The Atlanta Falcons finished the 2012 regular season as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but after coming up short in the NFC Championship game, Atlanta is working to reload and make another run in 2013. The Falcons weren't among the most active teams in free agency, but were able to retain the majority of their key pieces while also filling a couple of holes.
The Falcons recent string of playoff appearances has been largely fueled by strong drafts and another impact draft may be enough to push Atlanta over the top. The Falcons have one of the most talented offensive rosters in the NFL, but there are a number of holes on the defensive side. A lack of pass rush has been an issue in recent seasons, but it isn't the Falcons' only need heading into the draft.
Top three needs:
Cornerback - Heading into the 2012 season, the Falcons appeared loaded at cornerback. Now a year later and following the departures of Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson, the Falcons have a big hole to fill. Asante Samuel will return, but Atlanta doesn't have much in the way of cornerback depth.
Defensive end - The Falcons have struggled to muster up much of a pass rush in recent seasons and may turn to the draft to help solve that issue. Atlanta signed Osi Umenyiora earlier this offseason, but he's a veteran and a long-term solution is still needed.
Linebacker - Atlanta has invested in linebackers in recent NFL drafts, but could still use more depth. Sean Weatherspoon should start at outside linebacker, while Akeem Dent is penciled in at middle linebacker. Stephen Nicholas struggled last year and will be 30 years old by the time next season begins.
Ideal pick: Best defensive player available