The birds were expected to take a receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft, but they shocked everyone and took Michigan State running back T.J. Duckett after trading down to the 18th spot with the Raiders.
The Falcons didn't get much production from their receivers last season. The consensus in Atlanta was that the birds would definitely grab one of the big three free agent receivers, Antonio Freeman, Keenan McCardell or Derrick Alexander since they failed to address the position through the draft.
Arthur Blank has opened up the vault since he became owner of the Falcons and that vault could very well be opening up once again to sign a veteran receiver. The Falcons cleared more than $3 million in cap room on Monday when they released veteran running backs Jamal Anderson and Rodney Thomas.
Before the June 1st cuts, the Falcons were believed to be the front runners in the race to acquire former Jacksonville receiver Keenan McCardell. McCardell's agent Gary Uberstine had also mentioned Atlanta as a strong possibilty for McCardell but at press time the Buccaneers appeared to be the front runners.
The Falcons often times looked slow last year, especially on turf. Their three top receivers were all at least 34 years of age. The birds must improve at the receiver spot. Michael Vick needs some weapons. The addition of Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett should give the Falcons a potent running attack but they need to add a threat at the receiver spot.
Michael Vick will definitely experience growing pains next year but those pains could definitely be eased with the addition of a proven veteran receiver. If the season started tomorrow the birds would line up with Bryan Finneran and Shawn Jefferson. That combination doesn't exactly strike fear into defensive coordinators around the league.
What does, however, strike fear into the hearts of Falcon fans, is the thought of the birds missing out on adding a veteran receiver. Mr. Blank hasn't disappointed thus far. Look for the Falcons to sign one of those veteran receivers by the end of next week.
Pursuit of Receivers in Atlanta
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