Matt Ryan, Mike Turner miss practice

090426 FLOWERY BRANCH Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff  and head coach Mike Smith introduce their NFL draft pick, Peria Jerry, Ole Miss defensive tackle, during a press conference at their facility in Flowery Branch Sunday morning. KENT D. JOHNSON / kdjohnson@AJC.COM

090426 FLOWERY BRANCH Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith introduce their NFL draft pick, Peria Jerry, Ole Miss defensive tackle, during a press conference at their facility in Flowery Branch Sunday morning. KENT D. JOHNSON / kdjohnson@AJC.COM


FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, in order to rest his turf toe injury, did not practice on Wednesday.

Also, running back Michael Turner (right high ankle sprain) did not participate in practice.

“He did go through the walk through this morning,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We had anticipated that if he was going to play, that would be  the course of action that we would take. It’s not a setback. It was a course of action that we were going to take.”


THE BRANCH –  There’s indeed a method to the workings of Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s madness.

You have to give it to him, for being way ahead of the pack on this draft stuff.

Last summer, right here on this blog, we were wondering aloud why the Falcons were not signing any free agents and

Keith Brooking is worth a fourth or fifth round compensatory pick.

Keith Brooking is worth a fourth or fifth round compensatory pick.

letting all of those defensive starters go. They had cap room and could have pulled the trigger on a few deals. Cornerback Jabari Greer would have been nice. Ron Bartell could have worked, too.

But Dimitroff held his cards tight and just signed linebacker Mike Peterson. They traded the second round pick of the 2010 draft to Kansas City for tight end Tony Gonzalez and had to burn the seventh round pick to get Tye Hill from St. Louis.

As it stands today, the Falcons will have their own picks in the first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds of the deep 2010 draft.

Michael Boley's signing with the Giants should bring the Falcons a pretty high compensatory draft pick.

Michael Boley's signing with the Giants should bring the Falcons a pretty high compensatory draft pick.

But here’s the kicker, by letting Domonique Foxworth, Michael Boley, Keith Brooking and Grady Jackson leave during free agency, the Falcons could gain as many as four compensatory picks when they are announced by the league in March.

Last season a total of 32 compensatory picks were awarded to 16 teams, including four each to Cincinnati and Tennessee. The maximum number of compensatory picks a team can receive is four.

Pursuant to the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires is the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

A formula, developed by the NFL Management Council and based on playing time, salary and postseason honors is used to determine compensatory free agents.

Under this formula, the Falcons are almost certain to get a third round pick for cornerback Domonique Foxworth. He signed a four year, $27.2 million contract and is starting his little heart away. He’s made all 14 starts for the Ravens. He’s struggling so there probably won’t be many post-season honors.

Michael Boley, who signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the New York Giants, could likely bring the Falcons a fourth round pick. Boley was suspended for a game and was injured. But he’s played in nine games and is second on the Giants in tackles with 65.

Dallas linebacker Keith Brooking could be worth a fourth or fifth round compensatory pick and Detroit defensive tackle Grady Jackson could be worth a seventh round pick.

So, with the Falcons needing to add some depth and competition at some key positions, they could end up with nine picks in the 2010 draft.

We’re months away from the draft, but here are a couple of things that will likely appear on the Falcons’ draft list.

–A good tight end who can serve an apprenticeship under Gonzalez.

–Cornerback and linebacker depth.

–Some more muscle along both lines.

–Some more running back and wide receiver insurance.

124 comments Add your comment

Arthante Lafleur

December 23rd, 2009
10:48 am

Arthante Lafleur

December 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

“–A good tight end who can serve an apprenticeship under Gonzalez.

–Cornerback and linebacker depth.

–Some more muscle along both lines.

–Some more running back and wide receiver insurance.”

…So basically we’re looking for everything but QB.


December 23rd, 2009
10:52 am

First for wharever that’s worth.


December 23rd, 2009
11:11 am

D-Led. Great article. Thanks for the info. Go Falcons!


December 23rd, 2009
11:11 am

Really hope the falcons get some line help. there seems to be a lot of d and o linemen in this upcoming draft so I really hope we cash in.


December 23rd, 2009
11:13 am

That would be huge to get 4 additional draft picks. We will miss that 2nd round pick but I don’t know where we would be without Tony G.


December 23rd, 2009
11:18 am

All this assuming we make no trades for more picks. I’m hoping we come out of this draft looking stronger than ever, and I wouldn’t be surprised if TD already has his eye on a few late round people.


December 23rd, 2009
11:19 am

I was thinking the exact same thing Arthante. That sounds like more than a couple of things to me.


December 23rd, 2009
11:21 am

Wouldn’t Peterson cancel out the pick we get for Brooking?


December 23rd, 2009
11:24 am

Uh, let’s rank that:

1. Cover Corner – Flo State Cb looks good
2. Pass Rush help – pick a guy, any guy, lots of good prospects
3. RB depth
4. WR depth
5. O-line, D-line, LB depth

Good chance to make up for this 2009 bunch that hasn’t had an impact, so much so Kiper might give it an F.

D-Led, who might out there Free Agency wise the birds could look at?

Duecy D

December 23rd, 2009
11:25 am

Good Article, in my opinion, behind cornerback and defensive line, I think the offensive line needs to be addressed,especially right tackle. I think the Falcon should look into free agents as well as the draft to shore up the right tackle. If you watched the last game against the Jets, Matt Ryan was clearly jumpy with his right side protection. In order for the Falcon’s to be an dominant offense, they are going to need to become dominant at the line of scrimmage. That means, they need a more physical line.


December 23rd, 2009
11:27 am

But keep in mind that Mike Peterson will compensate for the loss of Brooking so we shouldnt get a pick for him. I’m saying the max amount of picks we get would be 3. Hopefully a 3rd for foxy, a 4th or 5th for Boley, and a 7th for Grady. I’m sure we are going to trade on draft day as well to get into the second round. I’m assuming we go with a DE with our first pick, we have alot of quality players on the D-Line, but we need an elite pass rusher that I believe we can get somewhere in the middle of round one. Then I bet we will trade up into the 2nd round to either get a good CB, or an O-lineman…

December 23rd, 2009
11:32 am

Before the draft even starts, go find a starting CB in free agency to go with our young corners. I see potential in Jackson and Owens. Grimes has also impressed me, but he should be our nickel or dime corner. Chris Houston has no ball skills. If he hasn’t learned to turn his head by now, he never will. William Moore is an “in the box” SS, and will probably not challenge Coleman next year. I met Louis Delmas (Detroit FS) back this summer. He said that Moore had trouble back pedaling when they practiced at the Senior Bowl. He is another year away from starting (maybe never).

As far as the defensive line, we need to cut bait with Jamal Anderson and trade him to a 3-4 team. He is not the up the field pass rushing defensive end. I pray that Peria Jerry comes back healthy. We can’t keep drafting defensive lineman and keep holding on to what we got. Either these guys develop or they got to go. That’s why we have a log jam at defensive end right now.

We need one more fast young linebacker. If we could get Rolando McClain from Alabama, I would be very happy. He is also big enough to rush the passer from the edge on passing downs. . He might very well be our first round pick.

As far as offense, we should not re-sign Norwood (just too fragile). Go find a change of pace back in the third round. We also need a receiver to replace Finneran. Maybe two. And contrary to popular belief, Michael Jenkins is a good 2nd receiver. Ryan and Mularkey need to start getting the guy involved in the game early on and stop it with the constant check downs to Ovie and Snelling.

The Falcons should look to draft the big tight end out of South Carolina (forget his name #88). He played behind Jared Cook in 2008. Cook has taken some of Alge’s playing time in Tennessee this season.

On the offensive line, find a tackle to take Clabo’s place. I would still keep Tyson though. He would provide good depth at both the guard and tackle position.


December 23rd, 2009
11:48 am

Ideally the Falcons should get a taller corner to help with the tall receivers in the league now. I don’t know if there is one available that is ‘1st round worthy’ in the draft this year.

Interestingly, some of the early draft mocks have Terrence Cody of Bama dropping in the draft. Is it worth taking a flyer on him and possibly moving Babs to DE?


December 23rd, 2009
11:50 am

With Douglas coming back the WR need shouldn’t be too much. DE, corner and OL are hurting right now, then maybe another RB

Michael Irvin

December 23rd, 2009
11:51 am

Eric Berry. This team needs some more playmakuhs!


December 23rd, 2009
11:57 am

In the offseason the Falcons should go and get Charlie Wies.


December 23rd, 2009
12:13 pm

He won’t be there for the Falcons but Eric Berry would be Godsend. Also, please Falcons, focus on improving the pass rush!


December 23rd, 2009
12:15 pm

The draft is primarily a long term solution, with the status of the franchise on shakey financial grounds the immediate relief of free agency must be considered as well as trades.
One improbable but interesting trade would be to trade Roddy White and a draft pick(3rd round) to Detroit for Calvin Johnson. The modern trend is tall strong receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre johnson. With the rumored feud between Calvin and Matt Stafford, the Lions dismal future , a return to Atlanta may be appealing to him and the Lions. Harry Douglas gives the team a quick slot guy and Gonzalez has 1 more year in the tank. roddy becomes the go to guy in Detroit and there is peace in the their locker room.

Free agency should be the first option for the D-line . Julius Peppers is a little long of tooth but that factor could work in the Falcons favor if they pitch him the idea that they are building for a 2010-11 Super Bowl caliber team and he is the key building block.

As far as cornerback, the left side specifically run ,do not walk, to the free agency line and get the best available guy over 6′ and under 27.
The first round draft pick should be used to find Turner’s successor because the “Burner’s”expiration date is fast approaching and Norwood is history. How about a back who is both fast and powerful?

As far as the linebacker corps, how about looking at Sidberry as an outside backer? while he is viewed as Abe’s replacement, if Peppers can keep the double teams away, Abe might have a renewed lease on life. Sidberry has the size and speed that could be very helpful.

Tim Tebow's Tears

December 23rd, 2009
12:17 pm

CJ Spiller please

Greyt Goose

December 23rd, 2009
12:18 pm

The Falcons have good 2nd & 3rd stringers at CB. They just have no starters.


December 23rd, 2009
12:18 pm



Tiger Woods' Wing Man

December 23rd, 2009
12:21 pm

Reggie Ball.

Tiger Woods' Wing Man

December 23rd, 2009
12:22 pm

Reggie Ball: He gives 100% effort for all 5 Quarters.

Art Vandelay

December 23rd, 2009
12:23 pm

I’d love to see the Falcons package a couple of those compensatory picks with our first-rounder to move up in the draft. A CB like Haden is exactly what we need in the secondary to stop the embarrassment of watching every QB who plays against us this year have the best game of his career.


December 23rd, 2009
12:26 pm

We have to get a lock down CB this draft. The corners are less deep than the D-linemen, so i believe that if were going to address this position in the draft, it has to be our 1st round pick. Now we could trade down to a later 1st to pick up an additional pick, but we still need to walk away with a CB in the 1st round. Below are the top 6 CB’s I’ve seen on draft boards, with their height, weight, & Int #’s for this year. I believe that it’s crucial that we get a CB with size to match up with these bigger receivers & 3 of the 6 on this list are 6-0 or taller.

1. Joe Haden, Florida, Jr. 20, 5-11, 190, with 8 Ints
2. Patrick Robinson, Florida St. 22, 5-11, 193, with 7 Ints
3. Perrish Cox, Oklahoma St. 22, 6-0, 195, with 11 Ints
4. Kyle Wilson, Boise St. 22, 5-10, 186, with 11 Ints
5. Ras-I Dowling, Virginia Jr. 21, 6-2, 200, with 8 Ints
6. Trevard Lindley, Kentucky 23, 6-1, 179, with 10 Ints

Dave Chapelle

December 23rd, 2009
12:31 pm

CB Donovan Warren has said he’s coming out early also 6′0 185


December 23rd, 2009
12:35 pm

they need to get Myron Rolle from Florida State……he is going to be a star in the league and is a good person off the field……he will be a great piece in the defensive backfield


December 23rd, 2009
12:36 pm

The Falcon’s also won’t have to deal with the $7 million dollar charge against the salary cap next year like they did this season (caused by cutting Mike Vick), which will give them more money to go after free agents.


December 23rd, 2009
12:36 pm

For CB – let’s trade a 1st and a 3rd for DeAngelo Hall.


December 23rd, 2009
12:38 pm

D. Orlando Ledbetter

What do you think about them taking Carlos Dunlap out of Florida? He’s been rated the top DE all year but a lot of ppl have him slipping bc of the who DUI incident. I know the birds have the whole moral conduct thing going, but this is the only time he’s been in trouble & he’s the legit pass rusher we need at 20 years old, 6-6, 290 with 9 sacks last year & 7 this year in the SEC. I still think we should go CB in the 1st, but he drops to use, this has to intrigue T.D., what do think?


December 23rd, 2009
12:42 pm

We do not need a “lock-down” CB (who would not be available when we pick anyway). We need a pass rusher; in fact, we need two DEs this draft. The only other immediate starting caliber players we need are C and RT. I hope they take a C in the 3rd Rd. They should take a DE in the 1st unless they have flown off the board and a Rolando McClain value is there. 2nd day picks are crap shoots and should be used to build OL RB, LB and WR depth.

I fully expect us to trade up in this draft to get back into the 2nd-3rd range.

A Rod

December 23rd, 2009
12:42 pm

well even if they do finish 9-7 they still have a no back-to-back playoff appearance curse. Falcons are just a mediocre team, like their quarterback.


December 23rd, 2009
12:43 pm

Myron Rolle is going to Oxford. Eric Berry should go Number 2 overall.

Q. Sarasota Tungstenmediocre

December 23rd, 2009
12:46 pm

While my cousin D-Led thinks about his answers, let me lay something on ya’. Carlos Dunlap would be a good pick. I’ve heard some rumor-mill-type-talk about trading up for that corn-fed Nebraska beast Ndamukong Suh. I don’t know if I can go for that. Seems a better option would be to see what’s available in the CB department. A pass rusher would be a fantastic addition, granted, but if we can’t stop the receivers then we got nothin’.


December 23rd, 2009
12:47 pm

Yeah both Warren is also a good name to add to the list


December 23rd, 2009
12:47 pm

Trade Norwood and a pick for Spiller.


December 23rd, 2009
12:54 pm

matt ryan is a mediocre QB???
i guess leadin an aveage team to the playoffs as a rookie was just blind luck
u gotta be a ryan leaf fan huh


December 23rd, 2009
1:14 pm

& for everyone yelling to go FA for CB’s here’s the list, only 2 to be excited about in my humble opinion (Rodgers & Robinson).

Top Cornerbacks:
Carlos Rogers, Washington Redskins (29)
He’s been targeted only 47 times this year and has had several shutdown games. Rogers is a good cover corner and in the league’s top 10. He does a nice job of contesting passes and is rarely caught completely out of position.

Tramon Williams, Green Bay Packers (27) – Restricted FA
Tramon Williams started the season as the third corner behind Al Harris and Charles Woodson, splitting out wide in nickel packages to allow Woodson to slip inside to the slot. After Harris’ season-ending injury Williams stepped into the starting lineup with ease.

Dunta Robinson, Houston Texans (28)
After holding out for nearly the entire offseason, Dunta Robinson stepped in and played pretty poorly, allowing a number of intermediate catches against him. Over the last few weeks, Robinson has stepped up his play and limited the damage.

Richard Marshall, Carolina Panthers (25)
Marshall has put up gaudy tackling numbers in his first three seasons, averaging over 80 per season. Starting opposite Chris Gamble, Marshall has actually played very well this season. He hasn’t given up many big plays and come up with a couple picks himself. Marshall loves to get physical and is likely to be rewarded by the Panthers at the end of the season with a long-term deal.

Leigh Bodden, New England Patriots (28)
Bodden has rebounded well from his last year’s poor performance on the Lions. He’s picked off 5 passes on the year and gotten his hands on 16 others. Other than 2 or 3 below average games,

Other Notable Free Agents:
Alan Ball, Dallas Cowboys (25) – Restricted FA
Dre’ Bly, San Francisco 49ers (33)
Ralph Brown, Arizona Cardinals (31)
Brent Grimes, Atlanta Falcons (27) – Restricted FA
Nick Harper, Tennessee Titans (35)
Walt Harris, San Francisco 49ers (36)
Anthony Henry, Detroit Lions (33)
Ellis Hobbs, Philadelphia Eagles (27)
Roderick Hood, Cleveland Browns (28)
Marlin Jackson, Indianapolis Colts (27)
Tim Jennings, Indianapolis Colts (27)
Ken Lucas, Seattle Seahawks (31)
Karl Paymah, Minnesota Vikings (27)
Stanford Routt, Oakland Raiders (27)
Deshea Townsend, Pittsburgh Steelers (34)
Fabian Washington, Baltimore Ravens (27)
Usama Young, New Orleans Saints (25) – Restricted FA


December 23rd, 2009
1:24 pm

Whats up D.Led

This is what the compensatory pick Guru AdamJT13 thinks.

Atlanta — The Falcons lost four qualifying players and signed either one or two. They should receive a third- or fourth-round pick for losing Dominique Foxworth and a fifth or sixth for losing Michael Boley. If Brett Romberg does not qualify, the Falcons also will receive a pick as compensation for losing Grady Jackson, likely in the seventh round.

Keith Brooking does not count because we signed Mike Peterson.


December 23rd, 2009
1:30 pm

MV#77 still on the whole VICK saga are you here is my bit of advice to you get over it! He hasnt done anything in Philly while we ended up with a true Quarterback in Matt Ryan. My opinion, Vick will never be a NFL Quarterback again. He should have never been a number 1 pick mind you we gave up LT and drew Brees for him and Vick proved he couldnt win the big game so Ill take what we have today over vick and his crooked ways anytime of the week.


December 23rd, 2009
1:35 pm

Umm….what seems to be ignored here is that if the Falcons end up with 9 or so draft picks in this draft…they can really use that for leverage on acquiring free agents or tradeable players that are already STARTERS in the NFL instead…personally…the draft is unpredictable…free agents or starting players already know their business.


December 23rd, 2009
1:37 pm

By the way lets do everything we can to pick up Haden or Berry thats what our major concern be. As much as I do like Roddy white I think I like having a younger reciever in Calvin Johnson with Atl connection that would be fun to watch.


December 23rd, 2009
1:41 pm

D-Led, correct me if I’m wrong here. But there have been several people on this blog saying that teh Peterson signing will “offset” losing Brookings. But I seem to remember something when they signed him that someone wrote the signing of Peterson was after a certain football Date so his signing wouldn’t count toward compensatory picks until the next draft (2011).


December 23rd, 2009
1:46 pm

Roddy White is a better receiver right now than Calvin Johnson. He is also young. Why would Detroit make this trade? Why would the Falcons?

Please, someone, provide a shed of logic for this.

I also hear Indianapolis will trade Peyton Manning for Matt Ryan since Peyton played at UT and Matt Ryan is younger.

Champ Bailey wants to come home because he played at UGA.


December 23rd, 2009
1:47 pm

Is there any truth to the rumor that the Titans are willing to trade Chris Johnson for a bag of bagel chips?


December 23rd, 2009
1:49 pm

Justin Peels could develop behind Gonzalez, Norwood could be traded for a high pick I believe. Jamaal Anderson needs to find another line of work, I have watched him quit on too many plays.
Utilize Ovie more in the running attack and find a number one tailback that can play hurt.


December 23rd, 2009
1:57 pm

@Nique: It is an interesting list. I like Rogers. All of the others have talent and/or have shown flashes. Not really in the shutdown mode of:



December 23rd, 2009
2:05 pm

UGA_b I agree that roddy white is better than CJ right now. I am just a fan of CJ and think he could be the top reciver in the NFL if he was put on the right team wether that would be the falcons who knows. I think the other gentleman was referring to the salary cap relief it would provide for the falcons. No need to get all up in arms bud this is just a forum for ideas. Thats why we are fans and not GM’s