Falcons need Houston and Gurley

Could Justin Houston don the red and black again in the state of Georgia?

Two players will solve Atlanta’s issues next offseason. I’m planting the seed now to hope it will happen, and that somehow talking about it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Falcons need to sign free agent Justin Houston and draft Georgia running back Todd Gurley.

It’s October 10. It’s way too early, right? There’s plenty of football left.

But the Falcons are not going to do anything special this season. I’m sorry, but they’re just not. The offensive line is in shambles. There is no running game. The defense is still giving up too many points and still not pressuring the quarterback.

So they’re not going to win a Super Bowl this season. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, but we’re being honest here so don’t think I’m going to have a “I had to eat my words” column ready to pull out in January if they’re making a miracle run.

Houston is a free agent after this season. He’s from Georgia, Statesboro to be exact. He went to the University of Georgia. Houston was drafted by Scott Pioli, who was the Chiefs’ general manager in 2011 when he was taken in the third round. Pioli is now the assistant GM in Atlanta.

Houston already has six sacks this season. He leads the league. Last season Houston had 11 sacks, good enough for 11th-best in the NFL. In 2012, Houston had 10 sacks.

Houston is a 6-foot-3, 260-pound beast. He creates havoc for opposing quarterbacks. That’s exactly what the Falcons need, isn’t it?

Gurley is now involved in a scandal at UGA. He reportedly accepted money for autographs and memorabilia. Who knows if he’ll even play again this season in college football. This will probably not impact his draft status, as most reporters said Thursday the NFL’s executives are salivating over getting Gurley in the league.

But running backs are taboo in the NFL right now. Teams have shied away from drafting them early in the draft. The last two years not one running back has been taken in the NFL Draft. But Gurley may be a special case. He might be the next Eric Dickerson.

Gurley has the size and speed that any NFL team needing a running back will crave. But can he last into the 8-14 range of the first round? The Falcons may need to be somewhere in the neighborhood during the draft to have a shot at Gurley, unless they trade up to get in position to take him off the board.

So picture Gurley in the backfield with Matt Ryan and his tremendous receivers. Did that get you excited about the 2015 season? It should.

Most knew the Falcons were going to need another free agent period and another draft to get back to where they were in 2012. These are the types of moves they’ll need to do just that.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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