Mock Draft 6.0: Welcome to the ATL, Cushing

Falcons QB Matt Ryan shooting an ESPN commercial with Hannah Storm (l) and Josh Elliot.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan shooting an ESPN commercial with Hannah Storm (l) and Josh Elliot. If they shoot another one, maybe he'll take linebacker Brian Cushing with him.

DRAFTVILLE — Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the hay is in the barn.

The Falcons draft board is all arranged. The Green players are in the green spots. The blue players are in the blue spots. The red guys are in the red slots. The off-the-board guys can find their name plates in the trash dumpster.

The matrix is complete.

Who should the Falcons draft?

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All that’s left is for the players to start flying off draft boards shortly after 4 p.m. on Saturday. At slot 24, the Falcons can kick back, eat some turkey sandwiches, sip on some fruit juice and hope that the Houston Texans don’t pick their guy — USC linebacker Brian Cushing.

The Texans could change the Falcons’ plans. But after much debate, we’re projecting that our friends from H-town will select Florida State’s Everette Brown, leaving Cushing to fall to the Falcons.

Cushing has some issues. But that’s why he’ll be there at No. 24. When he comes in to meet the media on Sunday he’ll have to explain the steroid accusations that have followed him since high school and why he and teammate Clay Matthews Jr. allegedly formed a group called “White Nation” on Facebook.

Now if the Cushing scenario doesn’t unfold for the Falcons, that means another good defender — could be Brown or Penn State’s Aaron Maybin — is slipping. Also on the board for the Falcons will be Northern Illinois defensive end Larry English or Missouri defensive tackle Evander “Ziggy” Hood.

If none of the desirable defensive players slip through, look for the Falcons to trade out of the position and pick up more picks. They will need to land near the top of the second round so they could select Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas.

The Falcons’ trade for Tony Gonzalez has restructured the first round. There are going to be several other trades. Cleveland is trying to dump Braylon Edwards and possibly quarterback Brady Quinn. Washington and Denver may try to get in position to select quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Before the Gonzalez trade, University of Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno was headed to Philadelphia. The Falcons, in part suspecting that Philadelphia was going to take Oklahoma State tight Brandon Pettigrew with the 21st pick, went ahead and got the Gonzalez deal done.

It took Dimitroff and his buddy Scott Pioli all of three hours on Thursday to have a meeting of the former New England minds.

With the Eagles taking Pettigrew, Moreno will slip to Arizona, which has the 31st pick.

More on the Mock Draft later. . . .


Punter Michael Koenen hostted the sixth Annual Dream House Golf Classic on Thursday at the Olde Atlanta Golf Club in Suwanee, Georgia . Proceeds from the event will benefit local children’s charity, Dream House for Medically Fragile Children, Inc. . . .

Falcons punter Michael Koenen was out in the community this week.

Falcons punter Michael Koenen was out in the community this week.

Cornerback Von Hutchins will serve as the grand marshal for the Walk for Lupus at Piedmont Park on Saturday. He will lead the countdown for the event to start. The walk will support the over 55,000 Georgians and 1.5 million Americans who suffer from Lupus. Those interested can start a team or walk as an individual by registering at or calling 770-333-5930. . . .

Wide receiver Harry Douglas will serve as the grand marshal for the March of Dimes Walk for Babies on Saturday, April 25 at Centennial Olympic Park. Douglas will sign autographs in the Kids Corner from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., do the countdown for the walk, welcome runners back in and sign autographs again from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Back to the Mock Draft . . .

I’m reserving the right to come back in here and switch things up as the day’s trades and signings are executed. It’s a good group for tackles and there could be a run on wide receivers.



Is Cushing the real thing or memorex?

Is Cushing the real thing or Memorex?

1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. Stafford has to turn in his Chevy Tahoe and get him a Ford Expedition.

2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, LT, Baylor. The Rams hope Smith can take Orlando Pace’s old spot.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. The Chiefs get some more help for their 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: Andrew Smith, T, Alabama. Bengals make the day’s first big gamble.

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

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeremy Macklin, WR, Missouri. The Jags shy away from Crabtree because of his speed issues.

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

10. San Francisco 49ers: Michael Oher, T, Mississippi. 49ers take a slight reach to fill a need.

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): B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College. Broncos get an anchor for their defensive line.

13. Washington Redskins: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee. The Redskins are trying to get into the Mark Sanchez derby.

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

15. Houston Texans: Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State. Look for the Texans to go defense. They could snap up Cushing right here.

16. San Diego Chargers: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. Doesn’t slip too far out of the top 10.

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

18. Denver Broncos: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. Broncos attempt to plug their leaky pass defense.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi. The Bucs try to add some bulk to their front-seven.

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

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State: Andy Reid, who was a tight ends coach early in his pro coaching career in Green Bay, knows the position.

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

23. New England Patriots: Clay Matthews Jr., LB, Southern California. Patriots try to replace Mike Vrabel.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Cushing, LB, USC. Everything breaks right and the Falcons get their man. He will compete for one of the starting outside linebacker spots.

25. Miami Dolphins: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State. Dolphins address one of their pressing needs.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland. GM Ozzie Newsome adds a weapon for quarterback Joe Flacco.

27. Indianapolis Colts: Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois: Bill Polian finds another potential Pro Bowler late in the first round. Heir-apparent to speed rusher Dwight Freeney.

28. Buffalo (from Carolina through Philadelphia): Eben Britton, T, Arizona. They have to replace the traded Jason Peters.

29. New York Giants: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State. This pick could change if the Giants make the trade for Cleveland’s Braylon Edwards.

30. Tennessee Titans: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina. Can you name one of the Titans’ wide receivers?

31. Arizona Cardinals: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia. Cardinals need a running threat to help take some pressure off their vaunted passing attack.

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


Missouri defensive tackle Ziggy Hood has 15.5 career sacks.

Missouri defensive tackle Ziggy Hood has 15.5 career sacks.

James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
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
Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma
Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
Connor Barwin, DE/LB, Cincinnati

Would you be happy with the selection of Cushing? Do you care about the steroid allegations? Do you care about the “White Nation” Facebook group? Would you prefer a defensive tackle like Hood? If Cushing isn’t there, do you fall back and get in position to draft Delmas?

729 comments Add your comment


April 24th, 2009
7:47 am

This time I agree with you. Cushing is a very good #24; unless Jerry falls too.


April 24th, 2009
7:54 am

I guess witht he way the second round may play out, Cushing becomes the best choice because; Brace or Moala will be there at #55.

Maiva will likely be available in the late fourth or early fifth. He could develop into an exceptional weakside LB.

#176: Brandon Underwood Cincinatti 6′1″ 200 lbs. 4.44/40


April 24th, 2009
8:08 am

Petersen, Lofton, Cushing with Nicolas, Wire and Maiva as backups is a big improvement. Gilbert and James become reserves.

Babs, Abraham, JA, Davis, Brace, Lewis, Biermann and Shaughnessy would be a very strong front four.

With that LBing and DL, the Falcons would have power, size and speed on their interiour D for the first time in a long time.

Underwood CB/S and Vaughn SS and the D is ready for the SB run.

Adding TG to the O is the best thing that could have happened. Three pro-bowlers at skill positions for ICE to work with.

Need some OL depth and the O is ready for the SB run.


April 24th, 2009
8:13 am

Orlando, I’d love Cushing, but I think you nailed it when you said he gets snapped up by Houston. We can hope can’t we? I’m not the first one to suggest it, but I could see New England snapping up Moreno. Maroney’s hurt and Fred Taylor is very old for a running back. The position might not seem their greatest need, but if they see the value being at RB they might go that way. If we needed a running back, and a linebacker, I’d go Moreno over Matthews all day long. Many of you know how I feel about Clay Matthews, but there’s no way I see him as a better player than Knowshon. Anyway, Moreno to New England wouldn’t come as total shock. New England is also said to be very high on Connor Barwin, and It wouldn’t shock me if they took him either. Good mock, all I can say is I hope you’re right.

[...] Read more… [...]


April 24th, 2009
8:32 am

I like our current linebacker depth better than our d-line depth. I’d rather us get Hood with the 24 and pick up an olb later.


April 24th, 2009
8:41 am

I thought we are looking for guys with “character.”


April 24th, 2009
8:48 am

Can the Falcons take Hannah Storm?


April 24th, 2009
8:52 am

Orlando I see your sticking to the Cushing pick at 24, I just worry that Cushing has that Brian Bosworth feel about him, so I’m leaning more toward Jerry if the Falcons can’t trade the pick. With the TE position now resolved trading up for Aaron Curry may also be a possibility. If Detroit gets the deal done with Stafford and Curry is there at three, look for the Falcons and Kansas City to start dealing again. Kansas City and Scott Pioli just happen to have what the Falcons want while TD and the Falcons have what KC wants. That is the Falcons are alot closer to getting their roster settled and KC has a DT that the Falcons love (Glenn Dorsey) and are in position to take a player in a position the Falcons really Covet (Curry), the Falcons have a first round pick and a second rounder which KC wants, KC can not get enough value picking in the number 3 spot and they don’t have a second round pick. Washington and Dan Synder could ruin the possibility of this trade happening if they decide to trade up to get Sanchez. I just get the feeling that theres a bigger picture going on between TD and Pioli

coach smith

April 24th, 2009
8:52 am

No way KNOWSHON MORENO is still there at 31!!!!!

If he is still there when th eFalcons pic, maybe we should trade NORWOOD for a 4th or 5th round pic and take MORENO

I know I know, we have Turner and you’ll all say I am just a Georgia homer BUT….THE NFL IS A TWO BACK LEAGUE now and Norwood always gets banged up….

The Falcons could have MORENO and TURNER for 2 or 3 years and then let TURNER go when his contract and body are used up

MORENO is the ONLY offensive player the Falcons should consider taking and IF he is ther at 24 HE WILL BE THE BEST PLAY ON THE BOARD


April 24th, 2009
9:11 am

I Love Moreno too but reality-check it aint gonna happen that would not be a good move. The Falcons are adressing Defense in all three stages Line, Linbackers, and Secondary. They need a DT first. Then second round get a S or FS. Third Round get a LB. Only offensive player we could use is depth on the O-Line


April 24th, 2009
9:13 am

If we get Cushing, we might as well reinstate Vick! I thought we wanted guys with good character. This guy will be a bust anyway, he won’t be able to check the back out of the backfield just like brooking couldn’t. We need another good DE on the other side of Abraham first. We could get a good quality LB in the second round.


April 24th, 2009
9:19 am

Good morning posse. Do Led, I respectfully disagree here. Matthews and Cushing will be off the board before we pick.

We will choose Ziggy Hood with the choice and then later, we will get a second DT, a larger guy (Taylor/Hill/Miller). Rotations seem to be a catch phrase with the team this off-season so I am going to ride my pairings of Hood/Lewis and/or Babs/Taylor-Hill-Miller.

Great work with your mocks and reports my brother. You are a d….d good one!!


April 24th, 2009
9:19 am

Im not even going to speculate. Tomorrow is the big day – with the signing of TG this thing is ON!

Birds are going to have a high powered offense this season – bet the bank on that…

go birds.


April 24th, 2009
9:24 am

This will not be a popular statment, but “I don’t want Cushing at all.” I just feel that Cushing is not only a system linebacker, but also a Tony Mandarich steroid type of guy. He will have to get off the juice when he gets to the league and then become a wasted first round pick. If we do get a USC linebacker, why not get the best athlete on the USC defense, Rey Maualuga. That’s a better solid choice, he will shore up a middle that has been inconsistent. Also paired with another young talent like Chris Lofton, who also played outside at OU, we will have much needed stopping power in the box. Bottom line, we need football players, not weight room phenoms.


April 24th, 2009
9:28 am

WR, no need to trade for Dorsey when we can get just as much out of drafting Hood or Jerry at 24.

The Falcons CAN NOT and should not move up to the top five. The cap situation will not sustain such as move until we resolve the MV deal. If he is re-instated, he will cost the Birds over $15 million this season according to reports. DO Led, can you ellaborate on this?

Keep the picks and continue the re-construction through the draft.


April 24th, 2009
9:30 am

I just heard the commish, Roger Goodell, state that the league will commit over $400 million in guaranteed money to the draft selections of the first round this year. WOW!!!


April 24th, 2009
9:35 am

QueDog, I think all three USC guys will be off the boards when the Birds pick.


April 24th, 2009
9:36 am

No matter what happens, I trust TD and Coach Smith. But I have a strong feeling that Larry English should be our guy. Don’t know why, it’s just a feeling I’ve had since the first time I saw him. I do trust our decision makers, but I really feel we will regret it if we pass on him.

Unca' Bob

April 24th, 2009
9:37 am

This will be my first time posting anything, anywhere. I have been seeing a lot of the same names, both posters and picks. Let me toss a name out here that I have not seen. Jarron Gilbert, San Jose St., 6′-5″, 290 Lbs. He was described as “Freakishly Atheletic”. His senior year he recorded 22 Tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. Has anyone heard of him?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 24th, 2009
9:38 am

Hey y’all, the batmobile is in the shop getting some new tires and brakes. So I’m sitting here at the Atlanta Bread Company working the phone. Got any questions fire away.

tbHawksFan: Can we teach the bird how to fly? That was crazy the other night. Like your picks, but look for Safety Sherrod Martin from Troy in the second, possibly third. Cornerback Glover Quin of New Mexico is a possibility, too. Secondary will be addressed.

Marko: Word on the Street is that New England wants a Vrabel replacement and this is a deep draft for those 3-4, hybrid DE/OLBs. Connor Barwin is the wildcard of the group. He he sneaks in the first round, that’ll knock another good player down some.

WildeBeast: Can’t have a whole team of choir boys. That’s just a bunch of PR post-vick mucky muck. If you’re going to win, you need football players. They just have to do a THOROUGH background search (this didn’t happen with Vick, obviously). You need a LB or two with malice in their heart. LB have to do bad things (hit and tackle) to good people.

Jimmy: Let me check on that. Storm looks like a flanker. She’s from Texas and knows here football.

Dimitroff is Smarter than You

April 24th, 2009
9:40 am

What happened to Clint Sintim? I see the Falcons trading back to get an extra late pick for some WR depth on the second day…


April 24th, 2009
9:41 am

I actually think Clint Sintim is better. Dude can flat-out play.


April 24th, 2009
9:44 am

Welcome Unca’Bob. We have heard of Gilbert and he has been mentioned in here. He is definately an intriguing prospect but if the Birds go with a DE in this draft, I see someone like Paul Kruger in the second.


April 24th, 2009
9:46 am

Orlando, if Jerry is still there at 24, the Falcons have to take him, right? DT seems like a big need for Atlanta, & from what I saw of Jerry in college he looks like a beast. I would much prefer him to Cushing & think he fills a more immediate need.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 24th, 2009
9:46 am

I was told to get “off” of Sintim. He’s a fit in Pittsburgh. Not quite a good fit here. I hope my personnel source wasn’t steering me wrong.


April 24th, 2009
9:52 am

Im 50/50 on taking Cushing at 24, He seems to be a great talent, but maybe he’s a product of the system……Their team was loaded -of course he’s going to look good playing with 4 other possible NFL Starters. The steroids issue is kind of disturbing especially after watching the Tony Mandrich story.
I would go best available DLineman or trade down for more picks…. ZACH FOLLETTE will be a better player than Cushing IMO….. Lets adress other needs and get a SLB in rounds 3-5……………………….
1200.00 dollars a month on supplements = Premadona…….

Unca' Bob

April 24th, 2009
9:58 am

SeminoleWarrior Thank you for your warm welcome. Ya’ll realy do your homework.


April 24th, 2009
9:59 am

I thought the AJC reported Vick will count $7.1 million on the 2009 salary cap, which is about 5% of the $127 million team cap. Not chump change for a guy not even on the roster.

I don’t think TD will get Cushing, not with the allegations. There’s just too many other options so why take the risk?


April 24th, 2009
9:59 am

Pass on Cushing and put Vick at OLB!


April 24th, 2009
10:00 am

Works for me. Cushing in the 1st Moala in the 2nd.

I like Ziggy Hood, I’d be cool if he were a pick too but I wonder if he’s more suited to play UT than NT. We definately need depth at NT.

Also, keep in mind that we are razor thin at OT. if a quality tackle is on the board early. I think that could be the pick. It’s easier to find a NT later than it is to find starting OT’s. They could probably get Frank Okam too.

I’m really not sure what they are going to do in the secondary but there could be another trade as their was last year for a Foxworth type.


April 24th, 2009
10:00 am

I told you Sintim didn’t fit here 3 weeks ago. You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that. Why have a very good group of LBs now. Do some homework please. How many DTs (NFL caliber and healthy)are on the roster right now? Let me help you, ONE (Babineaux)!!! Tell me how Cushing is going to help putting pressure on the QB and stopping the run. Is he better than Stephan Nicholas? I doubt it very seriously. Why waste the pick on him? Either draft Jerry or Hood or trade the pick for Glenn Dorsey.


April 24th, 2009
10:01 am

I wish they would leave roid rage alone and go after a d lineman. If that doesnt work out why dont they go after the cornerback from ohio state.


April 24th, 2009
10:02 am

UnCa Bob……. Jarron Gillbert is a beast- He is a little undersized at 288 but he makes up for it in raw strength-this guy is really powerful and quick off the line……I hope he’s there at 55 if we dont go DL in the first. He’s going to make alot of people look bad for passsing on him, he reminds me a little of Shawn Merriman………


April 24th, 2009
10:03 am

Storm is okay but I’ll trade into the first and select Reischea Candidate.

DO Led, was I on target with my MV cap assessment?


April 24th, 2009
10:03 am

Disagree 100% with you, Ledbetter.

First there are the steroid accusations not just in college but dating back to high school. RED FLAG.

Then this website he developed or group he started called “White Nation”? Are you friggin’ kidding me?????

Joke or not, this is not the type of player that needs a guy with that type of baggage.

And to think how much the Vick situation polarized the races in Atlanta….

Peria Jerry is the guy if he makes it that far.

The Grinch

April 24th, 2009
10:04 am

LB is about the 5th position in importance we need even after getting Gonzales, and we’re not going to draft one who’s needed steroids to get where he is. Didn’t you see “The Program,” D-Led? They lose strength after they get off the juice. We also don’t need an undersized “hybrid” 3-4 guy either (Abe and Biermann are both under 260). Unless a top-15 one just happens to fall in our lap, we should go best available DT, CB and S in no particular order with the top 3 picks. What we could REALLY use is what J. Anderson was supposed to be.


April 24th, 2009
10:05 am

Hey everybody, this is my first time writing on a blog on AJC.But anyways I think that if Cushing or Jerry is taken, then I think the falcons should trade down and draft Louis Delmas. Then we should pick up Maiva in the later rounds.


April 24th, 2009
10:05 am

Hannah Storm can line up in front of me anytime!


April 24th, 2009
10:06 am

gdg73, trust me.. It will be Hood. If not Hood, Jerry. If not Jerry, best LB available that could project at SLB.


April 24th, 2009
10:07 am

take the LB, should see instant action. DOL, any other rumors out there about possible using Vick as trade bait to maybe move up in the 1rst or 2nd rounds, possible later rounds??


April 24th, 2009
10:08 am

I want one of three players with our first pick. If we stay at 24 it has to be DTs Jerry or Hood. If we can move back 8-10 spots and the DTs are gone, then take SS William Moore. He is a true power SS that will start from Day 1. Then we take DTs Gilbert or Brace w/ our original #2. With the trade down for Moore, we’d pick up extra 3rd. Asher Allen and LB Marcus Freeman in the 3rd. Duke Robinson is possible as well… never hurts to load up on the OL.


April 24th, 2009
10:08 am


Would be hard for me to accept passing up Malcolm Jenkins for Brian Cushing…I don’t see a HUGE difference between Cushing and Nichols (second year guy). I do believe that what we have a corner is suspect…Houston included (but he can start). Jenkins would give you a guy that could play both CB and S positions.

Gonzalez trade is solid…taking a page from my buddy westside J, I still think we should use a pick on C. Ingram from Florida and let him heal and learn from Gonzalez for a couple of years. That would make any transition seamless…

Whatever the case, it is encouraging to see the Birds being ACTIVE in acquiring talent. Still disappointed to see Laurent Robinson gone, but the play-action pass just got better with #88 running down the seam.


April 24th, 2009
10:08 am

i dont want cushing at all. ziggy would be a much better pick here. wire, lofton, peterson are our starting LBs now, and idt cushing can come in and provide much right off the bat. i also agree with the system linebacker idea hes got mandarich written all over him. as weak as it may seem, LB is our deepest position on D. DL is hurtin bad, take jerry or ziggy.

Astro Joe

April 24th, 2009
10:09 am

DOL, if TD takes a LB before a DT, does that mean that he has more faith in Trey Lewis than Stephen Nicholas? I assume that means that Lewis is looking fully recovered.


April 24th, 2009
10:11 am

DT, get the best one on the board, or either the best DE available.
I agree that LB is about 4th on our need list


April 24th, 2009
10:12 am

think Connor Barwin (because of his versatility) or Evander Hood would be a better pick for the falcons at 24


April 24th, 2009
10:13 am

As much as I disagree with Cushing’s off-the-field issues, I think that he’s a guy we can insert into the game and give us a very good pass rush from the LB position


April 24th, 2009
10:15 am

chc4, the safety pick will depend on how they feel about DeCoud. But if I had to choose, I would take Chung over Moore.


April 24th, 2009
10:18 am

Yes, steroid and “White Nation,” issues make me wonder if this guy will be a Brian Bosworth-type bust.

Whoever, Dimitroff takes will be fine. Hannah Storm is fine. I’d “draft” her.