Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 2/10/14
When Mike Smith started the 2013 season, his first game was a last second loss to New Orleans. The rest of the season was downhill.Injuries and a defense that needed help from the start, plus three tackles who went down with injuries did not help.The Falcons resembled a MASH unit more than a football team. While Smith and his coaches could not right the ship. And things now need to be fixed.There is plenty of depth in free agency with good talent to come in and help this team succeed.The Falcons will heal all their wounds, but can the team get over losing Tony Gonzalez, correct a sad pass rush and rejuvenate a running game.Here are five players this team must take a shot at to help this team get back to the playoffs.Eugene MonroeThis was a serious problem last season. Monroe started the season in Jacksonville, was traded to Baltimore and could not help the running game. Look for him to open holes for another team this season, possibly in Atlanta.Hakeem NicksHe is not going to be in New York this season and will be a wanted player. Nicks is a tall, lanky receiver, and a huge end zone threat. With Roddy White a year older, the idea of Nicks, White and Julio Jones would shake the NFC South up quite a bit.Jared AllenThe defensive line needs a dominant pass rusher to strike fear in the offensive line and the opposing backfield. John Abraham used to do that for the Falcons. Can Allen be that player? Since he has been in the league (Kansas City and then Minnesota) few have been as aggressive as Allen. It would be a bold move considering he is aging, but he still has loads of talent.Ziggy HoodHe will most likely remain in Pittsburgh, but this defensive tackle will get some attention on the open market. Hood is a player who could provide depth or start for this team. Atlanta needs more than just a pass rusher to help their defense.Branden AlbertAnother player who will test the free agent waters two seasons in a row. Actually, he was told he could seek his own trade last season, but he returned to the Chiefs and was successful in helping the team go from 2-14 to 11-5 and a playoff team. Albert can play all over the offensive line.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jay Gruden gives out primo parking spots to hard-working players

Report: Colts' Jones suspended four games for PED use

Report: Royals have interest in Nick Markakis

Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence 911 call released

Manu Ginobili talks interest in 76ers before sticking with Spurs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lakers reportedly have ‘unnamed trade target in mind

Report: Rodman a 'person of interest' in hit-and-run

Draymond Green reaches plea deal in assault case

Evander Kane arrested after turning himself in

Former NFL coach Dennis Green passes away

Michael Vick says he would only sign with contender

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

Report: Rangers pushing trade efforts for Sale

Russell Martin day-to-day after sauna-related mishap

Celtics reportedly unwilling to give up much for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Jay Bruce drawing trade interest

Vitale: Trump’s speech “filled with lies,” might write in Coach K

Report: Nationals ‘want in’ on Chapman sweepstakes

Hornets co-owner blasts NBA, city for taking away All-Star Game

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

Vikings installing massive horn in new stadium

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker