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Atlanta Falcons Draft Preview: Could Cornerback Still Be The Top Selection?

If you've been following the Atlanta Falcons' scouting actions over the last few weeks, then you'll obviously know that the team has been heavily investigating cornerbacks since the NFL Combine back in February.

Recently, we've seen the team conduct private meetings and workouts with names like Trumaine Johnson out of Montana (the Falcons already have two ex-Grizzlies on the roster in Kroy Biermann and Shann Schillinger) and Louisiana-Lafayette corner Bill Bentley.

In addition, they've been connected to names like UGA's Brandon Boykin and ex-Gamecock Stephen Gilmore since the offseason hit. The common theme among these cornerbacks is that they all project to be drafted in either the second or third rounds.

With a roster that already has Dunta Robinson, Chris Owens and Dominique Franks, where would that type of pick leave the now franchise-tagged Brent Grimes?

One popular theory floating around is that the Falcons simply tagged Grimes in order to keep him from signing with a division rival (he very easily could have gone to Tampa).

As it stands, the Falcons could very well choose to trade Grimes to a team outside of the NFC, pick up a couple of draft picks in the process, and also free up $10.6M in cap space. Even if the team didn't use that money this year, under the new "rollover cap space rule" it would be added to next year's total.

If that was the case, then there would be a no-doubt need at cornerback. I could certainly see the team drafting someone like Trumaine Johnson, what with the team's Montana obsession and his ability to fill in as a free safety if need be.

I can also attest to the versatility of Boykin. His ability to return kicks and punts (remember the team lost Eric Weems to Chicago) and even play on offense (remember that 80-yard run against Boise State?).

Beyond cornerback, the only two glaring positions of need I see are offensive tackle and center. While Will Svitek is certainly a viable short-term option, we really don't know if he'll stand up for an entire season. Sam Baker is... bad. Joe Hawley also didn't really impress anyone at center, though that could certainly change with more experience.

But strangely, we haven't heard the team's name connected with many O-lineman. What we have heard is tight end: Coby Fleener and Ladarius Green, specifically. With Tony Gonzalez set to retire after the 2012 season, bringing in a backup for him to mentor makes complete sense.

While Fleener may be off the board well before the Falcons can take him (Orson Charles' DUI has something to do with that), Green should be there in the second or third round. Taking him as a backup would give him a season to bulk up, improve his blocking, and also give the team two great receiving threats at tight end.

Finally, one interesting name we've heard mention is East Carolina QB Dominique Davis, a.k.a. Matt Ryan's old backup at Boston College. If anything, Davis is a late-round pick that gives the Falcons a little bit of speed and versatility at the position, and he could come in and compete with John Parker Wilson for the No. 3 QB spot.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For everything else on the Draft, head over to SB Nation's NFL hub page.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.