The rise of Seattle 2.0 in Atlanta
By: Shane Harvell / Originally published at www.sportsblog.com.
May. 09, 2017
Photo Credit: @UCLAFootball (Official Twitter Account of the UCLA Bruins)
The organization as a whole deeply desired a complete overhaul after a string of sub-par seasons. Therefore, the hiring of Seattle’s Defensive Coordinator, Dan Quinn, as Atlanta’s new head coach was essential for the rebuilding process. Coach Quinn’s strictly defensive mindset helped in the formation of the renown “Legion of Boom.” Owner Arthur Blank and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff were overwhelmingly impressed and hoped that he would be able to reproduce his past success within the city of Atlanta. Dan Quinn quickly delved into the recreation of Seattle’s quick, hard-nosed, hard hitting defense in last year’s draft. The drafting of Vic Beasley from Clemson and Keanu Neal out of Florida has only laid the foundation of the rising Brotherhood. These outstanding rookies provided the coverage and necessary edge pressure that sparked the Dirty Birds’ quest to the Super Bowl. Despite handing over the Lombardi trophy to New England in a debacle of a game, the organization was able to witness the exposing of its weakness. Ending on such a sour note prompted Coach Quinn back to the draft board. He was able to snatch up DE Takk McKinley from UCLA as the 26th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Atlanta, in fact, traded up from their original 31st pick fearing that another organization would draft a pass rusher. Here is a snapshot of Dan Quinn’s post draft press conference. “The number one trait is his initial get off. He is a finisher. We are thrilled to add Mckinley’s caliber to our defensive front.” Takk McKinley will help compensate the explosive Vic Beasley on the other side of the ball. Theoretically, the pocket will now be able to close up nicely from both sides. McKinley’s high energy and quickness off the edge fits well within Quinn’s style of defense. Atlanta’s firepower furthermore increased as they added defensive depth at the Linebacker and Cornerback position with the drafting of Duke Riley from LSU and Damontae Kazee out of San Diego State. Yet again, the savviness of Coach Quinn allowed him to wrangle up tough, aggressive, and fiery football players. Kazee amazingly boasts seventeen collegiate career interceptions. We all are witnessing a young Seattle 2.0 taking shape as these rookies surround the talented Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Ricardo Allen, Deion Jones, Grady Jarrett, De’Vondre Campbell, and free agent Dontari Poe. The Falcon’s defense was shockingly ranked 28th in the league for passing yards allowed last season. This ranking must drastically improve in order for them to make another run at the Super Bowl as they possess the twelfth toughest upcoming schedule. Although the NFL Power Rankings currently have the Dirty Birds at the number two slot due to their dynamic offense, a new Offensive Coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, is now at the helm.
2017 Draft Grade: A-
Projected 2017 Record: (11–5)
Works Cited: mobile.atlantafalcons.com and @AtlantaFalcons (Official Twitter Account of the Atlanta Falcons)