Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons will move to a 3-4

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The Atlanta Falcons signed two well-known 3-4 defensive linemen early in free agency in nose tackle Paul Soliai and run-stuffing 3-4 DE Tyson Jackson, who is a 3-4 guy through and through. They also re-signed their impending free agent linemen and added 3-4 DE (at least, I think that’s his best fit in the NFL) Ra’Shede Hageman in the second round of the draft after consistency concerns prevented the massive, high-upside Minnesota product from going in the first.

Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan tried to sell us earlier this offseason that the team wouldn’t move from a 4-3 to a 3-4, but I don’t think many people bought that. Now, ESPN NFL Nation’s Vaughn McClure reports that the Falcons will indeed make the move to a 3-4 defense, and he adds that players on the team were actually talking about a transition late last season.

There is no doubt that the Falcons are very deep on the defensive line after their offseason moves, and it will be interesting who they start, with a special focus on the rookie Hageman. Osi Umenyiora is their best pass rusher, but he doesn’t seem like a good fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker, especially at this stage of his career. Kroy Biermann, however, should do a nice job of transitioning to the 3-4.

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