Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Defensive linemen

June 16, 2016: Flowery Branch, GA:  Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley during the last day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch Thursday June 16, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

June 16, 2016: Flowery Branch, GA: Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley during the last day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch Thursday June 16, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — The top offseason priority for the Falcons has been to figure out how to generate a ferocious pass rush.

The coaches will point out that pass rush isn’t all about sacks. You also have to count quarterback hurries and hits.

The Falcons had 19 sacks, 70 quarterback hurries and 75 quarterback hits on 561 pass plays. That’s an anemic pass-rush ratio of 3.42 percent. Their sack ratio of 3.39 percent was last in the league.

The Falcons are hoping that better coverage on tight ends and running backs while give the pass rush more time to close in on quarterbacks.

Vic Beasley, who had four sacks, 22 hurries and five quarterback hits as a rookie, will move to strongside linebacker in the base defense. He was a factor on 31 plays. Defensive line coach Bryan Cox said they have to find a way to turn some of those 22 hurries and five hits into sacks.

He will rush from defensive end in the nickel defense.

The Falcons are also counting on improvement from defensive end  Adrian Clayborn, who led the team with 15 quarterback hits. The Falcons also added Derrick Shelby in free agency.

Ra’Shede Hageman, who’s heading into his third season, needs to improve his play in 2016.

“I’d like to see some improvement in him this season,” Cox told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think he’s done a good job this offseason of working to get his pad level lower and working on his ankle flexing and some of the things that can make him a better player.”

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Ends – Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed, Courtney Upshaw, Brandon Williams, Vic Beasley Jr.,  Ivan McLennan, Malliciah Goodman, Tyler Starr and Nordly Capi.

Tackles — Grady Jarrett, Tyson Jackson, Jonathan Babineaux, Cory Johnson, Derrick Shelby, Ra’Shede Hageman, Joey Mbu and Chris Mayes.



90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS — POSITION BY POSITION

OFFENSE

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Quarterbacks

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Running backs

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Wide receivers

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Tight ends

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Offensive line

DEFENSE

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Linebackers

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Defensive backs

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Specialists

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Shanahan thinks offense will change thrive with cut in turnovers

Matt Ryan’s film session with AJC columnist Jeff Schultz

Alex Mack, Falcons looks good for one another

PROJECT PASS RUSH

Dan Quinn pressing all buttons to create a pass rush

How does drafting Keanu Neal help the pass rush?

DL line coach Bryan Cox: Hageman needs to improve his play

LB coach Jeff Ulbrich: ‘Cream will rise’ at linebacker for Falcons

Defensive coordinator Richard Smith pleased with early progress of the defense

Falcons still have a spot for DT Jonathan Babineaux

Dwight Freeney 95 percent certain that he will play in 2016

Falcons working 80 percent of time on pass rush

Weatherspoon on Freeney: ‘He still has it’

FALCONS’ OFFSEASON SPOTLIGHTS

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: OG Wes Schweizter, sixth round pick

Falcons offseason spotlight: LB De’Vondre Campbell, fourth round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: TE Austin Hooper, third round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: LB Deion Jones, second round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: SS Keanu Neal, first round pick

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: DE/SLB Vic Beasley

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: DT Grady Jarrett

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: FS Robenson Therezie

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: CB Jalen Collins

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: RB Tevin Coleman

Falcons’ offseason spotlight: WR Justin Hardy


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