BIRDLAND – The Falcons have spent a great deal of the offseason trying to fix the secondary.
They signed cornerback Dunta Robinson to a six-year, $57-million contract. They brought in coach Tim Lewis to basically coordinate the secondary. They traded cornerback Chris Houston to the Detroit Lions.
With the draft inching closer, it’s become clear that the linebacker unit will receive some attention during the NFL draft, which is set for April 22, 23 and 24.
On Monday, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain is set to visit the team. He revealed that he will visit the Falcons, Jacksonville and the New York Giants on Sirius radio on Tuesday while chatting with Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News and Jim Miller.
The Falcons are allowed to bring in 30 players for pre-draft visits. They can bring in an unlimited number of local players.
In most of the Mock Drafts, McClain is slated to be off the board when the Falcons pick with the 19th selection in the first round.
This visit clearly falls under the team’s due diligence policy.
McClain is 6-foot-3 3/8, 254-pounds and is considered a middle linebacker prospect. He would not seem to be a good fit for the Falcons, who have been pleased with the play of Curtis Lofton.
The Falcons have also held private workouts for Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and Texas Christian linebackers Daryl Washington and Jerry Hughes.
There are also some internet reports that Penn State linebacker Sean Lee has a private workout scheduled with the Falcons.
The Falcons currently have six linebackers on the roster. Here’s how they performed last last season:
Lofton – Led the team in tackles with 160 tackles (118 solo tackles, 42 assists). He had four tackles for loss, one quarterback hurry, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
Stephen Nicholas – Was fifth on the team with 82 tackles (59 solos, 23 assists). He had three sacks, four tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also led the team in special teams tackles with 13.
Mike Peterson – Was second on the team with 140 tackles (97 solos, 43 assists). He had one sack, seven tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries, one interception, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
Spencer Adkins – Flashed some speed on special teams late in the season. Had three special teams tackles. Was active for five games as a rookie.
Robert James – Spent most of last season on the practice squad before being activated to the roster on Dec. 29.
Coy Wire – Made 14 tackles (eight solos, six assists). He had two quarterback hurries, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He added nine tackles on special teams.
What’s up with all of this attention for the linebacker position? Could Lofton move outside to make room for McClain? Would the Falcons be smart to shift to the 3-4 to accommodate Lofton and McClain in the middle?