USA Today

Atlanta needing a lot of help to improve the depth chart

The Falcons are in desperate need for help with veterans in free agency.

Free agency starts in the NFL next week, and the Atlanta Falcons need to be open for business.

This team is in dire need of helping several positions. Well, let’s don’t underestimate the needs. The Falcons need a lot of help in many positions.

We’ve heard general manager Thomas Dimitroff say in the past he does not want to pursue big-name, big-dollar free agents. That may come simply from the swings and misses he’s had in free agency in the past.

Ray Edwards, Dunta Robinson, Paul Soliai and Stephen Jackson are just to name a few who did not work out too well. Michael Turner did work out, and that should inspire Dimitroff to not give up on adding veterans to his depleted roster.

Dimitroff simply doesn’t have much choice but to pursue free agents. The Falcons have too many needs, and they can’t afford to just wait on the draft to fill the holes.

They have released three veterans – William Moore, Justin Durant and Roddy White – so they need help at safety, linebacker and wide receiver. Soliai is next to go, giving the Falcons a need on the defensive line.

We know the Falcons needed help at receiver, even before White’s release. Leonard Hankerson did not work out last season, so the team has never really replaced Harry Douglas. Justin Hardy is ready to take one spot, but the Falcons need to add one veteran receiver and grab one in the draft.

The offensive line is a mess. Chris Chester is gone as a free agent, so the team needs a new guard. The Falcons need to upgrade at center, which has been unsteady since the retirement of Todd McClure. That’s two interior linemen needed, and they can’t wait on the draft.

Then on the defensive line of scrimmage, help is sorely needed. How about at least two new members for the defensive line? Durant must be replaced at linebacker, and can the Falcons do better than Paul Worrilow?

The Falcons must replace Moore, even if they do believe Kemal Ishmael is a possible replacement. A veteran is needed.

And at some point, it would not be a bad idea to get someone on defense that could be an immediate leader.

So strap in for what should be a wild week. Dimitroff may want to play off free agency, but he better use it to help his depleted roster – and in a hurry.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and email him at


Falcon Insider Top Stories