Continued from page 1

“We need to have big, strong men because the core of the game the game is about controlling the line of scrimmage,” Smith said. “Yes, it’s a quarterback-driven league. Yes, it’s a passing league. But you still have to win the line of scrimmage. That’s something that’s going to be a major focal point as we prepare for the 2014 season.”

Dimitroff said three offensive tackles are regarded as high first-round picks: Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M;’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

“They’re all big, they’re all strong, they’re all athletic, they’re all really good football players with upside,” Dimitroff said. “They all come to the table with something a little bit different.

“Those three tackles are obviously being touted as top-10 players. That’s an amazing thing because rarely does that happen. Usually there are one or two but to have three that are being considered, that’s a positive.”

The Falcons have signed eight free agents, including offensive linemen Gabe Carimi and Jon Asamoah. Other free-agent additions include three-time Pro Bowl return specialist Devin Hester, defensive end Tyson Jackson, defensive tackle Paul Soliai and three defensive backs.

___

AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL