Mock draft updated: Falcons pick Clay to mold

Clay Matthews Sr. playing for the Falcons in 1996. His son, Clay Matthews Jr., would be drafted by the Falcons.

Clay Matthews Sr. playing for the Falcons in 1996. His son, Clay Matthews Jr., could be drafted by the Falcons. (AJC Staff Photo/Frank Niemeir)

Dana Point, Calif. — Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris was quite the engaging fellow at the NFL Owners meeting.

Tried to get around to all of the NFC head coaches during their availability session. Checked in with Morris and New Orleans coach Sean Payton before the clock ran out on the session. Didn’t get to Carolina’s John Fox.

Wanted to a better line on their offseason pickups and their draft needs for the Mock draft.

Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris.

Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris.

“We probably need to get another corner for depth,” Morris said. “Got to get somebody in to compete with (cornerback) Elbert Mack.”

Morris likes their free agency pickup of RB Derrick Ward and the trade for TE Kellen Winslow.

“At receiver, we’ve got angry workers . . . (wide receiver) Dexter Jackson (of Dunwoody) has an opportunity to explode on the scene this year,” Morris said.

Also, former UGA standout Jermaine Phillips of Roswell is moving from safety to weakside linebacker, Morris said.

Payton said the Saints, like the Falcons, felt their biggest moves were re-signing their own players.

Jon Vilma, Devery Henderson, Jon Stinchcomb, keeping those three
guys was really important, prior to any other move,” Payton said.

Fox told the reporters at his table that he hasn’t talked to Julius Peppers since the team slapped the franchise tag on him. He blamed all of the fuss over Peppers saying he wants out of Carolina on the business on the league.

We’ll, we haven’t forgotten about our second installment of the Mock Draft. We’ll update each Friday leading up to the April 25 draft.

New Orleans picks 14th. Tampa Bay picks 19th. Atlanta picks 24th. Carolina doesn’t have a first round. They traded it to Philadelphia last year in order to get tackle Jeff Otah.

We have the Falcons going for USC linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. this week after further research and DE Larry English dropping to Pittsburgh.


Clay Matthews Jr. worked hard to turn himself into a pro prospect. His father played in the NFL from 1978 to 1996, including his final three seasons with the Falcons.

Clay Matthews Jr. worked hard to turn himself into a pro prospect. His father played in the NFL from 1978 to 1996, including his final three seasons with the Falcons.

1. Detroit Lions: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor. Lions will try to negotiate a deal before the draft. They pass on Stafford as they try to anchor their O-line.

2. St. Louis Rams: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. The defensive mind Steve Spagnuolo gets some one to anchor the unit.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. Can learn the rope behind Matt Hasselbeck for a year or two.

5. Cleveland Browns: Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. Bengals ignore his injury woes.

7. Oakland Raiders: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mark Sanchez, QB,
Southern California.

9. Green Bay Packers: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas.

10. San Francisco 49ers: Andre Smith, T, Alabama. With Sanchez off the board, Singletary decides his motivational skills can help Smith.

11. Buffalo Bills: Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern Carolina.

12. Denver Broncos: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU.

13. Washington Redskins: Brian Cushing, LB, USC.

14. New Orleans Saints: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri. Sean Payton adds another weapon for quarterback Drew Brews.

15. Houston Texans: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State.

16. San Diego Chargers: Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss. The second run on tackles starts here.

17. New York Jets: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida. Jets elect to add offensive weapon.

18. Chicago Bears: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. A physical corner who’d fit nicely in their Cover-2.

20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas): Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State. After passing on Stafford, the Lions add their quarterback.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona. They have to find a replacement for Tra Thomas.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi.

23. New England Patriots: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Clay Matthews Jr., OLB, Southern California. Could help rebuild the linebacker unit.

25. Miami Dolphins: Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland.

27. Indianapolis Colts: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia.

28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina): Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State. The Eagles get someone to share the load with Brian Westbrook.

29. New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina.

30. Tennessee Titans: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma.

31. Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Larry English, DE/OLB, Northern Illinois.

Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan
Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

So can you see Matthews lining up in the Falcons defense? Trading down and amassing picks is a possibility. Do you pass on Matthews and pick up more picks? Pettigrew is sitting there, but Falcons aren’t tempted. Is that a mistake or there are too many defensive needs?

272 comments Add your comment

The Robot Nesbitt

March 27th, 2009
12:26 pm

The Robot has concluded that the Atlanta-based frachinse with select a position in the primary round of the draft to strengthen the pass rush. Early simulations had suggested that this selection would be a defensive end. Errors now obvious in those calculations have been corrected and the Robot confirms the writer’s prediction that linebacker will be the course of action.

Matthews will be the second most effective of the “USC” linebackers and the second most effective linebacker available in the draft selection process.

The Robot must now determine the blocking ability of one Jared Cook. Do the human fans consider Cook to be a pass recieving threat only? Human responses, of course, do not impact the imperical nature of my calculation; however they do color the way in which I will report them.

Robot also confirms that Peppers will play in Carolina next season or will not play at all.

That is all.


March 27th, 2009
12:34 pm

Stirg is not going to like this. If D-led has insider info that the falcons dont want pettigrew, then I’d take OLB over DE. Dont want to waste a 1st pick on a DE who takes 3 yrs to materialize. I would love a NT, but Jerry may not be there and I think he’s more of a DT. But D-LED, what if the falcons are using you to blow smoke over their true intentions? Is Dimitroff as cunning/secretive as fox or his former boss in New England?

Robot's mom

March 27th, 2009
12:37 pm

Jeffrey, I’m not going to call down the stairs one more time, hon. Your eggo waffles are ready.


March 27th, 2009
12:40 pm

As long as we get someone in the 1st round who will see the field this year. No projects.

KC in Smyrna

March 27th, 2009
12:47 pm

Once again, if Pettigrew or Johnson are available, the Birds have to grab one of these players. Pettigrew COMPLETES Ryan’s skill positions for the next 4-5 years. Ryan, Turner, White, Jenkins, and Douglas will be tough to deal with for every Falcons opponent. Future offensive draft picks will be on the OL in 2010+

On MJohnson, how did the New York Giants beat the best team of the past 10-15 years? They unleashed 4 DEs after Brady and beat him up badly. Tuck, Strahan, Osi, and I forget the 4th guy they moved to LB briefly. What’s so wrong with having our own interchangeable set of QB Killers? I don’t think we can entirely fix the Defense in 1 year. If we can’t get Pettigrew to help provide 30points a game, let’s try to kill the opposing QB. I only see Aaron Curry or Brian Cushing as LBs worthy of a #1 pick. I’d rather use the #2 or #3 to get a LB or even go the cheap vet route again.

#1. Pettigrew / Michael Johnson
#2. Best available player at CB, S, or LB (if Johnson, TE- Ingram from Florida)
#3. Ron Brace
#4-7. Best available player at CB, S, or LB

The Robot Nesbitt

March 27th, 2009
12:50 pm

Robot like eggo waffles, but prefers hot pockets.

Must focus on football. Must. Focus. On. Foot. Ball.

D.O. Led Better, please explain offensive tackle and draft. Current studies indicate that tackle may not be selected, either in the primary, secondary or later rounds. Yet, there is evidence to indicate that such a position is needed. Claybo is solid backup. That is all.


March 27th, 2009
12:55 pm

Interesting choice. We could use someone to fill the Brooking role. Like the “legacy” too.
Best choice out of all: KNOWSHON to INDY…….yeah baby! GO COLTS AND FALCONS.

Great Falconi

March 27th, 2009
12:56 pm

If Clay Matthews, Jr. isn’t shooting up, then A-Rod has never used steroids. That dude is waaaaaaaaaaaay too swole to be clean. Clay, Jr. looks like a damn action figure.


March 27th, 2009
1:00 pm

Claybo is a fine starter in this league…at guard. But we’ve got him and Dahl under control for another year (it would seem) so you can’t take an OT in the first round unless we trade up and get an elite talent or Oher slips to us. We need to shore up our defensive backfield, and where we’re sitting in the draft we could take the best safety on the board or the #2 or #3 Corner. Does anybody really want our top 3 corners going into the season to be Jackson, Houston (is he still smoldering?), and Grimes/Hutchins? I just got chills thinking about it.

Stirg d'Nahsif

March 27th, 2009
1:06 pm

Tampa is moving Phillips down in the box to play at WILL? Interesting; very interesting.

Clay Matthews? Come on, man. I’ve said it before, even I’ll get drafted if you sit me at linebacker with Maivia, Maualuga and Cushing. Matthews is unproven, having played only one healthy season. His size is freakish, yeah, but his football IQ is in question. Bad move for 24.

You darn tootin’, JJ. Its sad we can take advantage of the opportunity of obtaining the most dynamic offense for the next decade. The tandem of Pettigrew and Morrah would be unstoppable.

D.O., I’m going to have to go against this mock, my man. Clay Matthews at 24? Not.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 27th, 2009
1:07 pm

We’ve got Robot in the house. Robot’s mom. Smyrna has checked in. I’ve got to go get something to eat and finish up a story on the rebuilding of the Linebacker unit.

ROBOT: Falcons need a reserve. They are fine with Clabo and Baker. They won’t be taking a tackle in the draft.

KC IN SMYRNA: Pettigrew ran so SLOW!! He won’t be able to get down the field and bust the seam of the Cover 2. He has great hands though.

JJ: We’ll see how Stirg takes the pick. TD holds his cards pretty close to his vest.


March 27th, 2009
1:10 pm

We have to go with the D, and it might not be a bad idea to trade down, if the Perfect player is not sitting at our spot.

I dont know who that is, and dont gaid paid $,$$$,$$$ to know!


March 27th, 2009
1:13 pm

I think Michael Johnson would be a massive mistake and I think your pick of Matthews this time was more thought out, D-Led. Johnson has bust written all over him and we need defense more than TE, so Pettigrew should be passed on as well.

draft 101

March 27th, 2009
1:16 pm



March 27th, 2009
1:21 pm

I’m a little concerned that Matthews is a workout warrior. I commend the guy for working his way on to the field at a place like USC but I wonder if he’s got enough seasoning to be worthy of a #1 pick. It won’t bother me if he is because I trust Dimitroff it’s just something I worry about.

Gresham was better than Pettigrew but he’s still in school. He’s got great hands but I don’t think he’s worthy of a first round grade either.

Ultimately at 24 I think they could afford to trade down in this draft should the opportunity present itself to grab a 2 and a 3 or maybe an extra 2 next year or something. There are a ton of very good players we could add in round 2 and 3 that aren’t that much difference between who we might get at 24.

It’s so open to me who might be available and what our needs are to me I think they simply take the player they have the highest grade on to fit the scheme. If one of the better OT’s is still on the board… why not? Baker is somewhat fragile but talented and could play right and Clabo is very good but better as a reserve at tackle. They could use a DT but that’s a little high really if they aren’t world changing. The DE’s have big question marks there… we’ve already got one of those. I like Alphonso Smith a lot but I’m not sure corner is pressing enough to take him in the 1st. I’d be happy to have him though.

This year, I don’t even really have a passion behind one particular player, I hope they take the highest available on thier draft board that they feel can make an impact next year.


March 27th, 2009
1:36 pm

Great Falconi- Itz called genetics …his pop was a huge guy. 6′3 245 is about average for an NFL/College LB…….. I think you got the wrong guy -Ur looking for Cushing….. Cushing could be the next tony Mandrich remember that guy………Juice bag


March 27th, 2009
1:37 pm

D-LED: Is your pick a guess on your own or a vibe (insider info) you got from the falcons brain trust? Would the falcons give out mis-information to obtain their true pick? Surely not to you!
Shawn Nelson TE could be better than Pettigrew! His scouting report says he’s faster (4.56 vs 4.85) than Pettigrew plus he has excellent hands, good seperation and good effort (?) as a blocker.


March 27th, 2009
1:42 pm

I do not understand all the LB hype either.

Peterson will go back to OLB and Lofton is a solid run stuffer at MLB. Nichols and Wire can hold down the other side. After all the 4-3 defense is used less then hald the time. Offenses pass so much now that the nickle has become the base defense.

S, CB, & NT are needed much more then another LB.
The 1st rounder should be Delmas at S or the best avialable CB (Smith, Davis, Butler).
If Brace does not fall to us in the 2nd we are in trouble. He is the only 330 lb run stuffer in the draft besides he teamate Raji. I would trade up to get him if needed.
The 3rd round pick can be used to get a pass catching TE to play in passing situations.

Now hates the 49ers

March 27th, 2009
1:45 pm

Mike Singletary says Matthew Stafford doesn’t belong in SF because he was uncomfortable answering questions about his parents’ divorce while at the combine. First, what business is it of Singletary or anydamnbody else? Secondly, millions of well-adjusted people would also feel uncomfortable with such questions at a job interview. In fact, who are these jackholes to be asking such questions in a job interview anyway?

Sam m

March 27th, 2009
1:46 pm

D-fence wins Championships! So Falcon Fans if you want a Ring lets get a corner or DE AND the linebacking core we have now is fine,Brooking over rated he missed a wide open TE running down the middle of the field to keep our playoffs hopes down in the dumps. Falcons resing C Davis at DE AND THE MONSTER ON THE OTHER SIDE SO WE WILL HAVE A PASS RUSH BUT WE DONT HAVE A SAFETY!!!! THINK ABOUT THAT


March 27th, 2009
1:55 pm

Robot – what say you on the thoughts for Safety. I think its critical the Falcons address this situation with an immediate playmaker. Linebackers of quality can be had in later rounds – Great Safetys are tough to find past round 2.


March 27th, 2009
1:56 pm

D.O., I do not see enough talent left at #24 that someone would be willing to trade up and get, unless K. Moreno or J. Freeman is still on the board. We may have to pick someone not worthy of a late 1st, I still like Louis Delmas, I think he fits more of a need, as I’m feeling a little more comfortable with our current linebackers.


March 27th, 2009
2:01 pm

1St round: (hopefully trade back into 2nd round)either way the pick is Conner Barwin…we get a pass rusher/OLB/Redzone TE all in one pick.
2nd rd pick: Ron Brace DT (he wont last out of the 2nd round)
3rd round pick: A Big DB
4th round pick:Sammie Lee Hill DT (that gives us 3 of the biggest DL in the leage with Trey Lewis coming back and shores up our run defense)
5th round pick: TE out of Rice
6th pick: Best avail. OLB to learn under Peterson
We’ll sign FA’s for backup on the OLine when draft ends along with DE’s and LB’s.

**IF we do trade out of the first round look for us to take Sean Smith CB/Safety with the 1st 2nd round pick then trade up from our 2nd round pick to take Conner Barwin. Our next pick would be Sammie Lee Hill or whoever they like the bast in DT’s. Then finally a TE
**Watch for the Falcons next year to trade their first round pick along with the 3rd and 5th round compensation picks they get from the Boley/Foxworth losses in FA to jump up in the draft and take Taylor Mays out of USC. He’s the beast that TD loves and thats why he doesnt go Safety early this year. DeCoud will start this year at FS and Coleman SS


March 27th, 2009
2:14 pm

Dear Mr. DOL–the reason Singletary came down on Stafford, see, is he knows about this research done a couple of years ago at Georgia Tech, I think, in which the researchers studied the effects of how 664 quarterbacks answered questions on how they have dealt with their parents’ divorce while they were in high school. Of those that stuttered around, all 540 were drafted in round one, and all of them failed miserably in the NFL. That’s all it is. I may be wrong about where the study was done. It might have been somewhere else. Your pal, Leland


March 27th, 2009
2:17 pm

09 starters b4 the draft
DL: Abraham, Babs, T Lewis, Whoever wins out between Anderson/Davis
LB: Weakside Nichols, Middle Lofton, Strong Peterson
CB: Houston, Jackson on the outsides, Hutchins nickleback
FS: Decoud
SS: Coleman


March 27th, 2009
2:18 pm

Hey guys-love the blog! I would love to see us either get a very good defensive back or trade down to acquire a few extra picks!
Also,do you think Vick’s pension problems will affect his tradability?


March 27th, 2009
2:23 pm

God knows why, but i’m down with the Robot. His grammer’s got issues, but his view of Jared Cook is entirely accurate. Maybe that freak will fall to us in round 2, but i doubt it. We’ve got our new DE, and his name is Chauncey Davis and Kroy Biermann. Davis can play either side, and plays it pretty well. Biermann is a sack specialist and i think will be better next season. At LB you’ve now got Peterson, Lofton, Wire, and I believe Nicholas can start in this league, so we’re looking for depth and competition here, not necessarily a die-hard NEED for starters. Gotta nail down a highly talented corner for sure, and a safety (that kid from Alabama looks good). That’s our true needs in my opinion.

I do… I loves the Robot. Now leggo my Eggo.

Kenny Powers

March 27th, 2009
2:24 pm

I say screw these later round “unknowns”; move up and get as much good 1st and 2nd round talent as possible and don’t make it a LB or a TE. LINEMAN; they win games. Also, first and second rounders are ususally awesome like me with god given talents like a 101mph heater and a pen!s like a burmese python. Good beat Orlando, keep it coming but your LB selection is incorrect.

Stirg d'Nahsif

March 27th, 2009
2:36 pm

Hey, D.O.. I read your brief about the staff liking DeCoud to move to SS. What’s the buzz about teams going that route (you touched on teams doing that)? What does that do for a defense? Does this transition have anything to do with Phillips playing WILL, in Tampa? Feed me some more…You kind of left us hanging.

Another favor to ask. I’ll lay off the lobbying for a Pettigrew/Morrah tight end set, if you get off the USC linebackers tip. Squared up, what has Matthews given us to evaluate his value besides pedigree and weight room dominance? Give me three of the USC linebackers and your Uncle Peter, with a 3-4 defense, and I guarantee Uncle Peter will go All-Pro. I’m just not sold on the USC linebacking corps. Especially when Clint Sintim and Larry English are sitting out there. Now there’s a couple of studs for you (English and Sintim). Both played in a 3-4 but you don’t hear about their linebacking corps. They carried their respective defenses by themselves. Give it up on Matthews. It took a lot for me to compromise and see the validity in your mock for Larry English. I can’t support Matthews. Sorry, buddy.


March 27th, 2009
2:38 pm

D.O.L.- Nice choice…you are coming around my friend.
It really boils down to a process of elimination there are no NT’s in the 1st round unless you go get Raji, Pettigrew can block and he can catch but if he can’t get open WTF, there ARE NO SAFETIES in the 1st round and because I believe a major part of the PROCESS is to BUILD from the inside out it makes sense to go OLB. This is a copycat league and I believe you will see the Falcons running more 3-4 in certain situations and you need versatile linebackers to make that happen. Matthews SR. and Brooking were both the 12th pick in the 1st round…just thought I would throw that out there. Remember Decoud is up so that says alot about the safety position. TD signed Hutchins and drafted Jackson so what does that tell you about their perceived abilities and TD drafted Jackson higher than he was projected. With Abraham, Davis, Biermann and Anderson at DE how the heck can you make an argument for the 1st pick being DE. Trade down?…that’s a thought I believe the Falcons will either trade down with 1st pick or trade up in the second or third given the fact they get compensatory picks next year. With this draft being so deep on defense the Falcons have a chance to get just about everything they need for this defense.


March 27th, 2009
2:41 pm



March 27th, 2009
2:49 pm

Falcoons Easy Button #3

The depth chart reveals the Falcoons needs: a dominant pass rush from the LE/DT position.

1. 24 Michael Johnson, 6′7, 260, DE, G.Tech – I’m betting on Smitty and Sugar Ray here, you don’t pass on a Julius Peppers clone in your own backyard. You spend #1s on Pro Bowl caliber talent and here it is. Fact is, some players are better pros; he will look and play better with better players around him. Never mind how good he’ll look in a Falcoons uniform, how he’ll excite the town and become an immediate fan favorite. Jamaal Anderson now has to fish or cut bait.

2. 55 William Moore, 6′1, 230, SS, Mizzou – 4.51 speed, 8 INTs in 2007, 4 pick 6s in career. Former receiver with good hands and playmaking ability. Big play hybrid-safety you want on the field. Another excellent opportunity to upgrade your overall talent base, both M.Johnson and W.Moore were considered top ten picks pre-season.

3. 90 Rashad Johnson, 6′0, 187, S/CB, Ala – 4.53 speed, made plays all over the SEC, championship pedigree from pro program. 3 INTs vs. LSU. Could join Coleman, DeCoud, Moore, Houston, Jackson as one of the best young secondaries in the league.

4.125 Nic Harris, 6′3, 230, OLB/SS, OK – Robber, S, CB, LB, tag team partner of MLB Curtis Lofton. Immediately provides depth at OLB, but also can provide some thump in the redzone that we sorely lack. Falcoons high on him at Senior Bowl, championship pedigree.

5. 143 Brandon Williams, 6′4, 246, DE, TX Tch – 13 sacks ‘08, 22.5 career sacks as a junior.

5. 160 Sammie Lee Hill, 6′4, 328, DT, Stillman – Another plugger to team with Trey Lewis.

6. 196 Dominique Johnson, 6′2, 190, CB, Jackson St. – 10 INTs in ‘08. All-SWAC.

Non-drafted FA – Endor Cooper, 6′2, 235, LB, Howard – Sheridan Player of the Year


March 27th, 2009
2:59 pm

KC in Smyrna, I agree if Pettigrew is there take him, he is a good blocker and has excellent hands, for naysayers, Shannon Sharpe, Novacek from Dallas, Dwight from San Fran, were all good blockers with good hands and supposedly inferior speed, wonder how there careers turned out?!. Pettigrew offers an excellent target for Ryan, a big, wide, tall, frame, with a nasty attitude to go with it. Yes, defense seems to be the falcons biggest need and defense wins championships, but the team is ultimately would wins championships and this past superbowl is a perfect example, pittsburgh’s amazing defense needed its adequate if not good offense, robot, the tackle comment is making me want to release this deadly virus on you. The Falcons are good at tackle, with your computer skills, please replay last season.


March 27th, 2009
3:01 pm

Wow yea I forgot to consider how good they might look in their uniforms. Tyger- I see the logic of using 4 of our first 5 picks on either DE’s or S.

Stevie Ray

March 27th, 2009
3:01 pm

Sanchez to the Jags?? WTH? Davis Garrard just signed a mega contract last year. He had no O line and weak recievers. There are a lot of holes on the Jags, but QB ain’t one of them. Silly.


March 27th, 2009
3:11 pm

Shannon Sharpe- 7th round draft pick
Jay Novacek- 6th round draft pick
Dwight Clark- 10th round draft pick
WR- I get it, your point is we can get a very good TE in the later rounds.


March 27th, 2009
3:12 pm

What’s brothers? Another day closer to draft day and I couldn’t be happier.

DOL – perfect pick my man. Great stuff this week, rocked out several blogs AND a good mock draft. Like how you mixed it up too, every other draft “maven” changes like two and leaves everything else the same. Seattle would be a great stop for Stafford and combine Moreno with a healty Addai and watch out. ABSOLUTELY LOVE the CLAY MATTHEWS PICK. The force is strong with you.

Stirg – whaddup man? You know you and I are just going to have to agree to disagree on our first round draft pick. If Cushing and Raji are gone, I want us to take Clay Matthews. The BirdCage has gone round and round on “to draft an OLB, or not to draft an OLB” many, many times. I know we got Peterson, but he’s short term. I think Coy Wire is a short term fix as well. That only leaves us with Stephen Nicholas and Robert James. Stephen Nicholas does have potential, but it worries me that he couldn’t beat out Wire when Boley fell of the face of the planet. James may be a stud hitter, but he’s like 5′10, 219, so I don’t think he’s the answer at starter.

JJ – right on with DE, as Stirg researched so well, the majority of times DE is a project. 3 years average. Why would we start over when J.Anderson’s in his 3rd year, we just signed Chauncey to compete with Anderson, and Biermann showed great signs in his Rookie season. We still have a year to draft Abraham’s replacement. Makes no sense to me at all!

Marcus – love your simplicity bro. We get so wrapped up with positions, but truth be told, there are any number of guys we could draft that would help us.

Who hates – seriously. Why would Singletary voluntarily come out and say that about a draft pick he doesn’t plan to take. I mean, why create negative publicity when there’s no need. So much for being a huge christian right? So glad we didn’t pick him as head coach.

Row3 – man, excellent insight on trading down. I don’t think so either, with Moreno being the exception and maybe Freeman to a lesser extent.

Good stuff Bird-Cage Bloggers. Check back in later.

Mock Draft Uno(No more cheatin from me, Stirg):

1)Clay Matthews – OLB
2)Sean Smith – S
3)Shawn Nelson – TE
4)Chris Baker – DT
5)Sherrod Martin – CB
6)Sean Sester – T
7)Slade Norris? – DE

Men, I think I’m finally off the Pettigrew train(not because DOL said it, but it kind of confirms that there are TE’s with better value in the draft). That being said, I wouldn’t be upset if we drafted Pettigrew, but DEF needs more work than OFF. Nelson/Cook/Coffman are my guys.

Reno 911

March 27th, 2009
3:20 pm

Has anyone else noticed that pretty much everyone who provides their picks down through the 5th/6th round includes Sammie Lee Hill, DT, as their 5th rounder? I don’t know anything about him, so I can’t say whether it’s a good idea or not, but man, has there ever been this much consensus one month before draft time on who a team is going to take in the 5th round?! Unprecedented.


March 27th, 2009
3:27 pm

PLEASE don’t draft Michael Johnson in the first!!

The Robot Nesbitt

March 27th, 2009
3:27 pm

Ryno, your statement is confirmed. A quality safety is difficult to find. Robot concludes that because safety requires intense processing power to be truly effective, relying on a new first year model is negligent. Best results may be found from the previously used department. Robot has determined that safety may be best addressed through the secondary market.

Animal testing indicates that impact from defensive rookies is highest at linebacker and defensive end. Tests on humans are underway. Robot’s preliminary protocol: Draft LB or DE with primary selection. Drink lite beer.

LeggoEggos, the Robot Nesbitt contains neither spell-check nor grammar check. Robot prefers binary code.



March 27th, 2009
3:28 pm

pass rush…pass rush…pass rush…that is where it all starts and we only have one injury-prone guy to do it. You have to take a flier on MJ if he is there.

The Robot Nesbitt

March 27th, 2009
3:29 pm

Robot may have impacted formatting of page. Robot sorry.


March 27th, 2009
3:30 pm

Matthews? Come on, he is a nice story and probably a great locker room kid. He prefers to go around blockers and can’t cover college TE’s. Sintim is a better LB. Having said all of that, we still won’t draft a LB in the first round. There is good value later, why waist the pick?

Hood has to be a top contender. He can anchor against the run and he can provide much needed interior pass rush. His is relentless and will make his teammates better. All this UT talk is nonsense. This guy can play.

The other top guy should be Pettigrew. His blocking is top end and he is a very good receiver. Forget about speed, we have enough speed from our WR’s. Pettigrew can get open to convert third downs and he is strong enough to drag defenders several yards. Did anyone have any problems with Alge’s lack of speed? We need a dual threat TE that can contribute in the passing and running games. Pettigrew is clearly the best TE in this draft.


March 27th, 2009
3:31 pm

Cutter, yeah we can get a steal later in the draft at tight-end, the real point is that there won’t be a first round defensive player of need at 24, Like I said, I agree with KC of Smyrna, take the best player available, in this case one that fills a need, Pettigrew is one option, a good option, not the best, but the Falcons have put themselves in a position where their not picking in the top ten, which I consider a good thing. If somehow some stud defensive safety, corner, DT, or Linebacker falls to this spot, I say yes take him, if not, take the best available 1st round pick worthy player, and if it happens to be Pettigrew I’m all for. Clay Matthews, not so much.


March 27th, 2009
3:34 pm

willie – MJ had 20 sacks in four years…that doesn’t cut it big guy…


March 27th, 2009
3:36 pm

Reno 911- There are so few NT’s in this draft is why. 2 maybe 3 that are decent after Raji and Brace.


March 27th, 2009
3:46 pm

The falcons are moving in the right direction, about a year ago no one expected much including myself, so whereas I can see the disagreement pertaining to Pettigrew, I have a hard time understanding why true fans of the game can’t understand the best player available premise. Most of us agree that its going to be difficult to get that game changing salary cap eating player we believe the defense needs at 24, but if there is a 1st round player available that completes a need on either offense or defense, we should take that player because the falcons are building something now and into the future. The recent falcon fan bloggers on this site can only look at the now, but everyone that has been a true falcon fan has gotten tired of the one hit wonder seasons, and we are happy that an actual eye toward now and the future is taking place. If your debating whether you are a true fan, or your not sure, remember the days of ownership by the Smith family, and you can truly understand that if a move improves our team over the long haul, thats a new move for the falcons, because for nearly forty years they have only practiced moves that were of benefit in the short run.


March 27th, 2009
3:54 pm

Why do we keep comparing Pettigrew to none 1st round TE’s. If you think Pettigrew 1st round pick compare him to other TE’s drafted in the 1st round. You can teach a guy how to block and you can teach a guy how to catch but you can’t teach a guy how to ran fast. Shawn Nelson For TE.

Falcons 4 Ever

March 27th, 2009
3:59 pm

Good analysis today. I like Pettigrew but there will still be good blocking/red zone TEs late in the draft and Peele is just fine in that role anyway. We need the next Crump, a guy who can attack the seams in zones now that we have WRs that can attack the perimeter. If Lewis is indeed back near 100% and his rookie season wasn’t a fluke we’re fine at DT especially if Anderson does move inside. I don’t particularly care for the secondary players available at that position in the first round and the draft is deep in DBs. I can’t see the need for a pass rushing left end either as Kroy Bierman was effective in that role last year and Davis is no slouch either, they really need a two down run stuffer at LE and those will be available later in the draft too. That leaves OLB which is the strength of the draft in the latter third of the first round. Wire was effective when he started and they will need to determine if Stepehen Nicholas is a starter or a quality back up. Peterson was a quality pick up but realistically he’s stopgap. Other positions I would like to see addressed later in the draft is C, McClure would be a probowler if he was larger but he’s on the wrong side of 30 and not getting younger. KR, I would like to see Norwood and Douglas to focus on offense only, maybe Robert Brown can handle the duties. Possibly back up QB, the staff needs to decide what they’ve got in Shockley. He’s a great athlete and has a Matt Ryan type work ethic but we still don’t know if he cn put it all together. Is he Cunningham or a Kordell Stewart/Tony Graziani? If it’s the former we’ve got a QB corp that would be the envy of 85% of the NFL. Does robot have any stock tips he can spare?

Stirg d'Nahsif

March 27th, 2009
4:02 pm

What’s going on, D3? You developed a point I’ve been meaning to address. A number of people are downplaying Nicholas’ performance when he could not beat out Boley or Wire for a starting position. First of all, Nicholas’ natural position is weakside linebacker, same as Brooking. Switching to SAM position is not easy when your most natural position is WILL. Do y’all remember when we experimented with Keith Brooking moving to MIKE (he even played SAM, I remember)? Wasn’t that the worst move ever? Before we acquired Ed Hartwell, Brooking played out of position and it was awful. Nicholas will compete for starting at weakside linebacker, exclusively; and Peterson is simply insurance in the event that we don’t acquire a top-rated strongside linebacker and, according to the National Football Post, the elite strongside linebackers are Matthews (with only one year starting experience), English, Sintim and Tyrone McKenzie. I’m almost certain that one of those names will drop to the second round. Even if we don’t catch any of those players (I don’t see why we wouldn’t), Robert James is still competing for OLB and his characteristics shows more WILL than any of the draft prospects.

terry, thank you for reminding us that our defense is not as bad as most people suggest. I like our linebackers, as is: James, Lofton and Nicholas (reserves: Peterson, Tony and Coy Wire). D.O. has already expressed that staff is moving DeCoud to SS, which gives us a strong, experienced tandem at DB. Jackson, Houston and Hutchins are solid at CB. Despite everyone’s displeasure with Anderson, I think we’re solid (and on time) with defensive end. Our MOST glaring need in question is WILL (we can always plug the middle with late rounders, i.e., Sammie Hill). Our current roster have questions at strongside. James was injured and out his first year; Peterson is in a different system and is old. I agree with most…OLB is a position that we need to recruit but it can be done in round two, with all the talent available. I think that proves why I favor tight end for number one pick. Again, it ain’t but a couple of guys that can do what ….(I promised D.O. I wouldn’t lobby his name).