OU’s Robinson ready to come home

PINE ISLE, LAKE LANIER – Yeah, I’m getting this blog up because I’m officially shamming today. Playing in coach Mike Smith’s Hacks vs. Jacks golf tournament. Doing what they call in the journalism game: networking.

However, I talked to Big George “Duke” Robinson, the Washington High kid, who went on to star at

Duke Robinson, a former star at Washington High, is fired up about his workout with the Falcons. (Courtesy of the University of Oklahoma)

Duke Robinson, a former star at Washington High, is fired up about his workout with the Falcons. (Courtesy of the University of Oklahoma)

Oklahoma. He’s working out for the Falcons on Thursday.

What a cool kid. I’d talked to him before in a mass media setting at the NFL scouting combine, but our little chat on Tuesday was very nice.

He seems to have a real good head on his shoulders. I wanted to know why he went all the way out to Oklahoma. (Full disclosure: I like the Sooners. My first cousin, the great Weldon Ledbetter played fullback there for coach Barry Switzer 1979 to ‘83. He was a 7th round draft pick by Tampa Bay and went on to block for Herschel Walker with the New Jersey Generals in the USFL.)

“I wanted to get away from the things that were surrounding me,” Robinson said. “I wanted to change my life and see how far I could get. It worked out well for me. I’m proud of myself and my family is proud of me.”

Will the Falcons be singing "Tears of Clown" if they pass on Robinson.

Will the Falcons be singing "Tears of Clown" if they pass on Robinson?

Robinson, who is related to the great Motown singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson (his great uncle), is projected as a late first round or early second round pick. So he really doesn’t make sense for the Falcons, who appear to be set at guard with Justin Blalock and Harvey Dahl. The 24th slot appears too high for Robinson and he likely won’t be around when the Falcons pick at 55 in the second.

But the Tony Gonzalez scenario could come back into play on draft day with the Falcons trading down out of 24 and amassing second round picks. Then Duke, who’s 6-foot-5, 329-pounds, could be up!

Of course, he’d love to play for the hometown team. He’s also worked out for St. Louis, Cleveland, Miami and Pittsburgh. Most teams have him as a guard and some think he can play some right tackle.

“Right now, I’m just trying to stay focused,” said Robinson, who worked at Braves game selling peanuts and baseball caps in his youth.

He thinks that Oklahoma’s multiple sets and pro passing attack has helped his pro stock. (The Sooners have moved on since cousin Weldon was pounding the ball between the tackles from the Wishbone).

“We ran a lot of stuff,” Robinson said. “No-huddle, regular huddle-up offense. We had some great athletes.”

The Falcons went to Oklahoma in the second round last season and appeared to have found a middle linebacker in Curtis Lofton.

“We are cool,” Robinson said. “I played with him for three years. He’s my dog, but he knows I’ll put that hat on him, too.”

“Tears Of A Clown”

By William “Smokey” Robinson

a.k.a. The King of Motown

Now if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there trying to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that’s quite a different subject

But don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Cos really I’m sad, Oh I’m sadder than sad
Well I’m hurt and I want you so bad
Like a clown I appear to be glad ooh yeah


Well they’re some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there’s none around
Oh yeah, baby baby, oh yeah baby baby

Now if I appear to be carefree
It’s only to camouflage my sadness
And honey to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness
But don’t let my show convince you
That I’ve been happy since you
Cos I need to go, oh I need you so
Look I’m hurt and I want you to know
For others I put on a show …CHORUS

Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my surface hid
Smiling in the crowd I try
But in a lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there’s noone around, oh yeah, baby baby
Now if there’s a smile on my face
Don’t let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Don’t let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don’t care
Cos really I’m sad..

(I know, shamelessly stealing the lyrics thing from the DOB, but it works here. HOMAGE PAID TO THE DOB!!!)

Where do you think Robinson will go in the draft? The Falcons don’t appear to need an offensive lineman, but would Robinson be a good pick for them? Can you ever have too many good offensive lineman?

217 comments Add your comment

Art in TN

April 15th, 2009
7:13 am

I personally would like to see the Falcons take Darius Butler, the CB from UConn. He can play zone and man to man and the Birds need DBs… or Peria Jerry from Ole Miss, but I’m not sure he fits the Falcon’s scheme. He’s certainly not a John Henderson or Marcus Stroud type body.


April 15th, 2009
8:12 am

Nice blog D Led. I just want the draft to hurry up and get here. I will be interested to see if we do trade down for more picks.


April 15th, 2009
8:23 am

The birds should take matthews at 24 and then take jones the safety from alabama with 55th pick. 2 solid defensive players who could both play as rookies and help! they could take a TE in round 3 or 4, then continue to build defense all the way through the draft. We must address safety in early part of the draft, and i could live with us taking delmas with the 24th as well. Guys we have the offense to score on anybody and ryan will only get better, so we will be a force on offense. All we need is the defense to contend for a super bowl. I think we should have signed a cb in free agency, but i guess they consider having grimes back as a big pickup? 2 more weeks!!!!!


April 15th, 2009
8:40 am

I’d like to add him. That Oklahoma offensive line was terrific.

I may have seen your cousin blocking for Herschel. I was part of the largest crowd in USFL history — Generals vs. Bulls in Jacksonville.


April 15th, 2009
8:44 am

I agree with Mountain_Jim….

Bring on the draft, its getting a little tiresome talking about it.

Also – Nice blog – I like the song lyrics when they play a part in your blog, as DOB’s often do – nice touch. Let the good times roll…


April 15th, 2009
9:10 am

Cool blog..love Smokey Robinson! DOB is the music man but like your lyrics. Wish draft was today but I trust GM’s picks.

Got to go to the TEA party at Capital, come on down.


April 15th, 2009
9:29 am

I don’t think the Falcons would go after Robinson even if they are able to trade out of the first round. First thing as DOB explained, he’s a guard. Who would have to go? Dahl or Blalock? Both are fairly young and don’t have a lot of miles on them. Dahl signed a $1 million+ tender and Blalock is still under his rookie contract. Second, if neither Blalock or Dahl is going to be traded or released then you don’t spend a high second round pick on a backup. I think the Falcons are doing their due diligence on a good player. If he happened to fall to the bottom of the second round or even to the third (very doubtful), then he would be a great value to pickup. The Falcons have more urgent needs than OL.


April 15th, 2009
9:37 am

DOL – nice blog. Cool connection story with the great Smokey!

Personally, I’d love to have the kid. We know they can grow’em out there at the OU program, with Lofton being such a stud for us as a rook, but it doesn’t make sense for us if he’s rated high enough to go in the second round. We gotta stockpile on D(have you seen the schedule?), with the lone offenseive exception going to TE in the first(Pettigrew), second(Nelson, Cook), or third(Coffman, Casey). If Pettigrew or Matthews are there @ #24, I don’t think it’ll be an issue because we’re taking one of them. I just got a gut feeling that the TG deal is kaput. Obviously, I have no evidence, but if it were going to happen, it would have just happened with no leaks or fanfare, JMO. We do need to add some depth via FA or late in the draft, but Boudreau has shown a great ability to take raw talent and mold them into studs. His cross-training theory will most likely have us seeing Brett Romberg, Alex Stepanovich, Renardo Foster, and Ben Wilkerson playing some G if need be.

PoorBrave – you’re going to get tea-bagged at the capital? I’m with you on the draft, it’ll be here soon enough. But not soon enough for NFL/Draft junkies like us.

TN Art – Darius Butler looks to be a solid future CB for sure, but I don’t think he’s a first round grade, especially @ #24, IMO. Jerry would be a nice addition for sure, but me thinks he’ll be gone by then.

JB – right on the money brother-man. Matthews is my pick as well @ 24. Even though I must say that if Pettigrew and Matthews are there, flip a coin. Love to have both. My mock alters just a touch from yours. I would take Matthews, but spend a second on Shawn Nelson or Jared Cook at TE. I think they’re a head above Coffman or Casey for instance. Then address SS in the 3rd. Who knows, R.Johnson might still be there. If not, Chip Vaughn should be there. I could see both for sure though. A Matthews, William Moore, Chase Coffman 1-2-3 would be a great run.

TheManMike – where you been bro’? Nice to have you back.


April 15th, 2009
9:42 am

What is this, American Idol, to early of a pick to go away from D, outside of TE. Peria Jerry!

Stirg d'Nahisf

April 15th, 2009
9:44 am

Nice article, D.O.’better. Although we’re set at guard, Robinson would still make a wonderful addition. Competition makes another one better and depth is always a good thing. In addition, he can play tackle, an area we need to add depth to, also. Nonetheless, I can see the Rams drafting him.

D.O., are there any other “homeboys” in the draft that the Falcons may be considering? Are there any “homeboys” out there that fit our more demanding needs (i.e., defensive tackle, linebacker, safety, cornerback)?


April 15th, 2009
9:58 am

We could have Deion Sanders, Darrell Green, Ronnie Lott and Brian Dawkins in our defensive backfield, but if our front 7 can’t generate any kind of pass rush, we still couldn’t get opposing offenses off the field. I look for TD to trade down and pick up a big body, play disrupting defensive tackle with one of the 2nd round picks that we end up with. I’m starting to believe more and more that Tony Gonzalez will be a Falcon come draft day too, thanks to another one of those 2nd round picks.


April 15th, 2009
10:03 am

My hope is that Malcolm Jenkins or Vontae Davis falls to #24. I like R. Johnson or W. Moore at #55.


April 15th, 2009
10:08 am

After perusing TOM WAITES on another AJC blog its refreshing to see some MOTOWN songs – something I relate to. Keep it up DOL. I like it.


April 15th, 2009
10:20 am

Kurt thats what I have been saying. I like Butler, Chung, Vontae Davis, and whoever else, at the same time I think Houston, Chevis Jackson, Coleman, and Decoud would have a better chance if the Falcons get the front seven right, hell Jenna Jamerson would have trouble getting men covered with our front seven as it is.


April 15th, 2009
10:33 am

Row3 – I would love to have Jenkins, but Vontae Davis is too much of a head case. Gil Brandt from NFL.com described him as “like Deangelo Hall, both on and off the field.” H to the E to the Double L NO! Given the choice I’d take Moore over Johnson, but would be happy with both.

Kurt – agree with you on trading down, but only if the right players are gone. If any of the following are available, grab’em(IMHO): Cushing, Matthews, Pettigrew, Maybin, Jerry, & maybe English. All gone, then I agree witch’a.

Edward – smart man my friend. OL can wait for a FA pickup after roster cuts or 6th round.


April 15th, 2009
10:36 am

WR – great, great Jenna reference…….LMFAO!


April 15th, 2009
10:36 am

If we give up our second for Tony Gonzalez I’ll be very, very confused. Second round picks are like gold – good players at a great price. Old tight ends are nothing like gold.


April 15th, 2009
10:49 am

Will Fili Moala be on the board at #90


April 15th, 2009
10:50 am

I just think the Falcons have far too many holes on defense to even consider an offensive palyer at Number 24. Now Brandon Pettigrew, as slow as he is, may be the one player on offense worth taking at #24 if he slips that far. But why would he slip? A starting LB or DB has to be taken at #24. To trade out of the First Round would mean bringing in inexperience as your backups.


April 15th, 2009
10:52 am


Redskins blog now touting GREG TOLER from tiny ST. PAULS COLLEGE into the first half of the third round. That 4.27 forty in the REDSKINS workout and his size evidently turned some heads. I would impress upon the FALCONS staff to take a look at this guy.


April 15th, 2009
11:03 am

kdbanks, I agree wholeheartedly. but if we trade out of the first round and end up with multiple 2nd and 3rd rounds picks, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the trade with KC happens. I’m not saying that I would be crazy about it, but, I know that Gonzalez is already 10 times better than any tight end we can draft and will be a force from the first snap of the first game. No learning curve needed.
I, like most everyone else on here, would prefer that we use all of our picks on our D, but, you have to think that Mularkey is licking his chops at the thought of giving his prize pupil (Ryan) another weapon such as Gonzalez. And I have to believe that he (Mularkey) is in Mike Smith’s ear pleading his case that this one little addition will complete his offense and make them nearly unstoppable.
But, that’s just my opinion.

Kevrock/Smarty Jones

April 15th, 2009
11:08 am

Folks. Pettigrew is another super slow TE that will be a bust in the NFL as a TE. I like Delmas as a DB or the Butler from UCONN. LB’s are dime a dozen like TE’s in mid – lower rounds. You can find one and groom them.

I just had this feeling that Dimitroff is going to have a draft that
will stand the test of time of the ‘85 draft of legend Bill Walsh.

Boy did we get screwed on the schedule. 4 games with the other Teams
coming off their bye weeks. Ouch. Another thing. How in the heck does
the Superbowl Champ had the 3rd easiest??

My favorite Song by Smokey and it’s a classic and I DID SEE Jenna at the Crazyhorse before she went hardcore. ‘Going to a Go go’ Best Smokey song of all.

Go Falcons!


April 15th, 2009
11:20 am

Kevrock/Smarty Jones:

It’s a horse race, I get it. You don’t get the last place schedule unless you finish there.


April 15th, 2009
11:29 am

“I played with him for three years. He’s my dog, but he knows I’ll put that hat on him, too.”

Not sure if he knew this, but best not to mention “dog” when referring to the Falcons or any of their players;)


April 15th, 2009
11:33 am

Kevrock – agreed on the schedule. SB champs with the 4th easiest schedule, is that a joke? Gotta depart from you your assessment of Pettigrew. For our scheme we don’t necessarily need a burner. Pettigrew would be more in the mold of a Witten, tough as nails blocker, 3rd down conversion machine, & red-zone threat. We already have our burners in Norwood, White, & HD, and maybe even T-Brown. Like Delmas and Butler a lot, but not first round worthy, IMHO. LB’s might be a dime a dozen, but they have the highest grade of top-end talent in the draft and that’s what you gotta look for so late in the round. Particularly, I like Cushing and Matthews work ethic. We saw what an outstanding work ethic as a rookie did for us last year in Matty Ice. Saw a little Jenna pre-film work, eh? Wowsers.

Kurt – I’m with you on TG. Honestly, I’ll be happy either way. Getting TG for 2 to 3 years or just finding a TE in this year’s deep class. Either way works for me.


April 15th, 2009
12:04 pm

Who is this Dimitroff anyway? Does he have experience drafting players? does he even consider consulting with AJC reporters for draft knowledge?

Why does he not have an open mind and review this bloggs suggestions in order to get a starter with the no. 24 pick?

Glen Dorsey had one sack last year.

angry banker

April 15th, 2009
12:05 pm

our o-line did a good job last year – but after the schedule was announced all I can think about is playing haynesworth, demarcus ware, osi, kris jenkins and all the great defenses we’re going to face this year…

it sure would be nice to have a little blocking help – even a big tight end would help. It sure would be nice to pick one up around the 2nd round… wait a minute…. isn’t there a TE we can trade for with 10 consecutive pro bowl appearances on the trading block?


April 15th, 2009
12:17 pm

Mays Highschool cant get any love???? There is a former Mays Highschool player that is also working out for the Falcons tomarrow…..


April 15th, 2009
12:20 pm

D3 and Kurt I agree, if we can get TG or a good tight-end in the first round I would be okay. If you really look at the schedule, New England and the Saints are the only offenses that strike any real fear when considering the state of the defense. Offensively, there are a mass number of very good defensive teams on the schedule. Complete the offense if the opportunity is there, continue to develop the defense with the remaining picks. The last thing the Falcons need is a QB that gets shell-shocked by the defenses he will face this year, finish the offensive puzzle by giving Ryan a security blanket and giving the offense more consistent blocking on the perimeter, this schedule will allow a young defense to develop if they can recover psychologically after the beat-down that they will surely take after visiting New England. That game will make or break the season even though its early in the season, if the young defense can take the bull by the horn and grow after getting massacred, the defense will get better as the season goes on, if their youthful thoughts gets in the way of understanding its a marathon not a sprint then the birds will be in trouble after that game.

Ken Strickland

April 15th, 2009
12:27 pm

KURT-if we trade down and acquire an extra 2nd rd pick, we could trade for TE TGonzalez and still retain our current compliment of 7 draft picks. Now that would put us in an awsome position. By even considering trading down, it shows we aren’t that committed to drafting any of the top 3-4 LB’s.

On the last blog there was mention of the number of wins we can expect this yr. It ranged from 8-8 to 10-6. Even with what is considered the 4th toughest schedule, I believe we’ll end up with the same 11-5 won/loss record we had last yr, and here’s how.

Of the 8 teams on next yrs home schedule, we played 6 of those teams last yr and defeated all but one(Eagles). Buffalo and and Miami are the 2 new teams on this yrs home schedule and I’m confident we’ll be strong enough to defeat them on our home turf. Bottomline, we should go undefeated at home. That leaves away gms against the 49′ers, Cowboys, Giants, Jets, Patriots and division rivals Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Carolina. I find it hard to believe we can’t manage to come away with at least 3-4 wins out of those gms.

Anyone that knows anything about professional football knows confidence is often more important than talent when determining winners and losers. After the way this franchise overcame the humilations of 06 & 07 and all of the uncertainty at the start of last season, we’ll certainly start this season with 3 vital elements that were missing at the beginning of last seaon. Those 3 elements are loads of (1)CONFIDENCE (2)FOCUS and (3)CHEMISTRY.



April 15th, 2009
12:38 pm

I gotta be honest WR, I’m not gonna think for one minute that our defense is gonna take a beatdown and get massacred in New England. They are good, no doubt, but our Falcons are different than the Falcons of old. This will be our second year in Coach Smith’s system and will have gone through 2 drafts and free agency periods managed by TD. I’m thinking we’ll do OK. We may get beat, but I kinda like our chances. I guess you could say that I may be a tad bit inebriated from drinking so much of the TD and Mike Smith Kool-Aid. That’s OK though, I’m a believer until he signs a Hartwell or drafts an Aundrey Bruce or Bruce Pickens or Jimmy Williams or…..well, you get the picture.

Cobra Lalalalalala!!

April 15th, 2009
12:42 pm

Washington HIGH SCHOOL??!!

And I thought you meant the Redskins, wow you’re amateur!


April 15th, 2009
12:46 pm

Ken, I’m with you. My thoughts exactly. Have you seen the draft value for the 24th pick? It looks to me like it will take a couple of 2s and maybe a 3rd, depending on who we traded with (if we traded). That would be sweet, even if one of the 2nds is for next year. It’s pure genious. I swear I think the man (TD)has a clue about this whole football thing.


April 15th, 2009
12:53 pm

Thats the point Ken, as tough as everyone is making this schedule out to be, outside of New England, no other team strikes any real fear. Cutler has no targets in Chicago, NC has Jake and probably no peppers, the jury is still out on Eli in NY, Jason Campbell and Washington’s offense scares no one, T.O. is not going to turn Trent Edwards into Joe Montana anytime soon, do the Jets have an offense, does Tampa have a team, Romo and the boys are a bunch of head cases, the 49ers plain suck, Pennington is trying to win as hard as he’s trying to stay off the disabled list, McNabb and Westbrook are the walking wounded and even if they weren’t we have them in Atlanta, if the colts, titans, ravens, steelers, chargers, and maybe even the cardinals were on our schedule, I could see cause for concern, their not, and all I see is beatable teams, so panic, not so much.


April 15th, 2009
1:00 pm


Wow, this is the last column of yours that I will ever read, sir. Try doing a little research and look at what the yds/cry number was against teams with winning records last year.

It should take about 15 minutes, and you could probably do it from the golf course if you were so inclined, but you obviously aren’t, Mr. Ledbetter, so enjoy the sunshine, and when you come back keep telling every idiot fan with a Falcons jersey what a huge impact a receiving tight end will make on our offense.


April 15th, 2009
1:18 pm

I trust our GM and will celebrate any pick he makes. It’s been a while since I had that much confidence in a Falcons decision maker.

Ryan, Lofton, Turner – this guy’s made some terrific player decisions.

angry banker

April 15th, 2009
1:18 pm

hate hate hate

in DOL defense, we are DEEP at o-line. now, quality is another subject all-together…

Rule .303

April 15th, 2009
1:25 pm

I always thought it was Maurice Carthon who blocked for Herschel Walker while at the new Jersey Generals?


April 15th, 2009
1:41 pm

Quick Hit @ Lunch:

Ken – I agree with a trade scenario to get TG, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not enamored with a certain draft pick possiblity, just that they’re looking at all options and doing they’re due diligence. Personally, I think the TG trade is dead, but that’s just me.
Agreed on schedule. This stuff get’s waaaaaaay overblown. If you wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best. I’m looking forward to the test honestly. Who in the H— thought we would go 11-5 at the beginning of last year?

Steven – nice vitriol brother. I’d say we need some depth help, but our OL did a pretty nice job helping Turner be second in the league in rushing. They struggled a few times, granted, but we can’t be liontamers all the time.


April 15th, 2009
1:54 pm

How about this scenario? Your previous draft ESP had the Jaguars taking Sanchez with the #8 pick. I don’t see Sanchez as being a good fit there. However, the Falcons have a QB who would be a good fit there. What do you think of a trade sending our #24 plus DJ Shockley for their #8? The draft possibilities for the Falcons would change radically. And yes, blog fans, I am a Shockley fan who feels like he could start somewhere in the NFL. Jacksonville would be perfect. Atlanta belongs to Ryan. Go Matty Ice!

#8 for shockley and a #24?

April 15th, 2009
2:05 pm

wow, you are from Mars

#8 for shockley and a #24?

April 15th, 2009
2:08 pm

I can see Jim Mora’s twisted face saying: shockley? shockley? did you say shockley?

a former 7th round pick who’s now had ACL surgery? wow

Reno 911

April 15th, 2009
3:02 pm

Mars: Applause for getting creative. While I don’t think that Jax would necessarily see Shockley as an improvement over Garrard, whom they are already paying a lot to play this year, I do think the idea of moving up may be worth talking about. I think that the only defenders who would make a big impact for the Falcons will be gone by 24, or long before, and as much as I like the idea of trading down, the idea of trading up is worth a spin. (Someone who has an idea of what the draft ‘point’ values are will likely correct me here, because I have no idea what it says picks are worth.) But if Raji is clean, and the drug test rumors are false, and he’s still there at #7-10, which he might be, would the Falcons pull the trigger? What about trading into the 15-20 range for Robert Ayers? Who knows how much the price would be for these, but someone might be game. As has been said by others more knowledgable than I, the Falcons are looking to get some compensatory picks next year for their FA losses, and while they can’t trade those picks, knowing that they have them might free them up to trade some of their regular picks coupled with their #24 in this year to move up a few spots, or maybe even into the top 10. it would at least give the Falcons a shot at one of the few potential defensive game-changers out there; as much as I like Matthews and Cushing, I think they’re going to be just good players, at best, while Raji and/or Ayers might be great.

Reno 911

April 15th, 2009
3:05 pm

(all that being said, I’d still rather the Falcons trade down and pick up another 2nd and 3rd rounder, maybe in combo with one of the Falcons’ 5th rounders…. but it’s worth consideration.)


April 15th, 2009
3:07 pm





April 15th, 2009
3:13 pm

Maybe we could trade DJ for Gonzalez straight up. Then both teams head straight to the Superbowl.


April 15th, 2009
3:21 pm

Do whatever it takes to get TG-he will help keep our defense off the field by keeping drives alive-unless he scores a quick TD which i could live with also!


April 15th, 2009
3:29 pm

TG is too old. Body is banged and bruised after 12+ yrs in the NFL. Stick with our current roster or pick up another one in the later rounds of the draft. QB, RB, WR, O-LINE..all good. Do we still have that TE from TN?


April 15th, 2009
3:43 pm

Yeah, maybe Keith Zinger is ready to step in at tight end instead of Hall of Famer Gonzalez.

Sam Canada

April 15th, 2009
3:49 pm

I think most people are forgetting the fact that we drafted a cb in the third round last year in chevis jackson, plus we have von hutchins comin back this year so i think out cb’s are set. we also drafted a safety in the third round last year in decoud. i think our biggest need is OLB. peterson is a short term replacement and we can use some youth and athleticism to rush the qb from our OLB spot. i think matthews would be a great pick, i also think laurinitis would also be a good pick. in the second round we can address our d-line to help our run defense.