Falcons Get Defensive
The Atlanta Falcons finished with just 29 sacks for the 2012 season - 28th overall in the entire NFL.
Six of the last nine Super Bowl champions finished the regular season ranked among the top five in sacks. The defensive blueprint - applying pressure to quarterbacks - was clearly a priority for the Falcons heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.
Six of Atlanta's eight draft picks were defensive players, including a pair of pass rushers expected to supply pressure on opposing QBs.
Here are the frontline players taken by the Falcons in the 2013 NFL Draft:
Malliciah Goodman - Defensive End - Clemson - 4th Round (127): The 6-foot-4, 276 pounder is a run-stuffing end who has pass-rushing skills. A two-year starter at Clemson, Goodman did not record a sack in 2011, but came through with seven in 2012. Three of those sacks came in a bowl game win over LSU. A gifted athlete, Goodman is considered a player who should have accomplished more on the field during his college career.
Stansly Maponga - Defensive End - TCU - 5th Round (153):6 Taken in the same round as Kroy Biermann, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft by the Falcons, the 6-2, 256-pound Maponga should also add depth to Mike Nolan's defense. Maponga is considered a versatile pass-rushing end, capable of playing multiple linebacker positions. Maponga started for three seasons at TCU and displayed an explosive first step that can beat offensive tackles around the edge. He totaled nine sacks in 2011, four in 2012.
Defensive Secondary Players
Washington's Desmond Trufant (Rd. 1, 22nd overall), Southeastern Louisiana's Robert Alford (Rd. 2, 60th), Central Florida's Kemal Ishmael (Rd. 7, 243rd) and Notre Dame's Zeke Motta (Rd. 7, 244th) were also drafted to help Atlanta's defense.
Time will tell if these frontline additions and the rest of the 2013 Falcons draft class will mean more pocket pressure and sacks in 2013.
For the sake of the Falcons achieving their ultimate goal, they may have to.