Kiper has Johnson slipping to third round

Mel Kiper was in mid-flow, still going strong after two hours and two minutes. He’d taken more than 80 questions on a national conference call.

ESPN’s draft analyst asked if there were still any people left on the line. There were still 12 more callers.

ESPN's Mel Kiper is not high on a couple of local products.

ESPN draft analyst is not high on some local products.

He took all of the calls, one of the last ones being about Sam Houston State quarterback Rhett Bomar for a small newspaper guy in Texas. That was very gracious of Kiper and one of the reasons why most traditional print media guys love him.

Folks would ask Kiper about some obscure DB from the WAC and he’d start rattling off their vital stats. Some of the reporters would thank Kiper for dropping some knowledge on them.

This is Kiper’s 31st year in the business of analyzing draft prospects and he’ll be a major part of ESPN’s coverage on Saturday and Sunday.

So to help us get ready for the overall draft, here’s Kiper on a variety of players, topics and all-around general drafnikness (I think I just created a new word!):

ON LIONS DRAFTING STAFFORD: “I would expect (Georgia quarterback Matthew) Stafford to go No. 1. I don’t have any inside information on what Detroit’s thinking in terms of obviously they want to have this guy signed before the draft if they can. To me it would be the obvious pick. That’s what they need.”

He’s wondering why the Lions are dragging their feet with signing Stafford.

“The decision on Stafford should have been made a long time ago, whether they were going to make him the No. 1 pick overall,” Kiper said.

ON TEXAS TECH WIDEOUT MICHAEL CRABTREE: “I don’t think the injury affected him that much because he was projected to go fourth to Seattle prior to that, long before anybody signed any free agents. Now he’s projected to go fifth to Cleveland. So it’s not a huge drop for him.”

ON MARYLAND WIDEOUT DARRIUS HEYWARD-BEY: He noted that the speedy Heyward-Bey – who ran under 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash on a few stop watches at the combine — had some games at Maryland where he didn’t catch a pass.

“That shouldn’t happen,” Kiper said. “When you have a kid this skilled, you force the ball to him. If you’re shut out in some college games, what’s going to happen in the NFL? There are definitely some questions

Kiper has Clemson's James Davis going in the fourth round of the draft. Davis is from Atlanta Douglass High.

Kiper has Clemson running back James Davis going in the fourth round. Davis is from Atlanta Douglass High.

there.”

Kiper has Heyward-Bey as the third receiver behind Crabtree and Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin. He could go to the New York Jets (17) or Minnesota (22). If he gets past Minnesota then Miami (25) would be a possibility.

“They definitely need a receiver,” Kiper said.

ON FLORIDA RECEIVER PERCY HARVIN: Harvin has slipped in the draft after reports of a failed drug test. Kiper had him going at No. 17, but now it looks like he’ll be a late first rounder.

“He’s not a wide receiver per say, but a jack of all trades,” Kiper said. “He’s a Reggie Bush with the Saints — not Reggie at USC, but Reggie with the Saints. And that’s the kind of player he can be — running back, receiver, return man.”

Durability is an issue for teams drafting Harvin.

“He’s only 195 pounds and he’s going to have to prove that he can stay healthy,” Kiper said. “If you can keep him on the field, he’s going to put up a lot of all-purpose yards for you.”

Kiper has Clemson's Aaron Kelly going in the fifth round. He is a Walton High grad.

Kiper has Clemson wide receiver Aaron Kelly going in the fifth round.

ON WEST VIRGINIA QB PAT WHITE: Kiper sees him going in the second or third round.

TOP QB’S NEXT SEASON: Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour and Texas’ Colt McCoy. He projects Florida’s Tim Tebow as a H-back or Wildcat (10 to 15 plays) quarterback.

ON CLEMSON RB JAMES DAVIS: He has the former Douglass High standout going in the fourth round.

ON GEORGIA TECH DE MICHAEL JOHNSON: Once considered a top 10 pick, Kiper said that Johnson could slide all the way in to the third round.

ON CLEMSON WR AARON KELLY: He has the former Walton High standout going in the fifth round.

ON ALABAMA TACKLE ANDRE SMITH: “Nick Saban has helped him maintain a top 10 draft status despite what has gone on during the draft process,” Kiper said.

ON MISSISSIPPI DT PERIA JERRY:
“I thought he was the most underrated defensive player in the country all last year,” Kiper said.

ON THE GLUT OF HYBRID DE/OLBs: Kiper noted that Florida State’s Everette Brown, Northern Illinois’ Larry English, Virginia’s Clint Sintim, Southern Cal’s Clay Matthews Jr., Penn State’s Aaron Maybin and Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin could all play either defensive end of outside linebacker.

“There is an incredible number of those combo type of players this year,” Kiper said.

MORENO IS HIS TOP RB: Kiper likes Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, but believes that the New

Kiper said Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson may slip into the third round.

Kiper said Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson could slip into the third round.

Orleans Saints will take Ohio State’s Chris Wells first. Connecticut’s Donald Brown is the third best running back in the draft.

Kiper doesn’t believe Wells is soft.

“He ran hard when he was healthy,” Kiper said.

Kiper has Moreno going to Philadelphia at 21 or Arizona at 31.

35th ANNIVERSARY OF BEST DRAFT OF ALL TIME: In 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted wide receiver Lynn Swann (1st round), linebacker Jack Lambert (second round), wide receiver John Stallworth (fourth round) and center Mike Webster (fifth round). All have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

ON RHETT BOMAR: Sounds familiar? He was the kid who had to leave Oklahoma and getting paid too much for “working” at his summer job. He should go in the fourth or fifth round.

“Rhett has a chance,” Kiper said. “But he has some mechanical issues.”

Are you a big Kiper fan? Don’t like the hair? Think his has Moreno going too low? He’s been picking Brandon Pettigrew to go to Atlanta for awhile, but seemed to shy away from that pick a little bit on the call.

346 comments Add your comment

TheManMike

April 21st, 2009
8:09 am

Nice blog today DOL-

I would love to pick up Michael Johnson in the 3rd. Would be a steal, imo. I like us getting one of the hybrid freaks in the second, because i do also see us taking TE BrandonP first(if hes there).

No song lyrics today D?

J

April 21st, 2009
8:11 am

Story contains the following: 25th ANNIVERSARY OF BEST DRAFT OF ALL TIME: In 1974, the Pittsburgh…..
Let’s see, 1974 to 1984, to 1994, to 2004, to 2009. Granted, I had a second-tier, assistant football coach (who diagrammed plays during class) as high school math teacher but that appears to be 35th anniversay, not “25th”, according to my figures.

mountain_jim

April 21st, 2009
8:16 am

Nice info, Dled. I prefer Mayock’s ratings myself. I doubt Tech’s DE drops past the 2nd, if he’s below that he must have really done poorly in his interviews.

Dawgilama

April 21st, 2009
8:25 am

I like Kiper soooo much more than McShay. Even if he’s wrong, he is really good at making you think he’s right. He’s obviously not right all the time, but he’s full of knowledge and very entertaining.

What’s up with Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta? A trade seemed to be picking up some steam a couple weeks ago. I’d rather us go with a TE in the 3rd-4th (Travis Beckum or James Casey) and address some defensive needs early on (Assuming a trade for Gonzalez doesn’t go down). Pettigrew to Atlanta just isn’t going to happen.

One prospect I’m very intrigued by is Connor Barwin. High character guy and a physical freak! Not sure whether he’s a DE or OLB…..or TE!

mike addington

April 21st, 2009
8:25 am

Wherever M. Johnson goes, I think he’s going to be great NFL player, and hey I’m a UGA fan.

mike addington

April 21st, 2009
8:32 am

On the running backs, when I watche OSU, I didn’t see Cris (Beanie) Wells do very well but he has the power and speed; however, an important aspect is “finishing” the run. The starting fullback pushed into the starting tailback roll for GA several years ago, Veron Haynes, made a name for himself by doing that and ended up withe the Steelers for several years. another whose last name I forget, Orlando something ended up starting for Denver for a year or so, mostly because he really put his head down and plowed into the tacklers. Despite his size, Morena does the same thing and I think besides his other talents, that’s what the pros like about him. I don’t know whether his moves will work that well in the faster and quicker NFL, but he’ll get you some yards because he never gives up on a play.

JB

April 21st, 2009
8:36 am

As a Dawg fan, I agree with with Mike about Johnson…..I’m jealous about one thing only at Tech. That staff over there gets a lot of their players. most are 2 and 3 star but most play like 4 star. sometimes our 4 star play like 2 star. I will tip my hat to Tech for that.

JB

April 21st, 2009
8:37 am

I meant to say ” Gets a lot OUT of their players “

N. Joy Pharteen

April 21st, 2009
8:40 am

When’s Tony Gonzalez getting into town? Have you lined up an interview, Darryl? Hope we don’t go offense with the first pick, unless my some miracle, one of those monster tackles was still there. We have to many defensive needs to go with Pettigrew first.

Jamaal=Bust

April 21st, 2009
8:48 am

Man. I would love to get a solid LB in the first, then in the second take either Cook or the Mizzou TE, then if Johnson is still around, gobble that dude up quick, because he plays big. I think he’ll be better than Jamaal at DE right away. That way we can move or draft bust to DT and let him eat some space up, which what he was doing better last season. To me Pettigrew isn’t the type of TE the Falcons need. Cook is, and the mIzzou guy is. Both exceptional hands, good speed and potential for very good run blocking. I really think it’ll end up close to what I said. Or at least I hope, so I don’t sound soooo stupid. Great job with the article btw, Kiper is a brain stud.

FDB

April 21st, 2009
8:49 am

Falcons, please take a chance on Willie Williams in the 7th or line him up as a FA. The character issue is done. He will be a great special teams player and good LB depth.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 21st, 2009
8:50 am

Good start y’all.
J: Through the magic of editing it will 35th here in a second.

N.JOY: COOL out on the Gonzalez stuff. His agent and Falcons folks have said there’s noting shaking there. Now, in the heat of the draft on Saturday . . . .stay tuned.

Wonder if James Davis would have been ranked higher if he entered the draft last year.

Supes

April 21st, 2009
9:03 am

I’ve always enjoyed Kiper’s draft analysis. Even when he’s wrong or I disagree with him, at least he’s passionate and entertaining. McShay is also good, but he often doesn’t take a hard enough stand on a player one way or another and just says a lot of double talk.

Darn, if Michael Johnson is there in the 2nd or 3rd round for the Falcons, I sure do hope they take a hard look at him as a pass rushing DE and John Abraham’s understudy. We could be getting a steal.

Hope we get a mainstay LB with our 1st round pick, but as long as it’s an impact defensive player I really don’t care. I trust Thomas Dimitroff and Coach Mike Smith (esp. after last year’s draft).

Marko

April 21st, 2009
9:06 am

Big Ray, Seminole and Ken, I’m sorry not to respond in a more timely manner. I was bushed so I turned in early. Thanks to you all for the kind words.

Orlando, you dumped a lot on our plate this morning, How do I feel about Mel?, Jealous comes to mind. I’ll follow up on the other stuff

Getting back to our favorite topic, the Falcons, and what the hell they might be up to.Mularkey’s sudden interest in tight ends as receivers seems a logical progression . We can only assume that he was thumbing through the rule book one day and discovered that tight ends were allowed to catch passes. This startling revelation seems to have opened up worlds of startling new possibilities to him. We’ll see how it works out next season, hopefully with Gonzalez. I’m told Tony will block a bit. He’s just not asked to do it very often. If you think about it, it’d be a little like asking Sea Biscuit to plow fields. I’m still trying to follow up on Gonzalez from the KC end. They seem peeved that he no showed mini camp. Most are still in denial, but a few seem to be getting used to the idea that he won’t be back.

Like I said, I understand that small and quick defensive lines can be highly effective. It’s just that this type of defense seems out of character for Smitty and Dimitroff. I really can’t wait to see how our offense evolves.

We know the Falcon’s worked out Fili Moala. The reports on this guy are all over the place. The sporting news rates him second only to Raji. Matt McGuire on the other hand claims that he’s the most over rated player in the draft. It seems to me that somebody’s got to be wrong here. I suppose the main thing’s what Thomas and Smitty thought about him at their meeting. I’ve always liked the kid. He looked pretty good to me when I saw him play, but the Ducks aren’t on our schedule net season. Still it’s hard to find a three hundred pound tackle that looks a tad on the skinny side. This is a very big boy, and he could easily get a lot bigger.

Here we are only days away from the draft, and my employer expects to work. I’m telling you the nerve of some people. Still, they pretend to pay me so it only seems fair that I get back to pretending to work. Have a good day one and all.

siskel_god

April 21st, 2009
9:20 am

Why was everyone so outraged when the Falcons were rumored to trade a second round pick for Tony Gonzalez but it’s okay to use a first rounder on a TE? I’ll take 4 good years from Gonzo over any TE in this draft. First round TE’s don’t really have a good track record of being superstars Greg Olson, Heath Miller, Vernon Davis come to mind. Only Shockey and Winslow have shown flashes I would much rather have a defensive impact player at any position and Gonzalez for our second pick. Outside of C. Lofton who on our team has been an impact player we drafted in the second round? Babineaux just came around this year, Houston may never come around, Jimmy Williams isn’t even on the team anymore. I like Jerry from Ole Miss, I saw him live at the cotton bowl against Texas Tech this year and that guy is a beast. Not sure if he fits that big DT mold of Mike Smith but he is definitely talented. I also like Mauluga, not really sure why he is slipping and I still don’t think he will slip to 24, but he is the one guy that I would trade up to get. He reminds me so much of a bigger Polamolu or Tatupa in Seattle. I remember 2 years ago against UCLA he hit a guy harder than anyone I have ever seen. He is definitely athletic enough to play outside in coverage and can get after the QB. If they can somehow get Rey and Gonzo saturday, Falcons will definitely win the south this year.

BigMike

April 21st, 2009
9:27 am

Kiper! The standard for which all anayalst should want to be. The guy is on point the vast majority of the time.

mars

April 21st, 2009
9:33 am

So I here J Anderson was a tight end before he was converted to defense. Since he SUX at D, how are his hands? I like to see the Falcons NOT waste an early pick on one of these overrated TE’s with so many other needs to fill.

mars

April 21st, 2009
9:39 am

Anderson certainly has the height and size. Does he have the tools to play TE, or anywhere, in the pros?

Jamaal=Bust

April 21st, 2009
9:46 am

lol mars, you sir are correct. he was originally a TE, but Arkansas thought he’d make a better DE because he wasn’t a consistent hands guy. He also had trouble reading his assignment, so they switched him to DE because he has good speed, but he still struggled with reading his assignment, but was able to over compensate in college by using his big body and quick feet. So, in conclusion….Anderson would make as good a TE as Chris Chandler would make a boxer :-)

Daddys357

April 21st, 2009
10:23 am

I saw on SI.com where they were think Atlanta was going to trade the #24, 2 round, and a 5 round pick for Glenn Dorsey and Tony G. I just dunno about the cap space but it sounds like a good deal to me. What do you guys think?

Falcon Devil

April 21st, 2009
10:34 am

If MJ is there at 55 I say take him!!

ACC Football=SEC Basketball

April 21st, 2009
10:34 am

Mike Addington: I believe you are thinking about Olandis Gary.

Ramblin Wrecker

April 21st, 2009
10:40 am

If Michael Johnson is picked in the 3rd round, then somebody just won the lottery. Not only is he that good, but add a chip on his shoulder like dropping to the third round and somebody’s QB is going to pay for that. Admittedly I’m not a football expert like Mel Kiper or Mike Mayock, but I’ve watched MJ play for 4 years and I just don’t see him taking plays off or lacking intensity. I think a key bit of information that gets lost about MJ is that he played on all special teams on every snap, until early last season when he was experiencing cramping. Even after that he was in on special teams part time, and made a difference, blocking kicks. In the right system MJ is going to be a great pass rusher. Maybe the slight is just what he needs to make him even greater.

Gatorzone

April 21st, 2009
10:44 am

Daddy, that would be PHenomenal, but I do not believe it will happen.

D3

April 21st, 2009
10:52 am

Great Tuesday AM Bird-Cager Bro’s! One of my fav lines from Seinfeld, “Tuesday has no feel.” Well, this one does as we’re only 4 DAYS away from one of the best events of the year! Trying to figure out what to grill on saturday. Any suggestions? I could always go with my wing recipe w/ homemade blue cheese, but I like trying something new. Any suggestions on a good taligatin’ idea for sat.? Anyway, to the matter at hand……..

DOL – you’re gettin’ your regular season wind my man. Knockin’ all kinds of stuff on our plate. Nice work as always. You gonna be @ Radio City Music Hall on Draft Day? I think they should consider moving it to different NFL cities, that would be an absolute blast to experience.

On Stafford – If the Lions were smart they would seal the deal on Stafford. Look at the success the Falcons had drafting Ryan and going to get the best available Left Tackle late in the first. Stafford won’t have Ryan’s success, but he will be good, possibly even great one day. The maturation process will be much longer. If they decided on Smith or Monroe, they wouldn’t have a shot at Sanchez or Freeman. Stafford has played on a big time level since the second game of his career. Not many true freshman come in and start in the SEC.

On Crabtree – I think Seattle goes with Monroe or Smith, whoever’s available. I could see them going Sanchez before Crabtree, especially since they signed Housh. To Cleveland, maybe only if they plan on trading or not re-signing Braylon Edwards, which would be a huge mistake in my opinion. They do need some offensive weapons, but adding Orakpo would be a huge boost in their 3-4 scheme.

On Heyward-Bay – could see him going to Vikings, but when more likely Harvin. When healthy, Percy Harvin is a playmaker. I know well as watching him as a Dogs fan the last three years. He rarely doesn’t show up in games he plays, and he’s a huge boost to special teams, RB, etc. Jets take Freeman, unless he’s gone and then I could see it. Not to Miami b/c the Tuna doesn’t like drafting WR’s in 1st round and too much like Ted Ginn Jr.

On Pat White – It’ll be real interesting to see where he goes. I’ll be willing to bet that someone reaches for him in the second. He is a playmaker, but has been known to totally disappear as well (anyone remember that Pitt. game, where all he had to do was win and in the Nat’l Champ. game?).

James Davis & Aaron Kelly – Davis might turn out to be a steal if he goes to the right team. He’s got the solid build and speed that can translate well to the NFL. Aaron Kelly might as well. At 6′4. 205, 4.55 speed I’d love for the Falcons to take a chance on him as their 5b pick. Great complement to HD in the slot and future red-zone replacement for Finneran.

And finally to MJ – I’d be absolutely SHOCKED if he fell out of the second round. With his tools, size, speed, and potential someone will snag him in the second I bet. The reason he’s dropping is his tape, I would bet. Mayock loves his skill set, but destroys him because of his tapes. Known to take plays off and disappear. But if he fell to #55, it would be hard pressed to pass on him as a Falcon and future replacement for Abraham. He may even could drop into coverage on 3rd downs with his height and speed. If we did pick up MJ, I would like to move JA inside and let MJ and C.Davis compete for the other DE spot thus killing two birds with one stone, but it doesn’t appear that will happen. We could still draft a DT in round 4 or so and get a solid run-stuffer as well.

The excitement is picking up steam as we speak and the we’re already almost to hump day. Keep the good posts rollin’. And on that note………….

4 DAYS, 1 HOUR, 6 MINS, & COUNTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stat Man

April 21st, 2009
10:57 am

I’m with Falcon Devil – if Johnson is there at #55, it should be a no brainer!

D3

April 21st, 2009
11:04 am

Quick Snap- Mock Draft Cinco.3(MJ version)
1)Brandon Pettigrew – TE
2)Michael Johnson – DE
3)Chip Vaughn – S
4)Sammie Hill – DT
5a)Keenan Lewis – CB
5b)Nic Harris – OLB
6)Lydon Murtha – T

Ken Strickland

April 21st, 2009
11:11 am

The internet service in my area completely went out yesterday so I couldn’t respond to any posts. This is my 2nd attempt today because it’s still going in and out.

BIG RAY-all I can say to your unbelievably flattering compliment is THE FEELING IS CERTAINLY MUTUAL MY FRIEND.

SEMINOLE WARRIOR-there’s no way DC Van Gorder can be judged by last yrs DEF performance. Too much of what he had to deal with was inherited. DT GJackson was nothing more than a thumb in the dike, and the same could be said for SS LMalloy. LB KBrooking has never been know as a big hitter and didn’t fit his preferred style of LB play. LB MBoley just didn’t fit his scheme and regressed to the point he had to be replaced.

Let him get a DT and LB or two that plays the way he prefers, along with a SS with cover skills, and then we can judge. He actually did an excellent job of coaching considering what he had to work with. In fact, he coached DE JAbraham and DT JBabineaux into having career yrs.

D3-No, TDeCoud didn’t go on IR, that was safety AHarris. When you view their scouting reports, it makes it hard to believe there’s a SS in this draft that can come in and match their skill and versatility, certainly not their experience, familiarity with the system, coaching staff and players. AHarris can play both safety positions and has the speed, quickness and cover skills to be an effective nickel CB.

When the draft starts this weekend, I’ll be sitting on pins and niddles waiting to see who we choose out of the players that will likely be available. It’s actually possible that TE BPettigrew, DT PJerry, DE/LB CSintim and LB’s CMathews and BCushing will be available.

TE BPettigrew could have the biggest impact on who we draft if he’s chosen at #24, especially of DEF. Offensively, his presence could improve our redzone and short yardage OFF, scoring opportunities and scoring. That would make our OFF rock solid by improving our passing gm without adversely affecting our rushing gm, bringing balance to our overall OFF. That in turn would increase our time of possession and force teams to play catchup, which means our DEF would have to face more passing than running situations.

Now we get into how Pettigrew can effect who we draft defensively. Since his presence could force teams to attack our pass DEF more often, pass DEF skills would naturally become a major factor in deciding who we draft. It could make the difference between drafting a big roadblock run stuffing DT like RBrace, or a quicker more agile DT with superior pass rushing skills, like Hood. It could also determine whether we draft a hybrid DE/LB like Sintim, who can rush the passer from a 3pt stance, or a pure LB type like Cushing or Mathews.

Bottomline, by increasing our time of possession, scoring and overall OFF proficiency, drafting TE BPettigrew could change the way we structure our DEF and the players we choose to make it work.

JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

Nookah

April 21st, 2009
11:17 am

Marko, that last paragraph was hilarious. Man that was funny, at least I found it so.

So Torry Holt goes to the Jags, 3 years, $20M. I guess I may have to rework my draft picks.

Detroit have not spoken to the Stafford camp in weeks? Smoking mirrors or new #1 target? You decide guys!!!

Sanchez to Seattle? Hmmmmmmm!!!

Even though I am working my draft board, I still like Clint “Dirty Harry” Sintim @ 24.

Go Falcons!!!

Nuff respect!!!

D3

April 21st, 2009
11:22 am

Ken Strick – great point on A.Harris. A lot of people forget that about he and Jamal Fudge. We actually more help in our secondary than people imagine. Assuming DeCoud is the real deal, it will be hard pressed to think we spend anything higher than the 3rd round on a S. We can address TE, OLB, DT, or even DE if MJ happened to be there.

Because I’ve worked myself into such a Pettigrew frenzy, I’ll be somewhat disappointed if we don’t get him. But that pain can easily be soothed if we pick up Sintim. Definitely Sintim over the USC LB’s. More experience and dominance throughout his entire career. Bigger and tougher as well.

That’s my final first pick desires: Pettigrew or Sintim.

Ken Strickland

April 21st, 2009
11:28 am

D3-I missed your mock draft. I love it except for SS CVaughn. I have nothing against CVaughn, I just wouldn’t draft a SS. I’d go with a DT like EHood, Sen’Derrick Marks or FMoala at #2 and DE MJohnson or MSidbury at #3. Otherwise, I think your mock is the BOMB.

Poor McKay

April 21st, 2009
11:47 am

You have to respect anyone who is as well-prepared and studies as hard as Kiper. The hair hat is another subject.

This pre-draft coverage has lasted longer than MLB Spring Training, the 2008 Presidential campaign and the Minnesota Senate race. By the time Saturday comes around, Stafford will feel like he’s been out of UGA for about 4 seasons. Let’s get this over with already.

Sarah B

April 21st, 2009
12:08 pm

D3 not 4 days, 1 hour. The draft doesn’t start until 4 this year.

Jim F

April 21st, 2009
12:33 pm

good note by Mel on Heyward-Bey….you really have to wonder why guys with his skills don’t have great production, and Ralph Fridgen at Maryland is no fool. Heyward-Bey has Troy Williamson written all over him.
For the Falcons, I like English, Cushing or Jerry……Pettigrew isa good player, but we need D and there’s a lot of good TE prospects in the later rounds….Johnson would be very tempting if he’s there in the 2nd round….

Caleb

April 21st, 2009
12:58 pm

Regarding Daddys357’s comments, I read the Glenn Dorsey rumor as well. It would be nice to get him for our d line, but it would take some draft picks or players. Dimitroff and Pioli worked together in New England though, so maybe there’s something to the story. Any thoughts D-Led or others?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 21st, 2009
1:02 pm

D3: Thanks for you kind words. Strong post as usual. I’m not going to Radio City. I’ll be at the nerve center in Flowery Branch for the Falcons selections.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 21st, 2009
1:12 pm

Here’s the SPORTING NEWS correspondents mock draft. It took 28 hours over Friday and Saturday to get this done. I had to take Maybin. Didn’t have him slipping that far in all of scenarios that I’d worked out. Great value pick here:

1. Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

2. Rams: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

3. Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

4. Seahawks: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

5. Browns: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

6. Bengals: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

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

8. Jaguars: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

9. Packers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

10. 49ers: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

11. Bills: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

12. Broncos: Everette Brown, OLB/DE, Florida State

13. Redskins: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi

14. Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

15. Texans: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC

16. Chargers: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State

17. Jets: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

18. Broncos: Peria Jerry, DL, Mississippi

19. Bucs: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC

20. Lions: Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC

21. Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

22. Vikings: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona

23. Patriots: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

24. Falcons: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

25. Dolphins: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

26. Ravens: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State

27. Colts: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

28. Bills: William Beatty, OT, UConn

29. Giants: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina

30. Titans: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

31. Cardinals: Donald Brown, RB, UConn

32. Steelers: Fili Moala, DL, USC

Tyger

April 21st, 2009
1:21 pm

Michael Johnson is being robbed!!!

Johnson went head-to-head with Eugene Monroe, UVA, a projected top #5 pick, and ate his lunch. He put up solid senior year numbers and was at or near the top of the ACC in every statistical category that matters at his position.

He’s an exceptional pass rusher, plays side-line to side-line, is solid against the run and can drop back and cover the flats. At 6′7, 260, he has some of the best metrics in the draft, which he fully displayed at the combine.

Oftentimes, exceptionally gifted athletes are unfairly penalized by their vast potential, everybody wants to see a finished product yesterday and its unfair to the young guy.

Take our Hawks for example: 4 years ago we drafted Josh Smith, an exceptionally gifted uber-athlete that was hammered by NBA draft expert, Rick Bucher, who said he would be the biggest bust in the draft. Now, we’re headed to the 2nd rd of the playoffs and JSmoove is actually “getting it” and headed for all-stardom.

Michael Johnson is another uber-athlete, who’s heart and attitude, is being unfairly questioned b/c GT didn’t win every game or he appeared to “take plays off”? Football is a team sport, the same logic that’s hurting M.Johnson is helping the USC boys. Of course, you look better surrounded by better talent, of course you look better when you go 9-1.

But all this subjective conjecture is worrisome, based on objective observation, I don’t see him NOT making plays he should make. No, he doesn’t prance after every play like the Florida guys, but they don’t teach that here in Georgia or Alabama.

Here, you act like you’ve been there before.

RedandBlack

April 21st, 2009
1:30 pm

The Falcons have to go with a defensive player as their first player in the draft. Hopefully, it will be a good defensive lineman. The secondary also has too many holes right now to be competitive for 2009. Johnson could be the LB the Falcons need in the second round.

Jared Cook from South Carolina or Ingram from florida taken in the later rounds would be the best spot to draft for TE. The Falcons can not draft for TE in the early rounds. There is just too much of a need for defensive players to draft for TE early.

The Falcons will produce with an improved defense. Right now, they will have to draft it out to fill the defensive holes. T.D. will put them together. Go Falcons!! Go Dogs!!

Cameron

April 21st, 2009
1:37 pm

I don’t think anyone has a clue what the Falcons are going to do with the 24th pick. I am sure Dimitroff has kept quiet for a reason. I think people are saying we are going to draft Pettigrew because it is a need and would offer good value at 24. But, I get the sense nobody really actually “thinks” we are going to draft him for sure.

I honestly think that we are either trying to move up to get Malcolm Jenkins or move down and take Evander Hood or Ron Brace. Of course, I don’t know for sure either.

One thing I do know is that I trust Dimitroff and know he won’t make some of the idiotic picks that have been thrown out there (i.e. English and Sintim, well at least not at 24).

Oh well, I guess we will all find out Saturday.

Cameron

April 21st, 2009
1:43 pm

Tyger:

The knock on Michael Johnson has been his inconsistency and the fact that he takes plays off for years. Why do you think he rarely cracked the field until his junior and senior seasons? With maximum effort, he would have at least played as a sophomore. He wasn’t even a full-time starter until his senior year. These people have film to watch and know exactly what a guy does every play. This is coming out of left field because he doesn’t show up on highlights enough. This is their observations from breaking down hours and hours of film. His own coach would tell you that he struggled with Michael Johnson on the same things.

Having said that, would I like to have him on the Falcons? Of course, especially for a 2nd or 3rd round pick. If that guy makes it to the third round, I would sprint to the podium, turn in my pick, light up a cigar, open a beer, and kiss the hottest girl around.

Cameron

April 21st, 2009
1:45 pm

DOL:

I wouldn’t get pissed if Maybin fell to us. I don’t really think he fits our scheme and don’t think we are targeting him. But, at 24, I could live with that.

angry banker

April 21st, 2009
1:48 pm

there doesn’t seem to be any great talent in this draft outside of the first 5 OT and the first 6 DE/OLB prospects.

I’m willing to bet we trade down unless theres some huge value (i.e. Bj Raji or Everette Brown fall to #24)

Tyger

April 21st, 2009
2:04 pm

M. Johnson was a pre-season top 10 pick. Whatever, leftover baggage he had from his sophomore year was/ should’ve been taken into consideration then, if these guys pour over the game film, the way you say they do.

He did nothing his junior or senior to fall out of the 1st rd. The kid is solid. If undersized Aaron Maybin can go top 15, M. Johnson certainly is 1st rd. material. Maybin has done nothing more to solidify his position than Johnson, other than play at a higher profile program on a good year.

A TE...Really?

April 21st, 2009
2:05 pm

I thought all of that talk about drafting a TE in the first round was just that…a bunch of talk. Now I’m starting to get nervous that we really might go that route. WHAT A WASTE OF A PICK!!!! A TE…REALLY??? With all of the help this defense needs we are going to pick a TE in the 1st round?!?!?! Would be a highly disappointed season ticket holder if we went that route.

Daddys357

April 21st, 2009
2:12 pm

Caleb thanks for the comment. It would be very interesting if that type of trade did happen. But its hard for me to believe that a kid you drafted 5th the year before you’ll trade for a 24 pick unless KC is just now seeing something that TD saw last year before the draft. But if everything is ok with Dorsey, I would really have to put that deal into consideration Dorsey (#5 pick for #24) Tong G (for a second) and a 5th. Doubt it happens but if it was on the table would you sit down and eat or walk away and order something new?

Nookah

April 21st, 2009
2:21 pm

I am not a proponent of taking a TE in Round 1, but if we do, then Pettigrew has got to be the man. There ain’t any other 1st round TE talent in this draft. Pettigrew is way above any other TE in this draft. He’s not fast but do you want a WR or a TE? For those who read these blogs frequently, please recall me soccer anology. Big possession midfielder can take a pass almost anytime!!! For those of us who are connoisseurs of soccer you will understand, and that is what Pettigrew will give you over the middle and in the end zone I might add.

D3, I know you’ll support me on this. If we went TE, I know it would be Pettigrew and I would not complain.

Cameron, thanks for stating your opinion but my pick is still Clint “Dirty Harry” Sintim!! Incidentally, who is your pick bro?

Go Falcons!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!

webhead

April 21st, 2009
2:28 pm

Would rather have Brooking and Boley over these linebackers in this draft. Would have cost less also. Bad move on TD’s part.

djtruk

April 21st, 2009
2:29 pm

Go Mike. You worked your butt off in the gym and in football games for four years and you have to read all the bad reports from formal football players that didn’t make it in the NFL about taking plays off and he’s just a gym rat. You drag Eugene Monroe all over the field and still get the forced fumble and the sack. I know you will make it in the NFL and in life and next year this time someone will be eating their words. GO BIG MIKE

Spud Webb

April 21st, 2009
2:56 pm

The problem with Johnson isn’t talent folks. It’s his attitude, work ethic and possible “off the field” issues. He’s BOOM or Bust, thats a fact, worth the risk now, but in 2 years when you have to cut a 2nd or 3rd round pick, it’s isn’t worth it. Sad that this kid has fallen so much. I hope he makes it.
I don’t like UGA or Tech, but I’m telling you now, Knowshon will be the steal of the draft this year wherever he goes. The kid has “it” and will be a STUD.
Falcons do one thing Saturday and Sunday, draft DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE.