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Atlanta Falcons 2012 Draft Preview

Last year's bold trade-up to land promising wide receiver Julio Jones has left the Falcons a bit short-handed in this draft, as the team sent its 2012 first and fourth-round picks to Cleveland as part of the package to make the move. General manager Thomas Dimitroff's strategy this time around could be geared towards addressing age issues at a few key positions, with prolific tight end Tony Gonzalez, top pass rusher John Abraham, longtime center Todd McClure and backup quarterback Chris Redman all in their mid-30's and nearing the end of the line. The most pressing concern on the offensive line may not be at McClure's spot, though, as former first-round choice Sam Baker has disappointed at left tackle and enters the final year of his contract, plus there's a void at right guard. If a young defensive end that can pressure the quarterback is still on the board at Atlanta's late second- round selection (No. 55), Dimitroff likely won't hesitate to strike. If not, that pick could be used to nab Gonzalez's eventual replacement. The Falcons probably won't have a chance at the top tight end of this class, Stanford's Coby Fleener, but have shown interest in Louisiana-Lafayette's Ladarius Green.

2011 Record: 10-6

Top Needs: OL, TE, DE

First Three Picks: No. 55, No. 84, No. 157

Number of Selections: 6 (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 7)

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2011 - Julio Jones (WR, Alabama); 2010 - Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri); 2009 - Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss); 2008 - Matt Ryan (QB, Boston College), Sam Baker (OT, USC); 2007 - Jamaal Anderson (DE, Arkansas); 2006 - none; 2005 - Roddy White (WR, UAB); 2004 - DeAngelo Hall (CB, Virginia Tech), Michael Jenkins (WR, Ohio State); 2003 - none.