Mock Draft 5.0: USC’s Cushing falls to Falcons

Falcons coach Mike Smith take a break from draft preparations to host the media in a golf tournament at Pine Isle Golf Course in Lake Lanier Islands, Georgia.

Falcons coach Mike Smith took a break from draft preparations to host the media in a golf tournament at Pine Isle Golf Course in Lake Lanier Islands, Ga.

No Pam Grier, Beyonce or Batman for this week’s mock draft.

With a shade over a week to go, the dust is starting to settle around the National Football League. We must get down to some football business.

The last few visits are being taken and teams are finalizing their draft boards. They are reviewing several scenarios that could unfold on Saturday, April 25.

One of very popular scenarios has USC linebacker Brian Cushing, once considered a top 10 pick, dropping to the Falcons at No. 24. It’s likely because the glut of defensive end/outside linebacker types and because of his red flags. If he’s there at 24, he’ll be holding up a red and black jersey around 8 p.m. next Saturday night. Check out some Cushing highlights.

Coach Mike Smith congratulates 790 The Zone's Chris Dimino after he won the closest to the pin contest.

Coach Mike Smith congratulates 790 The Zone's Chris Dimino after he won the closest to the pin contest.

Who are the Falcons going to select in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft?

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The draft is packed with a lot of hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker types. With so many teams going to some version of the 3-4 defense, those guys are at a premium. The group includes LSU’s Tyson Jackson, Penn State’s Aaron Maybin, Florida State’s Everette Brown, Northern Illinois’ Larry English and Virginia’s Clint Sintim.

Another key position to keep an eye on is wide receiver. A lot of teams are in the market for wide receivers and there could be a first round run at the position. After Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree and Missouri’s Jeremy Macklin teams may start to panic.

Look for a couple of teams to make trades before the draft for Arizona’s Anquan Bolidin and Cleveland’s Braylon “Mr. Dropsies” Edwards.

If you see Jackson, Maybin and Brown go ahead of the Falcons, then Cushing is falling. He may free fall right into their laps.

Cushing is a fit for the Falcons 4-3 defense at either of the outside linebacker spots. He played strongside linebacker as a freshmen, junior and senior for the Trojans. He played defensive end as a sophomore.

Cushing would not come without any baggage. Rumors of steroid use started back when he was in Bergen (N.J.) Catholic High and followed him over his four years at USC. He was also involved in an incident in April of 2006 where he was handcuffed and put in the back sit of a cop car. He was never arrested, but the images where shown nationwide.

Coach Mike Smith shows off nice form in the cloeset to the pin contest.

Coach Mike Smith shows off nice form in the closest to the pin contest.

“Some scouts worry about Cushing being more of a body builder than a football player with his strict eating regimen and shredded physique, and durability long has been an issue,” wrote Nolan Wawrocki of Pro Football Weekly in their 2009 draft preview.

A couple other things to note, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, Cushing’s old roommate, has jumped into the top five. Also, Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers (12) and Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie (29) make their debut in the mock draft this week. Oklahoma’s Duke Robinson (28) was in earlier, but had dropped out. He’s back this week.

Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, Southern California’s Clay Matthews Jr. and North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks have dropped out of the first round.

LEDBETTER’S 2009 MOCK DRAFT 5.0

Welcome to the ATL Brian Cushing.
Welcome to the ATL Brian Cushing.

1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. Stafford has impressed the Lions. Now they can show him the money!

2. St. Louis Rams: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. First stunner of the day. The Rams need receivers after letting Torry Holt go. (The link is to a nice article from our good buddy Allen Wilson of the Buffalo News.)

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. The Chiefs get around to addressing their suspect defense.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC. Didn’t play much in college, but can backup Matt Hasselbeck until he’s ready.

5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas. Should fit nicely in Eric Mangini’s version of the 3-4.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor. Bengals look for some more protection for QB Carson Palmer.

7. Oakland Raiders: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia. He slides a little bit, but the Raiders will snap him up.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College. The Jags get an anchor for their defense

9. Green Bay Packers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU. Packers have to improve their defensive line.

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

11. Buffalo Bills: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State. After picking up Terrell Owens, the Bills turn their attention to defense.

12: Denver Broncos (from Chicago): Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee. Welcome to the DOL’s big board.

13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher, T, Ole Miss. The Redskins take a major step towards rebuilding the the offensive line.

14. New Orleans Saints: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB. Sean Payton is looking for someone to run the ball between the tackles.

15. Houston Texans: Jeremy Macklin, WR, Missouri. QB Matt Schaub get someone else to throw to other than super stud Andre Johnson.

16. San Diego Chargers: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona. Chargers elect to address their offensive line.

17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State. Jets get their Brett Favre replacement.

18. Denver Broncos: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State. The Broncos stick with defense as they try to resurrect the Orange Crush

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State. Is a good fit for Tampa’s Cover-2. He’s a solid corner, but doesn’t have elite speed to play a lot of man-to-man coverage.

20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas): Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern California. He slips, but doesn’t get past the Lions.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: It would be a reach to take a tackle here, so they make a value pick and get Brian Westbrook’s heir apparent. They’ll try to replace Tra Thomas later.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida: Vikes add a play maker to go with Adrian Peterson.

23. New England Patriots: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. Pats decide that their locker room is strong enough to keep Davis focused.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Cushing, LB, USC. Everything breaks right and the Falcons get their man. He’s could have shot at winning one of the outside linebacker spots.

25. Miami Dolphins: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland. Has a big upside.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi. A good fit up front for the Ravens.

27. Indianapolis Colts: Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois: Bill Polian finds another potential Pro Bowler late in the first round.

28. Philadelphia (from Carolina): Duke Robinson, OT, Oklahoma. Eagles elect to get their tackle here, even though he may be better suited to play guard.

29. New York Giants: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State. The precise route runner will be expected to eventually replace Plaxico Burress. Check out the son of the Falcons receivers coach show out against Texas last season.

30. Tennessee Titans: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State. His 40 times are scaring a lot of folks.

31. Arizona Cardinals: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut. Edgerrin James will get his wish to be released after this pick.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia. A perfect fit after playing for Al Groh at Virginia.

Western Michigan's Louis Delmas is a ball hawk. (Associated Press).

Western Michigan's Louis Delmas is a ball hawk.

FIRST ROUND FRINGE
James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Clay Matthews Jr., LB, USC
Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan
Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Alex Mack, C, California
Max Unger, C, Oregon
Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina

Would you like to see the Falcons select Cushing with the 24th pick? Should they pass on Cushing and take Sintim? Should the Falcons trade the pick and move back into the early part of the second round and select Western Michigan defensive back Louis Delmas?

273 comments Add your comment

what

April 17th, 2009
12:55 pm

JMar

April 17th, 2009
1:07 pm

This draft makes the most sense of any of your others. I think taking offense with our first pick would be a huge mistake. That said, I’d prefer any of the other defensive positions to linebacker if we’re absolutely keeping that first pick. So unless Vontae Davis happens to fall to us, I’d rather trade back for Delmas or Moore and get an extra pick to use on Hood or Smith or a LB.

kappellmeister

April 17th, 2009
1:17 pm

And by the way – does ANYBODY care who’s first? Whay aren’t you in school, ‘what’? I assume you must be twelve or something.

STUCK IN SC

April 17th, 2009
1:28 pm

I think DT is a bigger need. I also think all this talk of taking a LB with the first pick is a smoke screen.

Billy

April 17th, 2009
1:30 pm

There is NO WAY that Houston takes a receiver. Have you seen the defense?

Falcon Devil

April 17th, 2009
1:31 pm

I don’t think Peria Jerry will fall this far and if he does we should take him.

Falcon Devil

April 17th, 2009
1:32 pm

Agreed Billy, Houston has one of the best WR’s and a decent No. 2 definitely won’t go WR with their first pick.

Baba O'Riley

April 17th, 2009
1:35 pm

Huge mistake by Detroit. If I were them, I’d let the draft clock run out so St. Louis could pick first.

willie

April 17th, 2009
1:37 pm

Agreed….Houston has one of the top 2 WR’s (Fitz being the other) in the NFL and not much else. They certainly won’t take a WR. I think they would snag Cushing if he is there.

gdg73

April 17th, 2009
1:38 pm

I am with STUCK IN SC. DL should be our priority, CB after that. We are fine at LB. I doubt if Cushing could beat any of our startersright now anyway. We need a player that will come in and contribute, if not start. A CB or a DT in rotation with Lewis and Babs would pay immediate, dividends unlike a player at a position that is pretty much already set (Peterson, Lofton, Nicholas). We do need LBs for depth, but they can be found in the later rounds. I say Peria Jerry, Malcolm Jenkins, or trade down.

I care

April 17th, 2009
1:39 pm

STUCK IN SC

April 17th, 2009
1:41 pm

willie

April 17th, 2009
1:42 pm

Assuming Cushing is gone (which he will be), I still think the Falcons take Pettigrew with their first pick, whether we agree with it or not. It is one of our major needs. I don’t think they rank our needs by priority. They would just take highest overall on the board that fits one of our needs and that will be Pettigrew. So if they think Pettigrew is the 10th or 12th best player overall, they would have to grab him, even knowing how much help we need on defense. Having said that, I would prefer giving the late 2nd rounder for Tony Gonzalez. He is signed for 3 more seasons, looks to be in great shape and had one of his best years last year. That way, we could go defense with that 1st pick.

willie

April 17th, 2009
1:43 pm

FYI, Mel Kiper has Pettigrew ranked as the 7th best overall prospect currently. No way the Falcons can pass on that at 24 if we don’t do the Tony G. deal.

gdg73

April 17th, 2009
1:45 pm

Detroit could do the rest of the owners a favor and start negotiating with Andre Smith for the 1st pick and guarantee him $25 million and let the rest of the player’s salaries slide right behind his. He would jump at that money because his stock has slipped. But if you look at the guy on film, he is the best OT by far. I think he is getting a bad rap. People get to caught up focusing on the wrong things.

willie

April 17th, 2009
1:48 pm

Agreed…Andre Smith will be a beast.

Baba O'Riley

April 17th, 2009
1:52 pm

gdg73- that would be great for the nfl if it happened that way.

J-Mo

April 17th, 2009
2:01 pm

If he falls … I take Peria Jerry!!! I also trust 100% in whomever TD selects with our pick!!! He’ll do the right thing!!!

Ranjeet

April 17th, 2009
2:01 pm

Buc’s fan here. Just wanted to let you know the buccaneers no longer run the cover 2 system here. But i really hope we get a CB too! ;)

Edward

April 17th, 2009
2:11 pm

I think that if Cushing falls down to the 24th spot, the Falcons should run to the podium with their pick. He fills an immediate need at the SAM backer. I know a lot of the bloggers on here think DT and CB, and I agree those are needs. BUT, at the 24th pick and the best available 1st round options for the Falcons biggest needs are:

Cushing at LB
Jerry at DT
Butler at CB
Pettigrew at TE
Delmas at S.

Out of that group, I think Cushing would be the best value at a need position.

STUCK IN SC

April 17th, 2009
2:16 pm

I think if they don’t have either a DT or CB on the board they like in the first round they will trade down and pickup another 2nd round pick and then take TG from KC at tight end. With the other 2nd round pick they take a DT/CB/LB.

JerseyFalcons

April 17th, 2009
2:20 pm

Let’s see who’s on that liost of steroids first…and if Cushing isn’t on it, then maybe think about it. I still think the TE from OKst is the ebst best…can block, has good hands, and gets the YAC. Plays much faster than his timed speed w/ shorts on.

Kenny Powers

April 17th, 2009
2:33 pm

Has anybody ever thought of C Alex Mack from CAL?

gdg73

April 17th, 2009
2:41 pm

Our main weaknesses on defense last year were our inability to pressure the quarterback (especially up the middle), the inability to stop the run (especially up the middle), and suspect DB play outside of Foxworth (now gone) and Coleman. Now please tell me how Brian Cushing helps us get better in either of those areas.

D3

April 17th, 2009
2:42 pm

DOL – YOU DA’ MAN! The best mock to date, not necessarily that I disagreed with your other picks, but this is the best. Good work. All that sun, golfin’, & fun must’ve been your muse.

This scenario is possible, but not extremely plausible. If he slips past Houston, then we got a chance, but I still think he’ll be gone by that point. New England is also a possibility for sure. The picks have been consistently OLB. There’s a reason for that. Picking late @ #24, you have to be fluid and volatile and be in a position to look hard at the deepest position of the draft class, and by far and away that is OLB. Raji is really the only lock @ DT, IMHO. Jerry is a stud and would fit nicely, but is similar to Babs in build, frame. We need a run-stuffer in the mold of Trey Lewis. Even though the top-end of DT is not deep, the 2nd round and below is very deep with talent. Overall nice pick.

Even though this scenario is unlikely, it does hint at a strategy that it looks to be an OLB/DE or Pettigrew. It looks as if Buffalo doesn’t make the T Jason Peters trade to Philly for their #21, then Pettigrew will likely slide to us(don’t think they will burn their #11 on him). After the second round, the talent is deep in several areas, and TD will do a masterful job mining the gems out. Obviously, I could be dead wrong, but all indications look to be going in the OLB or Pettigrew direction.

Of the linebacker, I believe that Cushing is the man over Matthews. Cushing is more in the mold of a run-stopper that needs to work on his coverage, Matthews is the reverse, a nickel corner that needs to work on his run-stopping. We have a great good nickel corner in Nicholas, which is WILL. Cushing is more of a SAM, which is what we’re looking for. Our draft board might look something like this:
1)Pettigrew
2)Maybin
3)Cushing
4)English…….projects as more of a run-stopping SAM/DE.
5)Matthews

7 DAYS, 21 HOURS, 17 MINS, & COUNTING!!!!!!!!!!!!

D3

April 17th, 2009
2:44 pm

gd – I understand where you’re coming from bro’, but have you forgotten the play of Brooking in the pass(all due respect), and Boley’s disappearing act.

Edward & Willie – right in line with you guys!

F.Y.I.

April 17th, 2009
2:44 pm

This was published March 20, 2007 by The Daily Trojan (USC News):

White Nation Group Makes National News

USC football player Clay Matthews Jr. and his teammates will not be punished by the university for their involvement in the “White Nation” Facebook group, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The controversy first reported in the Daily Trojan before spring break garnered national attention and prompted discussion on the limitations of jokes, racism and Facebook privacy.

“He’s done what he could to apologize,” coach Pete Carroll said about Matthews to the Times. “I think he’s taken all the right steps for anybody that it offended. And there was never any intent of that at all.”

The inside joke started when running backs coach and special teams coordinator Todd McNair jokingly referred to a group of Caucasian players on the kick-off team as “White Nation.”

“I made the name. The White Nation,” McNair said to the Times. “Just playfully, man.”

Clay Matthews Jr., a linebacker, created the Facebook group whose majors included teammates David Buehler, Brian Cushing, Dan Deckas and Dallas Sartz.

“This group is not for the faint of heart,” read the group’s description. “All members are athletes of Caucasian (sic) descent. DISCLAIMER: In no way are the following memebers (sic) intolerant of others, we are just doing our duty of protecting the Arian (sic) brotherhood.”

People outside of USC joined without Matthews’ knowledge and posted a graphic of a black baby in handcuffs with the caption “arrest black babies before they become criminals,” an image created by an online clothing company T-Shirt Hell.

Michael L. Jackson, vice president of student affairs, said the group reflects poorly on the university.

“While the group was evidently created as an offshoot to joking between races among teammates at USC, this joke was clearly taken to an improper length,” he said to the Times. “The action of the students involved goes against the core values of what it means to be a member of the Trojan Family – and doesn’t represent our diverse community.”

Stefanie Gopaul, a freshman majoring in health promotion and disease prevention studies, heard about the “White Nation” group and started the rebuttal Facebook group “Clay Matthews (USC football player) expresses anti-black sentiment.”

The day after the Daily Trojan article, the Los Angeles Times reported the story. Eventually, CBS, Sports Illustrated, Drudge Report and the Orange County Register also picked up the story.

The original article has nearly 300 online comments and more than 300,000 page views, the most in the history of the Daily Trojan’s website.

Many comments expressed the view that despite being a joke, the group is still offensive.

“I’ve frankly never heard of a ‘joke’ like this,” wrote a website commenter who identified himself as Tim. “This is a problem. We should see it and talk about it. The inability to explain why this is supposed to be funny is why the Klan always wore hoods.”

The spelling errors in the Facebook group descriptions also prompted comments from readers.

“Before we all get our panties in a bunch, I think we need to send the football team to a hooked on phonics class FIRST,” wrote a reader who identified himself as Andy.

Discussion about the issue erupted on the blogosphere and online message boards.

The athletic department and football team are putting the matter behind them.

“I think I speak for the whole team when I say we respect Clay, and we have his best interests at heart and we just hope it all goes away,” football player Sedrick Ellis said to the Times.

Xynox

April 17th, 2009
2:44 pm

Nookah

April 17th, 2009
2:47 pm

Everytime I think of Cushing I remember Todd Marinovich and guess which university he went to? I am just not feeling him. I hope I’m wrong especially if we take him. If we don’t then fine.

Still sticking with Conner!!!!

Go Falcons!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!

Gatorzone

April 17th, 2009
2:49 pm

Take Peria Jerry in round one and Cornelius Ingram in round 2.

Mark

April 17th, 2009
2:49 pm

I don’t think we will be picking anybody at number 24, but trading out of that slot to hopefully pick up an extra 2nd and 3rd round picks and then taking Delmas with the first of our 2nd rounders and then after Delmas I think we will be taking Ziggy (DE)!!

tbhawksfan

April 17th, 2009
2:57 pm

I say Jerry. In one pick the DL is legit. We have been pushed around long enough.

My biggest problem with the Cards playoff game last season was the way they manhandled our lines. If he’s good enough for the Ravens, he must be good enough for the DT starved Falcons.

Last season, nearly everyone was demanding Dorsey, D and more D. What did TD do? Ryan (brillant pick ;) and moved up for Baker. That move might also start a trend in the NFL. Draft your Franchise QB and get a OT to go with him. Didn’t even pick a DT!

I don’t anticipate a repeat. Jerry, D and more D.

#24: Jerry DT
#55: Chung SS
#90: Barnes CB
#125: Maiva OLB
#138: Morrah TE
#143: Shaughnessy DE
#176: Vasquez OG

JG

April 17th, 2009
3:21 pm

Kenny Powers<
I keep posting that Center is a need and your the only one to seem to agree.. I have been listening to a lot of rumors that TD is thinking Alex Mac and that is his first pick and that is why he sounds so definite. Beacuse he knows he will be there…

I know everyone wants defense, but that is big Anchor and only makes our O line better, We do have Trey Lewis and they are gonna give him a shot on the D line, then we will pick a D line or safety in the 2 Round.
But remember SMITTY and TD like Big O Lines and Big D lines and McClure was undersized and whinning.. Say good by to him.

Hollywould

April 17th, 2009
3:36 pm

They have already signed a center. The starter for the Rams last year.
Defense first/ no gonzalez, no pettigrew, defense!!!

Nookah

April 17th, 2009
3:52 pm

Apart from Barwin my other gem is TE Dan Gronkowski, Maryland. I mentioned him a couple of blogs ago. He’s a sleeper in this draft.

JG, now you have me thinking. That’s a pick that makes you say hmmmmmm!!!! Nice choice. Now that would really be “smokin’ mirrors” and really outside the box. In fact I kinda like the choice. Not saying I necesarily agree with you but I really never thought that way before but it does have some merit. Can’t wait.

Go Falcons!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!

JG

April 17th, 2009
3:55 pm

Romberg is a back up, he wont last all season. He wasn’t signed as starter. He Only started last year on the rams due to injury. He is not long term solution at Center. That is why they contacted Newberry also. But he is Knee is still not ready.

JG

April 17th, 2009
4:00 pm

I didn’t think about it either, Nooka.
But with all the searching I do and rumblings I am hearing, I am starting to see signs of this.
I don’t know anymore, I would have to say. ” In TD I trust ” and I am sure we will all have some interesting blogs on Monday the 27th.

Go Falcons!

Nookah

April 17th, 2009
4:03 pm

JG, if Mack is the man then I’ll e-mail you a Red Stripe. If Barwin is the man then I just enjoy my 15 seconds in the sun!!!!

Go Falcons!!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!

JG

April 17th, 2009
4:16 pm

Deal,
If he is the man.
I will send you a six pack!

HA!

April 17th, 2009
4:17 pm

Tyger

April 17th, 2009
4:43 pm

Falcons Draft Targets: DT Jason Jefferson Premium Story

By Dean Legge
Publisher
Date: Apr 11, 2005

FLOWERY BRANCH – Going into the 2005 NFL Draft, Atlanta has needs at each position – some more than others, but each spot can improve with a solid draft and college free agent signings. Here is a look at one such player.

Tyger

April 17th, 2009
4:46 pm

Colts Take a Look at SEC Sacks Leader

By Ed Thompson

Posted Apr 25, 2006

Despite having lots of proven and promising talent at the defensive end position, the Colts couldn’t resist taking a closer look at Mississippi State’s Willie Evans this past weekend.

ColtPower has learned that the Indianapolis Colts worked out SEC sacks leader Willie Evans this past Saturday. The Mississippi State defensive end terrorized SEC quarterbacks last season, posting 15 sacks. That represented exactly half of his team’s total sacks for the year.

marko

April 17th, 2009
5:03 pm

Orlando that’s an interesting scenario you’ve painted. I don’t see much chance of it happening though. Cushing has been invited to New York next Saturday. They don’t do that unless they think that you’re going early.

This may sound like sour grapes because Cushing isn’t supposed to be there when we draft, but I’d rather have Matthews. He’s faster, better in coverage and more effective blitzing the quarterback. I won’t pretend that Cushing’s not better prepared to start, but Peterson gives us the Luxury of baby sitting Matthews till he can step up his tackling a bit. Anyway, I feel there’s a good chance Matthews has the better career. If we still had both on the board at twenty–four it would be a tough choice. Matthews’s remains the only one we have a legitimate crack at, and I won’t be crying in my beer if we get him.

Anyway, Orlando you’re to be congratulated this is you’re best effort yet. You’ve got Stafford where he belongs at the top of the draft. He should be signed by the time your final effort comes out. Answer this one if you would. Why does a kid, that scored 38 on his wonderlic, want to play for Detroit anyway?

eastpointacgm

April 17th, 2009
5:19 pm

After many heated discussions with my fellow (A)rm (C)hair (G)eneral (M)anagers, I have come to like using, a: 3rd or later round pick on TG or drafting Pettigrew at #24. Here’s a couple of reasons why. 1) We have no one to go across the middle consistently. No one at all. So a very good veteran TE or a potentially good rookie TE will open up the passing game so much more. 2) With a pro bowl WR, a very solid #2 option, and a very promising #3, plus a brusing & attacking rushing game, who/how do you defend this offense when add a dangerous threat at TE. The name of the game is scrore more points than the other team. LET’S AVERAGE 30+ A GAME. 3) MM offense will use the TE more when the Falcons get a TE that can open up the playbook or cause MM to draft plays designed for the TE. 4) The defense should not be that bad where as we can stop anybody. I believe MS is a master at getting the most out of the players he has. So who fields this team on defense when Sept. rolls around will come to play and will play hard for MS. IMHO I think we should complete the offense first with a serious threat at TE.

SeminoleWarrior

April 17th, 2009
5:28 pm

Eight days to go my brothers!! D-Led, I can agree with you on this pick. The trio of Cushing (SLB), Lofton (MLB), and Freeman (3rd round pick @ WLB) would be one heck of a trio of LBs for a long time for the Falcons. Cushing and Freeman would significantly upgrade pass defense at the position as well as bring solid effort vs. the run. Throw in TE Shwan Nelson in the second round and we are off to a h*** of a good draft class.

SeminoleWarrior

April 17th, 2009
5:36 pm

Hey Tyger, Willie Evans is already on the Falcons’ roster. Where did you get the report that the Colts were looking at him?

The pick at #24 will be one of the following: Matthews, Laurinaitis, or Cushing and that person will be the season opening started at SAM.

SeminoleWarrior

April 17th, 2009
5:42 pm

Marko my brother, Cushing has the edge in pass defense. I saw that on the dish this past season. But Matthews is improving in that era. Either would be fine. And adding Freeman who is fine in coverage would augment the scheme as well. Freeman can play all three LB positions, a dimension of versatility that Smitty seems to like on defense.

SeminoleWarrior

April 17th, 2009
5:46 pm

Dl should not be addressed in the first round unless you are sure to get Raji. Value is there later; Terrance Taylor is a major lug in the middle who feel off last year as a result of confusion by the defensive staff at Michigan. Roy Miller was a beast in the middle for Texas but was overshadowed by Orakpo. Personnally, I would love to see the size, strength, and nastiness of Taylor next to Babs on the line. That would open things up for Davis, Anderson, Abe, and Biermann.

wxwax

April 17th, 2009
5:58 pm

I just worry that Cushing is a steroid baby.

Too much risk. Pass.

SeminoleWarrior

April 17th, 2009
6:00 pm

Here is my mock draft, rounds one through four. Most of my peers in here know that I was advocating for Patrick Chung to be my pick at 24 but I’m going to trust that DeCoud is ready to step in. With that key assumption, here I go:

1) LB James Laurinaitis (SLB); 2) CB Mike Mickens 3) LB Marcus Freeman (WLB), and 4) DT Terrance Taylor.

Speed, pass defense skills, versatility, and leadership are what have drawn me to the pair from Ohio State. Mickens has skills that are outstanding in either man/man or zone. Taylor is a beast and a load in the middle. Extremely powerful and will not be moved in the middle.