Kroy Biermann is a free agent, Osi Umenyiora is gone and that leaves Stansley Maponga and Tyler Starr as Atlanta’s primary pass rushers from the weakside. Dan Quinn has to find his “LEO” weakside defensive end. He could take a multi-pronged approach.
If Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes or New York’s Jason Pierre-Paul are too rich for a first-year coach’s blood, Cleveland’s Jabaal Sheard, Philly’s Brandon Graham, and Washington’s Brian Orakpo are three players who come to mind when it comes to Atlanta’s $25.7 million in cap space. Getting one of those pass rushers on the market to pair with a rookie early-round draft pick like Dante Fowler, Bud Dupree or Vic Beasley (or others) seems like it could have the potential to make a big impact quickly.
McShay dropped Missouri’s Shane Ray on his big board after his subpar performance in Indianapolis. He had disappointing results in the bench press (21 reps) and weighed in at just 246 pounds, causing concern about his lack of strength and power. The Falcons, however, will take all the pass-rushing help they can get, and Ray is probably the best edge rusher available at this point in the draft.
Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller will be a free agent next month, but hasn’t ruled out a return to Buffalo yet. During an appearance on Sirius XM radio on Tuesday, Spiller said there is “a possibility [he] could be in a Bills uniform” next year, despite reports that the two sides remain far apart in contract talks. He seemed to put the onus on the organization to get a deal done, noting that “the ball is in their court” and that he prefers to stay in Buffalo.
The 27-year-old is coming off an injury-plagued 2014 campaign during which he missed nearly half the season due to a broken collarbone, and was largely ineffective when he did get on the field. The 2010 first-round pick rushed for 300 yards on 78 carries — averaging a career-low 3.8 yards per rush — and scored just two touchdowns in nine games. Spiller earned a base salary of $3.5 million last year in the final season of his rookie deal.