By Jamie Walker

Your hometown Atlanta Falcons have done a great deal of “shaking and baking” this off-season. After a season that ended with a record of 6-10, it was to be expected that major changes would be made, and it was with shake ups in at the head coaching position and front office duties. New Falcons’ Head Coach Dan Quinn has come in and given some enthusiasm to a deflated but hopeful fan base by ingratiating himself into positive changes he will make with the ball club along with the happenings of local professional and collegiate teams in the city.

2015 National Football League Free Agency for the Atlanta Falcons was expected to be major because of the expected cap space along with the many perceived needs the Birds’ have especially on defense. However, the moves made by the Falcons’ Brass was methodical; choosing players for depth and need. The major additions were Linebackers Brooks Reed, Justin Durant, O’Brien Schofield along with Defensive End Adrian Clayborn with Tight Ends’ Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki.

These are not your “sexy” names that were floated around in free agency. It was not the Ndamukong Suh’s or the Demarco Murray’s of the world but one of the problems of the past with the Atlanta Falcons were its lack of depth. Along with some other re-signings of current players the Falcons have added depth with players with skills sets that fit the Dan Quinn Defensive System. Also knowing the franchise, the front office is not finished “wheeling and dealing”.

The last wave of acquiring players will likely occur via the NFL Draft starting on April 30th, live from Chicago. There has been so much speculation as to what the Falcons will do in the draft especially with their 1st Round Pick, 8th Overall. Now as I analyzed the team before the free agent acquisitions, it was a “no-brainer”, they will go with a pass rusher of some sort. However, since then there has been a “buzz” and even some experts have stated that Injured Running back out of the University of Georgia, Todd Gurley will be the pick for the Falcons.

While I still believe the Atlanta Falcons should stick to the script and get a pass rusher like a Vic Beasley out of Clemson with the 8th pick, there is a degree of intrigue with the possibility of Gurley. I have always thought it would galvanize the fan base by choosing a major University of Georgia Player; of course if it was a player of need. Need may be relative considering offensively under the Kyle Shanahan the pass-run ratio will be more balanced with the zone blocking scheme. You also do not completely know what you have in last years’ pick Devonta’ Freeman.

I so happen to believe that winning National Football League Teams have constructed their teams from the inside out. I think that the 2015 Atlanta Falcons will be better in the trenches through emphasis, scheme, and personnel but the reconstructing of a team with back to back losing seasons is mind boggling in relation to direction. The safe pick would be to go with a young pass rusher but the major risk to be rewarded could be in picking Gurley. I have never doubted where there is smoke, there is fire and NFL Network’s Charles Davis along with our own Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter have been noted as predicting that Gurley will be the pick. Regardless of the scenario, this has and will continue to be an interesting off-season for the Atlanta Falcons.

Jamie Walker is a Producer and Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game Atlanta. You can follow him on Twitter @coachjdub21 or through email at Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com.

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