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PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 07: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass in the second half during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 7, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

When talking about the 2018 Atlanta Falcons season, fans may have different viewpoints of the year’s outlook. You have some people say that all hope is lost and the season is over. Then there are others who blame the defense or who blame the offense for the teams’ struggles. While it may be a little of both in terms of struggles the team still has a bright future ahead of them. Matt Ryan’s Super Bowl window may be narrowing but it is not closed yet.

While the Falcons may not be favored to go to the Super Bowl or even the playoffs anymore what seemed like a tragedy could end up helping the franchise in the long run. The span of injuries on the defensive side particularly has hurt the Falcons. However, many of the injured players are just entering their prime and in Atlanta for the long term. While contending for a playoff spot may seem like a reach at this point it allows the front office to turn the focus onto next season. This allows the team the opportunity to reload on some of the holes they have across the roster.

Team Needs

-Defensive Tackle

-Outside Linebacker

-Offensive Line Depth

-Defensive Back Depth

It’s no secret the Falcons are in need of an interior guy of defense. The team consistently struggles to get any pressure on the interior and should look to fill that problem this offseason. At outside linebacker, the team currently has Duke Riley playing there. While he has had his ups and downs overall he struggles to process fast enough and misses tackles to often to be an entrenched starter for the team.

It’s evident when watching the team play that secondary depth in needed. The team drafted Isaiah Oliver in the second round last year and he has been up and down as expected. Still, he could earn a starting role soon, given he continues to progress in his development. The biggest threat is depth at the safety position. Early in the season, the Falcons lost both starting safeties and have struggled greatly to find eligible replacements for either.

Free agency

While the team may not finish the season strong Atlanta is still a desirable place for many of the potential free agents. With an already established offense and pieces across the board, it allows the Falcons to potentially bring in some top free agent talent. Entering the 2019 offseason the Falcons are projected to have around $25.9 million in cap space to spend.

Free Agents Available

With the money the team has available, it could allow them to go after some big names. Players like Ndamukong Suh, Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Barr, Demarcus Lawrence, and Brandon Graham could be top targets for the Falcons. Each of them could play a pivotal role for the team as well.

The Draft

Throughout Thomas Dimitroff’s time in Atlanta, the team hasn’t looked to free agency to fill many big holes. Sure the occasional player has been signed when given the opportunity but overall the team has looked towards the draft to fill most needs. This strategy has worked great for the team thus far and shouldn’t change anytime soon.

On the path the Falcons are going they could land a high draft pick. Currently, the team would be picking top ten, and potentially top five with the most recent struggles. In a very defensive heavy draft that could work great for the team. Early on some players, the team could be targeting include Ed Oliver (if picking top five or higher), Jeffery Simmons (if off-field checks out okay), Quinnen Williams, Devin White, or Raekwon Davis as top prospects. Of course, it is important to remember anything can happen both for the Falcons and for the players listed above but right now these look to be the top guys.

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