Falcons In A Familiar Situation
On the eve of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Falcons were in need of another cornerback. Veteran cornerback Brent Grimes had received the franchise tag that offseason and was a risk to hold out of training camp. Returning starter Dunta Robinson had contributed a pedestrian 2011 season. If the 2012 Falcons were to be a factor, they had to get better at cornerback.
Just as he has done in the past, Falcons general manager Thomas Dmitroff made a move. The Falcons acquired cornerback Asante Samuel from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Samuel went on to intercept five passes and made 15 starts in 2012. That’s great production in exchange for a seventh-round pick.
Coming into 2013, the Atlanta Falcons are in the familiar place of needing a cornerback. Brent Grimes was lost in free agency to Miami as he continues to work his way back from a torn Achilles. Dunta Robinson was released by the team in a move to create cap space. Chris Owens is now in Cleveland. For a team that played 65 percent of its defensive snaps with at least three cornerbacks on the field, this is a problem.
Opposite of Samuel, the Falcons do not currently have a possible starter on their roster. While Robert McClain was solid playing the slot in 2012, he has only five career starts in three NFL seasons. Dominique Franks is not an option either. For a team that lacks a consistent pass rush, the Falcons can’t enter the 2013 season without quality starting cornerbacks.
The Falcons have used one of their 30 pre-draft visits to host Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. But with the 30th pick in the first round, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Trufant or perhaps Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes is available when the Falcons are on the clock. Trading up in the first round remains a possibility, as the organization has a history of being aggressive in the NFL Draft when they target a particular player. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, the 2013 Falcons will need to come out of the NFL Draft with a starter at cornerback.