now and the team is in need of a strong side linebacker.
In steps Williams who was All-Big East and UConn's all-time sack leader. He is a converted defensive lineman, but at 6'1" and 241 pounds he is not big enough to play a traditional end in a 4-3.
Williams is a raw talent who needs grooming, but the Falcons have good starters and Williams can be brought along slowly and add great effort on special teams and in certain packages on defense.
Round 4 (133rd Overall, Comp. Pick), OL David Quessenberry, San Jose State
If there is one player who I pound the table for it is Quessenberry. I started to really get to know his strengths at the Senior Bowl.
Quessenberry was phenomenal in the one on ones against some elite talent and showed he belongs in the NFL.
He stands 6'5" and weighs 305 pounds. Quessenberry isn’t a mauler and will thrive in the Falcons' zone running scheme. What makes me think the fit is there for the Falcons is his versatility.
Quessenberry can play guard or tackle. With the retirement of Todd McClure at center, the offensive line needs a player to fill multiple holes.
Quessenberry could develop as a future starter at right tackle or be a great depth player as a swing guard.
Round 5 (163rd Overall), RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford
If Taylor falls this far this is a steal. Taylor is not an explosive runner by any means and had a terrible showing at the Combine with his 4.7 40 time.
However, if you watch his games you see a player who is a hard-nosed runner who adds great play-making ability catching the football.
He is one of the best backs in pass protection as well and could add that bruising running element that Michael Turner filled for multiple seasons. I know the team signed Steven Jackson, but they need an insurance policy if Jackson is injured or gassed.
Round 6 (198th Overall), WR Ace Sanders, South Carolina
If the Falcons are missing anything in the receiving corps it is a slot receiver who can stretch the defense. Sanders is small at 5'7" and 173 pounds.
But Sanders is explosive and adds such a great element as an interior receiver. Not only will Sanders add a great presence in the slot, but he will also be one of the league’s most dynamic punt returners. Sanders worth might be seen immediately on special teams next year.
Round 7 (236th Overall), CB Marc Anthony, California
If Anthony falls this far he could be a steal. And if all indications are correct, I think Anthony will fall this far. Not only do the Falcons need help in finding a starting corner, but they also need depth.
Anthony struggled at the Senior Bowl but flashes great play when you watch his games. He isn’t overly fast (4.59 40) but he has great size and foot quickness. He is a solid 6', 200 pounds and plays physical. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance.
Round 7 (243rd Overall, Comp. Pick). DT Nick Williams, Samford
The last round is all about unearthing prospects. One small school guy who has been shown some interest by the Falcons is Williams out of FCS Samford University.
Williams has great size at 6'4" and 310 pounds. He had a great Combine when he ran a 4.97 40 and had 28 reps on the bench. He is a project for sure, but he has quick hands and an explosive first step. Williams could add great depth to the position and be a very versatile player in the long run.
Round 7 (244th Overall, Comp. Pick), QB Sean Renfree, Duke
For the longest time the Falcons had a player named Chris Redman as a backup quarterback.
He was not a flashy player but a smart guy who could step in and play quarterback if ever the starter went down.
In a league where defenders are out to punish the quarterback, you need a solid backup in order to survive.
Redman is gone. In steps Sean Renfree who probably has the best anticipation and timing of any quarterback in this Draft.
And for good reason, as he lacks traditional arm strength. He could develop a great career as a back up and spot starter.
Round 7 (249th Overall, Comp. Pick), S Zeke Motta, Notre Dame
Not a flashy pick whatsoever, but Motta can play. The Falcons can afford to pick a player who will be a demon on special teams and a quality backup in the secondary.
Motta is not fast at all and will have his moments of struggling in coverage, but makes up for it in run support and effort. He will make the team if he contributes on every special team.