One philosophy in the draft in building towards the future is to make guesses on which players/positions will be weak or questionable a year from now, and then drafting for those positions. A lot of times, teams will draft a player at a position in case they lose a star free agent the next year.
You make the determination of this by looking at this current year's unit, and expect who will not return in 2006.
For us, it looks like these players may be playing their final seasons as Falcons this upcoming year:
WR Peerless Price
WR Dez White (UFA)
OT Todd Weiner
OT Kevin Shaffer (UFA)
These players may not be back this year, but if they do, it's a good chance they too won't be back in 2006:
RB Warrick Dunn
TE Eric Beverly
DE Brady Smith
DT Travis Hall
LB Chris Draft
S Cory Hall
I think Webster will return in 2006, just based on his cap figures. Cutting him after this year, would cost the team about $4.7 million in dead money, when his cap hit in 2006 is only about $3 million (so we eat an extra $1.7 million). If he is cut, it will likely come in June 2006, where we can save about $1.8 million, but we'll still have a huge dead money hit of $3.5 million in 2007. But in a way, that's not so bad since he's on the books to count about $3.2 million against the '07 cap anyway.
Other players that have somewhat of a chance of not returning in 2006:
RB T.J. Duckett
WR Brian Finneran
P Chris Mohr
And based off this analysis, the Falcons would be smart to grab a WR, OT, and RB in this year's draft since those positions are up in the air following this season. Of course this is info that is not particularly ground-breaking, since most agree those are areas we need to address anyway, but just in terms of building for the future, it would make sense to draft those positions even if they were relatively stronger.
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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