Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 6/5/13
The Atlanta Falcons were on top of the NFC last season with their 13-3 record, but struggled in the NFC South with a 3-3 record. Good thing for the Falcons front office and fans that the rest of the division was having an off year or they could have found themselves on the outside of the playoff picture.Instead the division was weak and the Falcons finally lucked out and won a playoff game in the Matt Ryan era only to lose in the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers.The Falcons were not statistically a highly ranked team last season outside of their passing attack, and could have easily lost a few of the games they won.Here is the rookie class the Falcons have put together to go along with their key free agent signings to make them more of a dangerous team on both sides of the ball.Atlanta Falcons 2013 Rookie ClassDraft Picks1st Round: Desmond Trufant – Corner Back2nd Round: Robert Alford – Corner Back4th Round: Malliciah Goodman – Defensive End4th Round: Levine Toilolo – Tight End5th Round: Stansly Maponga – Defensive End7th Round: Kemal Ishmael – Defensive Back7th Round: Zeke Motta – Strong Safety7th Round: Sean Renfree – Quarterback Rookie Free AgentsCasey Barth – KickerSean Sellwood – PunterSeth Doege – QuarterbackRashad Evans – Wide ReceiverMartel Moore – Wide ReceiverRonnie Wingo – Running BackDevonte Campbell – FullbackDonald Russell – Running BackDeon Goggins – FullbackDarius Johnson – Wide ReceiverAlec Savoie – Offensive TackleRyan Schraeder – Offensive LineMatt Smith – CenterTerran Jones – Offensive LineTheo Goins – GuardAdam Replogle – Defensive TackleJoplo Bartu – LinebackerNick Clancy – LinebackerBrandon Thurmond – Outside LinebackerPaul Worrilow – Inside LinebackerMomo Thomas – Corner BackCam Henderson – Defensive EndNeal Huynh – Defensive TackleTroy Sanders – SafetyTo address their 29th ranked rushing attack from a season ago, Arthur Blank turned towards veteran Steven Jackson as his feature back. Jackson decided to part ways with the St. Louis Rams by opting out and becoming a free agent after nine mediocre seasons and 1 playoff appearance by the team.Considering the backs that are still left in camp from last seasons ineffective backfield; Ronnie Wingo and Donald Russell should have no problems getting a decent amount of touches this preseason.Fullbacks Devonte Campbell and Deon Goggins will also be a nice upgrade with both players adding size and speed for either leading Jackson through holes or catching a Matt Ryan pass.The biggest additions Blank and head Coach Mike Smith have on their team are corner backs Desmond Trufant, and Robert Alford to a secondary that ranked 23rd last season against the pass.While it seems like Trufant will be the starter opposite Asante Samuel by the time the season starts, Alford has been the one to go above and beyond so far to impress Smith and the other Falcons coaching staff.While the battle between Trufant and Alford will be interesting to watch all training camp, the Falcons also added depth to their secondary with safeties Troy Sanders, Zeke Motta to help them stop teams late in games when the season is on the line.The Falcons also added depth to their 21st ranked pass rush to go along with the defensive backs they have in camp fighting for playing time.Malliciah Goodman, Stansley Maponga, Neal Huynh, and Adam Replogle will add fresh legs when veterans Osi Umenyiora, and Jonathan Babineaux need their breathers.
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