June 13, 2024

The Falcons have a conspicuous gap in their pass rush lineup that remains unfilled. Terry Fontenot, the team’s general manager, cannot afford to enter the draft with the defense in its current state. It’s imperative for Atlanta to secure an established edge rusher, and Pro Football Focus identifies Chiefs pass rusher Mike Danna as a suitable target for the Falcons in free agency.

Danna embodies reliability and consistency, demonstrating a strong understanding of his role, maintaining gap discipline, and capitalizing on opportunities to make plays. While he may not possess elite explosiveness off the line, he effectively pushes opposing tackles backward into the pocket. In the 2023 season, as his role expanded, Danna displayed improvement in disengaging from blockers to pressure the quarterback.

Arthur Blank hired Terry Fontenot for moments like these - The Falcoholic

According to Pro Football Focus, Danna is anticipated to command a three-year contract worth $24.75 million in free agency, following a productive season where he notched 6.5 sacks, 50 tackles, and three passes defended. Despite the return of Arnold Ebiketie, Lorenzo Carter, and DeAngelo Malone from the previous season, the Falcons’ pass rush remains lacking. Even if Ebiketie makes strides in his development and achieves double-digit sacks, there’s no harm in bolstering the pass rush with another capable edge defender.

It’s widely recognized that NFL defenses can never have enough pass rushers, as evidenced by the league’s top units such as the Ravens, Chiefs, Dolphins, and Bills, all of whom boast multiple effective pass rushers. While the Falcons may not require assistance on the interior defensive line, their edge rush is severely lacking. While Danna alone may not solve all their pass-rushing woes, selecting a pass rusher at the No. 8 spot in the draft would be a prudent move to further fortify the unit.

However, it’s essential for Falcons fans to temper their expectations regarding rookies as the sole solution to their pass-rushing issues. While rookies may contribute to the solution, it’s rare for them to single-handedly transform a defense with immediate double-digit sack production.

The Falcons’ decision to invest heavily in Kirk Cousins with a $180 million contract signals their ambition to contend for championships. Consequently, they must assemble a championship-caliber defense, with a strong emphasis on enhancing their pass rush capabilities.

NFL: SEP 07 Lions at Chiefs

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