Posted April 23, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Kansas City Chiefs
Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux said Tuesday he'd like to see the Falcons make defense their top priority in this week's NFL draft.
Some important names were missing from the 2012 defense when Atlanta returned this week to begin its offseason program. Defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson were released. Cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Chris Owens and defensive tackle Vance Walker left as free agents.
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora signed a two-year deal with Atlanta, but still Babineaux sees holes to fill as players returned to the training facility.
The Falcons have the 30th pick in the first round Thursday night. The team could look for help at cornerback or another pass-rusher.
''I'm hoping we're maybe leaning that way,'' Babineaux said. ''We're kind of short on the defensive side right now.''
The Falcons were 13-3 in 2012 and beat Seattle in the playoffs before a close loss to San Francisco in the NFC championship game.
The team also has significant losses on offense. Running back Michael Turner was cut, but Steven Jackson was signed as his replacement. Center Todd McClure retired and right tackle Tyson Clabo was released. The team re-signed left tackle Sam Baker.
Quarterback Matt Ryan said Tuesday the moves created opportunities for such young offensive linemen as Mike Johnson, Garrett Reynolds, Lamar Holmes and Peter Konz. Holmes could have the first shot to replace Clabo.
''It's an opportunity for those guys to step into those roles, and I think they're certainly capable of doing that,'' Ryan said.
Konz started 10 games at right guard as a rookie in 2012 but could move to center this year.
The offseason program, which began Monday, is designed to prepare players for the start of organized team activities May 28.
Ryan said he has fully recovered after spraining his left shoulder late in the NFC championship game loss. The injury kept him out of the Pro Bowl.
''Usually I take some time immediately following the season just to get out of here and to take some time away from here,'' he said. ''With the situation I was in at the end of the season, I was here I think for six or seven weeks before I even took a week to get away from here. That's just part of how it goes.
''After I got through those seven weeks, I was able to start training and get back in shape and do the things I wanted to do.''
The six-year, $66 million contract Ryan signed with Atlanta as a rookie in 1998 expires after the 2013 season. General manager Thomas Dimitroff has said the Falcons hope to complete a new deal with Ryan before the season.
The contract talks are expected to resume after the draft.
''In all honesty it's not something I've worried about or thought about or kind of let my mind go away from the things that are important,'' Ryan said. ''Since I've been here I've been focused on taking care of business on the field.
''I think in these situations you let smart people handle that stuff and you stick to what you know. What I know is going out there and trying to be the best football player I can be. All that stuff, I think, will take care of itself. I'm not too worried about it. I've said it to everybody, I want to be here. It's home. It's where I want to be.''
Safety William Moore participated in the workouts Tuesday after his release from jail on $2,500 bond Friday. He was arrested on a misdemeanor simple battery charge Thursday.
Atlanta police said officers were called to a Northwest Atlanta address when Moore and a woman were involved in an argument.
Moore, a Pro Bowl alternate with Atlanta in 2012, was a free agent before signing a five-year, $32 million deal, with $14 million guaranteed, to remain in Atlanta.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
BEST OF MAXIM
According to Clark Judge of CBS Sports, the Atlanta Falcons are trying to trade up in the first round of the NFL draft to select either cornerback Dee Milliner or Xavier Rhodes.
Source I trust tells me Atlanta trying to trade up to get one of two top CBs in draft — MIlliner or Rhodes.
— Clark Judge (@ClarkJudgeCBS) April 24, 2013
After losing Brent Grimes this offseason, the...
NFL News: The Atlanta Falcons waived wide receiver Kerry Meier on Monday who played a total of 12 games for them, specializing on special teams. A fifth-round pick from 2010, he will be trying to brew up some interest around the league to extend his playing career. Players like this though usually last only a few seasons, so don’t be surprised if he calls it a career before too...
1. Defensive End: Edwards and Abraham were the starters at this time last year, and both have been released since. Umenyiora was signed, but he's an average starter at this point in his career at best. They also have no one across from him. They will need to take a defensive end with one of their first two picks. They've also been rumored to be considering trading up for...
ATLANTA Matt Ryans offseasons have mostly resembled an ocean of calmness in past years.
For the Falcons quarterback, who offers an air of unflappability, little appears to distract him from his stated goal of winning football games.
This offseason, a couple of factors some under his control, some not have derailed him a bit. Ryan being Ryan, they are mostly small ripples but...
The draft is right around the corner with round one kicking off tonight at 8 pm and running until around 11. The big question on the minds of Atlanta Falcons fans is when will the Falcons be picking?
The Falcons have a lot of options as we are sitting on eleven picks in this draft with seven of those being trade able picks (the four compensatory picks are not trade able...
Zoneblitz.com is going team by team reviewing 2012 and getting a sneak peak into 2013 by doing Q&A's with different team blogs around the internet. We had the opportunity to answer some Falcons questions for them.
Here is one of the questions from the Q&A:
Zoneblitz: What do you think of the release of Michael Turner and the signing of Steven...
On the defensive side of the ball, the Defensive Tackle rotation has been one of the more consistent in terms of service time. Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Peria Jerry, and Vance Walker had all been a part of the rotation for at least 3 seasons. With Walker departing, that leaves room in the middle for someone to step in. Many feel that can be 2nd year man Travian Robinson...
One of the great things about Twitter is that you can quickly get a sample of what the fanbase is thinking. This evening I asked the Atlanta Falcons fanbase who they would target if the Falcons decided to trade up in the draft (as has been heavily rumored). I also asked them to put themselves in the position of armchair GM and asked what they would do in the first round. Here are...
The other day I looked at Tyler Eifert as a potential Falcon. In a sum-up, I think Atlanta has to select a pass catching tight end who can manage some semblance of blocking. Our team has moved to a pass heavy offense and an excellent blocker has limited use in our offense.
Maybe someone like this?
Tyler Eifert fits that bill but does not feel to be great value...
Every team in the NFL takes a different approach to the draft process. Some teams adhere to the so-called "best available player" strategy, or BAP. Others declare themselves to draft on the basis of needs, such as the Atlanta Falcons. Still others use other obscure ways of picking their players. The Raiders for instance used to seemingly draft on the basis of pure athleticism...
ATLANTA FALCONS (13-3)
2013 Draft Picks: 30 (1st), 60 (2nd), 92 (3rd), 127 (4th), 133 (4th), 163 (5th), 198 (6th), 236 (7th), 243 (7th), 244 (7th), 249 (7th)
2012 Early Draft Selections: OC/OG Peter Konz, WISC (55, 2nd), OT Lamar Holmes, SMSP (91, 3rd)
Decision Makers: GM Thomas Dimitroff, Head Coach Mike Smith
The Falcons current regime finally broke through last season by winning...