NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reports that New Orleans Saints free agent defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin visited with the Falcons on Monday. Franklin played under current Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in two previous stops in Baltimore and San Francisco before joining the Saints a year ago.
Franklin was originally a fifth round pick by the Ravens in 2003, during which Nolan served as that team’s defensive coordinator. Nolan would move on to become the head coach of the 49ers in 2005, where Franklin joined him in 2007. It was Franklin’s first starting opportunity after working as primarily a backup in Baltimore. He helped make Patrick Willis one of the better inside linebackers in the league during Franklin’s time in San Francisco. Nolan was fired after the 2008 season, and Franklin left the 49ers after 2010 to join the Saints a year ago. It was his first chance to play in a 4-3 scheme, after spending eight years primarily in the 3-4 in both Baltimore and San Francisco. Franklin responded with 17 tackles, while starting 9 of 16 games. It was his lowest tackle total since his final year in Baltimore in 2006, where he was a backup.
The Falcons could use the 317-pound former nose tackle to help shore up the run defense, as they plan to incorporate some 3-4 principles in their 4-3 defense.