THE WAR ROOM – Well, today Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff drops by the blog. This is about as close as I can get us to the real war room.
After all of the picks are made, Dimitroff comes down and does a de-briefing of the draft. I like to get his scouting break down on the lesser known second-day picks.
Here’s how the reigning executive of the year broke things down.
TD ON THIRD ROUND PICK CHRIS OWENS, CB, San Jose State: “Chris Owens for us is a combination of a very physical and aggressive corner. He comes to the table with a lot of speed. He’s a sub-4.5 guy. He’s actually a lower 4.4 guy. He’s around a 4.43 player. He’s increasing our speed in the secondary. Increases our physicality and has very good ball skills. He’s gotten his hands on a lot of balls. He definitely brings an element of urgency to our defense as well.”
TD ON FOURTH ROUND PICK LAWRENCE SIDBURY, DE, Richmond: “Lawrence was brought in here as a rush end type. He is a good athlete with what we believe is some serious upside. He as the ability to get off the mark quickly, to get up field. He has the (ability) to turn the corner and rush the passer. He is still a little bit raw and needs to grow in a number of areas. . . we were surprised to get him there in the fourth round. He ended up falling to us.”
TD ASIDE on SPEED: “You guys are going to be seeing this theme. Everyone one of these guys except for the offensive lineman has speed. When you go on the field in the training camps and OTAs you are going to see an increased level of speed.”
BACK TO SIDBURY: “He’s a 4.54 in our books. If he can continue to learn to rush the passer and continue to learn you have a legitimate DPR – defensive pass rush guy. He’s still developing.”
TD ON FIFTH ROUND PICK WILLIAM MIDDLETON, CB, Furman: (He’s a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. — 1-07-Mu Pi. — so we know he’s tough!!!) “He’s a low 4.4 guy for us as well. He came here to our local workout. . . He’s another aggressive defensive back. . . He comes in aggressively to support the run. He’s aggressive to the ball and he has nice ball skills. Combine that with his speed and ability to transition, he makes good usage of his footwork. We think he’s got growth potential to add to our depth in the secondary.”
ASIDE ON LEADERSHIP: “These three guys that we just talked about, in their programs, they are deemed as captain types. Just like last year, each guy was at the top of their programs in terms of leading their team mates. We really feel strongly about the type of work ethic and character that these players have.”
TD ON FIFTH ROUND PICK GARRETT REYNOLDS, OT, North Carolina: “Another player that we were happy to get in the fifth round. For us he has the ability to play right tackle and possibly swing to the left tackle in a pinch. Ideally, he’s a right tackle for us. He’s strong, stout, big offensive lineman who has got a good awareness about him. He is tough. He fits in with our style on the right side right now with (Tyson) Clabo and Harvey Dahl.”
ASIDE on Reynolds: (Falcons thought about adding another cornerback and flooding the position): “We were looking at our board and we brought over a couple of offensive linemen. We’d just taken Middleton and went, back-to-back corners. We didn’t want to take three corners. We wanted a guy who could compete for a roster position here and develop into a solid offensive lineman in the National Football League. We deviated from defense, but it was one of the positions along the offensive line where we felt we need to build depth.”
TD ON SIXTH ROUND PICK LAWRENCE ADKINS, LB, The U: “He was a part-time starter and player there. He’s been in and out of the starting lineup. We like his upside. He’s another fast guy who ran 4.49 for us. He moves well laterally . . . He flies around. He’s tough upon impact. We feel that we have an opportunity to have a player on the field who can help contribute on special teams as well and continue to grow in the linebacker role. He’s an outside guy. He has (weakside) ability.”
ON SEVENTH ROUND PICK VANCE WALKER, DT, Georgia Tech: “We saw a guy who has some versatility to him. He has some natural leverage ability about him, to be able to hold the point. But also combines that with some upfield ability. He can be a one-gap guy which is very important in Mike Smith’s scheme and his
scheme going forward. . . Vance was another top notch leader in his program.”
TD on THE OVERALL THEME: “We wanted to get more urgent. We wanted to get more faster. We wanted to build with all-in, leadership-type guys that are dedicated to the program. We accomplished all of those things.”
TD ON THE DALLAS TRADE: (After taking Middleton, the Falcons pulled off a trade with the Dallas Cowboys. They sent the 143rd pick to Dallas for the 156th and picked up the 210th pick, the first pick of the seventh round.) “At that time we continued to think that we could move down and get another pick and still get who we were looking for in the fifth round.”
TD GIVE UPDATE ON THE LINEBACKER UNIT: ” We were happy to have (Michael Peterson) come in along with Curtis Lofton inside. We targeted a couple of linebackers in the draft that didn’t fall to us. (Brian Cushing was the only true LB taken before the Falcons picked 24th.) They went off the board a little early. We understood that we were not going to come away with every need early on in the draft. We were pretty calculated in our approach. We felt by getting a defensive lineman, pulling the safety off the board and then corner off the board that we addressed three of the four areas on defense. With Stephen Nicholas stepping up, in our mind, to be a legitimate contributor in the base defense, we feel like we are sitting quite sound in our linebacker group.”
TD ON THE CROWDED CORNERBACK MEETING ROOM: “We want competition going into training camp. Our feelings are that the more competition and the more speed, the better. We feel we have with our present
players and the players coming in, a great forum for a very competitive training camp. I feel we are going to come out of that with a good solid group of cornerbacks.”
TD ON THE SAFETY SITUATION: Is it Moore, DeCoud and Fudge competing for the strong safety spot? “It will be up to Mike Smith. William is more of strong safety given his size and ability to come up and light up the ball carry. But he also has the range and he has more versatility than what was presented at the Senior Bowl. We really believe he has the ability to be in the deep part of the football field. There is some versatility there. We are happy to have Erik Coleman here with his veteran leadership and veteran status. He’s going to be a nice mentor for this young safety group. Thomas DeCoud, we are excited about his upside. We think he is going to continue to grow. He’s got nice speed and ability to cover the field. In my mind there are going to be three or four safeties on this team who can be legitimate contributors no matter who is called upon. ”
So there you have it, Dimitroff takes us into the war room and gives us a retrospective inside look on the Falcons draft? Do you have any post draft concerns? Like the second-day guys? Wonder if Reynolds has any insight on why his uncle sawed the car in half? Can Owens win a starting cornerback spot or are you comfortable with the Houston/Grimes tandem?