ESPN’s Kiper recommends Kyle Wilson or Brandon Graham

Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson comes up with an interception against Idaho at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow last November. (Joe Jaszewski/The Idaho Statesman)

Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson comes up with an interception against Idaho at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow last November. (Joe Jaszewski/The Idaho Statesman)

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper was in draft day form for the national media today.

He did a two hour conference call, taking questions from writers from around the country. Kiper was pretty strong throughout.

I was caller No. 12 in the first half hour and asked him about the Georgia Tech kids and who might be available when the Falcons select in the first round.

“I think Kyle Wilson, the cornerback from Boise State would make a lot of sense at that point,” Kiper said. “Considering

Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, wheres the name number at John Abraham.

Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, wears the same number as John Abraham.

the way that he played at Senior Bowl practices. He’s another kid with great character. He studies the game. He’s a very hard worker.

“Certainly, he would be in the mix. (Defensive end)  Brandon Graham from Michigan would be another guy to consider there. Where they are picking at .  .  . they can solidify a need area from the players on the board.”

I mentioned Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox and Missouri linebacker  Sean Weatherspoon, but Kiper would not sign off on them at No. 19/20 for the Falcons.

HE’S CLEAR ABOUT TEBOW: Kiper is steadfast in his analysis that Florida’s Tim Tebow is not an NFL quarterback.

“I said that directly to his face,” Kiper said. “I think he’s an H-back. Is somebody going to draft him as a quarterback? Yeah, I think they will, but in the second or third round.”

The Godfather Gil Brandt blesses Musgrave move

St. Louis media mogul Bernie Miklasz and Gil "The Godfather" Brandt.

St. Louis media mogul Bernie Miklasz and Gil "The Godfather" Brandt.

It happened a little after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Gil Brandt, who’s affectionately called “The Godfather” of the NFL by his listeners on Sirius radio, blessed the Falcons’

With his injured right foot in a padded brace Matt Ryan looks on as quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave confers with Chris Redman on the sidelines during 2nd half action against the Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

With his injured right foot in a padded brace Matt Ryan looks on as quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave confers with Chris Redman on the sidelines during 2nd half action against the Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

promotion of Bill Musgrave to assistant head coach.

Brandt, the former Cowboys executive, who helped make them America’s team, is now a member of the media. In addition to his Sirius gig, he writes for NFL.com. He’s a walking encyclopedia and a noted historian of the game.

Before taking a call from Dr. Falcon on the Late Hits show, Brandt, unsolicited, went into a blessing of the Musgrave move.

“He’s a young man that grew up in Colorado,” Brandt said. “He went to high school in Colorado. Then went on to the University of Oregon. I believe he was a fourth round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys (correct) and I’ll tell you what, this guy is a good, good football coach. I think that he will add a lot to that offense of the Falcons.

“He’s a good coach, there is no question about it.”

Dr. Falcon wanted to know how the Falcons, in the NFC South with the pass-happy Super Bowl champion Saints (4th in the league, 272.2 yards per game) and run-happy Panthers (3rd in the league at 156.1 yards per game), plan to continue rebuilding the defense. He seemed to want a free agent signing of Julius Peppers and was intrigued by Alabama’s Shaun “Mount” Cody.

The Godfather didn’t bless either of those potential moves.

Nick Saban signing autographs at the Senior Bowl. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Nick Saban signing autographs at the Senior Bowl. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

“Nick Saban told me that the (lowest) weight they could get him down to was 356 pounds,” Brandt said. “I think the guy tires. I’ll tell you what, you are going to have a hard time. . . these players that once they leave college and lead a more settled life when they get into the NFL, historically they gain weight.”

Cody tipped the scales at 370 pounds at the Senior Bowl.

“If you were assured you were going to be able to keep (his weight) down. . .he’d be alright,” Brandt said.

You have to stay with the Godfather, because like a great jazz musician he’ll go on a freestyle riff.

Bill Musgrave and Matt Ryan (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)“But I’m going to tell you something, that guy Kroy Biermann from the University of Montana, the third year player, he’s a pretty good football player,” Brandt said. “He’s a very, very good football player. . . I think what they need is No. 1, a defensive linemen. No. 2, an outside linebacker, who can go sideline to sideline. That is what would probably help them the most right now.”

Brandt noted that the move to draft Jamaal Anderson hasn’t worked out for the Falcons, but he didn’t recommend throwing barrels of money after the problem.

“Here’s the problem if you bring in Peppers,” Brandt said. “How do you justify to players on your team that are pretty good football players when you bring in someone who makes $21 million or whatever the price is. You are going to have other players look at that and they’ll say ‘I might not be as good as him, but I’m 50 percent as good. Where’s my $10 million?’ That makes it tough.

“Peppers is an athlete. He played well this year. Against Minnesota he was unbelievable, but that’s a tough, tough number to digest.”

Musgrave checked in this morning. He left his cell phone at the office last night. We’ll share later some of the thoughts of the Falcons’ new assistant head coach.

Falcons promote Musgrave to assistant head coach

Bill Musgrave, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback coach, was promoted to assistant head coach on Tuesday, the team announced.

Musgrave will remain in his role as the quarterback coach.

Bill Musgrave

Bill Musgrave

Musgrave, 42, has worked with some of the league’s top quarterbacks, including Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning. This offseason he was coveted by several teams, but elected to stay with the Falcons.

He is currently in charge of developing Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who won the league’s rookie of the year award in 2008. Musgrave has been with the Falcons since 2006.

“Bill has been an integral part of this coaching staff and this is a well deserved promotion,” said Falcons head coach Mike Smith in a statement released by the team.  “We will look to utilize his tremendous amount of coaching experience for years to come.”

Before joining the Falcons staff, Musgrave was the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins in 2005. He has also served as an offensive coordinator on four occasions with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-04), Virginia Cavaliers (2001-02), Carolina Panthers (2000) and Philadelphia Eagles (1998). Musgrave started his NFL coaching career as a Quarterbacks Coach with the Oakland Raiders in 1997.

Musgrave, a fourth round choice by the Dallas Cowboys in 1991, played in the NFL for six years. He played in two Super Bowls, winning a title with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX.

(Musgrave is in a meeting right now. We’ll talk to him later today and update this post. —dol)

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95 comments Add your comment

Kurt

February 16th, 2010
11:56 am

Great move. Keeping the continuity of the coaching staff is huge.

mountain_jim

February 16th, 2010
11:58 am

Hopefully Mularkey feels some pressure to improve his scheme and play-calling as I would not mind seeing a new OC myself, and Musgrave has the experience.

Rev Blake

February 16th, 2010
11:59 am

I’m a little curious. Why would you choose to post a picture of Musgrave with a practice squad player and not with our starting quarterback?

Oh, and congratulations, Coach Musgrave!

Jim

February 16th, 2010
12:11 pm

Rev that `practice squad player` needs MUCH more coaching than Ryan. LOL

PMC

February 16th, 2010
12:21 pm

Outstanding. I’ve felt he was a great addition to the staff since before this group of coaches was here even. Congrats to Coach Musgrave on the promotion.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 16th, 2010
12:22 pm

Rev Blake: It was the first photo to come up from my media library. Will change it later.

O'Brien

February 16th, 2010
12:22 pm

Continuity on a coaching staff is very important, especially when a young QB is involved.

If Mike Mularkey gets another head coaching gig, I think Musgrave will be promoted to OC.

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
12:22 pm

Rev Blake, that’s probably because that “practice squad player” is actually the better QB, but simple salary cap, draft position, and football politics will not allow this to be exposed in true head-to-head competition. The “practice squad player” will eventually get a shot elsewhere and everyone will then see this “practice squad player” is very capable of quarterbacking an NFL franchise. Good luck to both the “current falcon QB” & the “practice squad player”….the Falcon’s have much ground to make-up on the NO Saints. Should anyone feel the need to start the negative critizism’s relative to my comment please take a deep breath & analyze w/o bias what has actually been said.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 16th, 2010
12:24 pm

Rev Blake: It was the first photo to come up from my media library. Will change it later.

Richard Bush: Quit trying to start a fight. It was the first one to come up in the media library.

singndablues

February 16th, 2010
12:30 pm

Bush – that’s probably because that “practice squad player” is actually the better QB.

You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts – there is no factual basis for your statement.

Chris Eagle

February 16th, 2010
12:34 pm

Stand your ground DOL… That practice squad player is on the team currently. There’s nothing controversial. If it were #7 though…

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
12:35 pm

Ledbetter, I do not do cyber fights or any fights for that matter, matter of fact I understood the first photo thing since you’ve previously used this photo after the “practice squad player” was cut & resigned”….Heck, why would the Rev even analyze the photo as he did, that should be the question. The comment was my opinion (so there’s no need to cowtow) and I went on to wish both player’s well in THEIR careers. I’m hoping for a Lombardi for this team regardless of whom the QB, Coach, or Owner is.

D-Bird

February 16th, 2010
12:39 pm

Bill Musgrave is no the answer to our 2010 season. We need Free Agency and Draft! Congrat’s on his promotion. Hopefully Matty Ice want be so cold this season.

P. Bull Terrier

February 16th, 2010
12:40 pm

Richard Bush: I’m a big DJ fan too, but I have to admit he was outplayed by the 3 QBs ahead of him. If he gets another shot this season, he needs to show he’s better than QB3 & QB2 before he has a chance to compete with QB1.

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
12:46 pm

singndablues & Chris Eagle, I concur w/ each of your comments in that there is not any factual basis for my comment & that the practice squad player is currently on the team. My comment was just that, an opinion & we all are entitled to those….I simply did not see the need to Rev Blake’s observation & comment. The “practice squad player” is darn capable & has been for sometime, he simply caught a bad break @ the most inopportune time with the torn ACL a couple of season’s ago, comes back & the organization has invested a top 10 pick in a QB, yet some feel the need to discredit “the practice squad player’s” abilities….it’s unfortunate.

Jeff

February 16th, 2010
12:49 pm

Hopefully, he can teach Matt Ryan how to throw the ball downfield rather than sideline to sideline…….

Retired on the lake

February 16th, 2010
12:49 pm

Richard Bush
February 16th, 2010
12:22 pm

Rev Blake, that’s probably because that “practice squad player” is actually the better QB.
time will tell whether your head is stuck somewhere the sun don’t shine. keep dreamin’ !

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
12:50 pm

I agree P. Bull Terrier, I’m sure rehabbing from that torn ACL takes a little something from a player @ least in the intern. So everyone critiquing the young man, should take that he was less than a year removed from major injury yet still able to compete. If someone can refute that as a possible disadvantage please have at it. I simply would like the young man to have a very, very legitimate shot be it with the Falcons or another NFL team.

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
12:52 pm

see what I mean, just read comments by bloggers such as “retired on the lake”

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 16th, 2010
12:53 pm

I’ll be talking to him later. Feel free to send along questions for the new “Assistant Head Coach.”

Richard Bush: I see that you come in peace! I was just looking for the best picture. Don’t have many of the laid back Musgrave.

Carl

February 16th, 2010
12:55 pm

Coach Musgrage should have been named the OC while they were at it. Mularkey’s play calling in key situations leaves a lot to be desired.

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
12:59 pm

I do indeed come in peace & with both subjective & objective football knowledge. Contrary to popular believe in this fan base its not always about internal conflict, which we seem to have perfected since April 2001. Heck, I just came frm the Superbowl; do any this bloggers have any idea how frustrating it is for the “Aints” to take those paper bags off their heads & twirl the parasols before we could win a Lomardi.

vladivostok

February 16th, 2010
12:59 pm

After all of Matty’s INT this past year, was this the best move????

Falcon66

February 16th, 2010
1:06 pm

Bush, you raised some interesting stuff. I disagree that the Falcons have a lot of ground to make up on NO. I think it was pretty amazing that we finished 9-7 despite so many injuries to key players. Even then, if our kicking game had been more consistent we still might have slipped into the play-offs. You have to credit the Saints for being champs, but a lot of things broke their way at the right time. For example remaining reasonably healthy, the Vikings meltdown…in a NFC title game how could you committ 5 turnovers and still almost win it, even both Falcon games could have went either way. To me there also seems to be something about NO that makes me think they are more of a one year wonder than anything else. I guess we’ll see.

P. Bull Terrier

February 16th, 2010
1:07 pm

Richard Bush: You may be right about the injury still being a factor last season. I was disappointed last pre-season that DJ didn’t look as good as the other 3 QBs. Obviously the Falcons still saw some potential or they wouldn’t have wasted a practice squad roster spot on him.

Hopefully this season we’ll all be impressed with how much Assistand Head Coach Musgrave has helped all four QBs improve. If nothing else, it would be great if we could develop QB3 & QB4 to the point we could trade them for something of greater value.

D. Orlando Ledbetter: Since DJ has a much larger fan following than most practice squad players, I’d like to hear (or read) Musgrave’s thoughts on DJ’s development and prospects for this season.

dawgs

February 16th, 2010
1:09 pm

when and where did he coach peyton?

C MR

February 16th, 2010
1:20 pm

Congrats Coach Musgrave.It is a shame you are not in the SEC,your salary would have doubled!

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
1:26 pm

@ Falcons66 – your assessment sound pretty accurate. I only said “alot of ground to makeup” because we both were @ the bottom so long & now we hold that distinction w/o their company. Heck, they can legitimately say we no longer legitimate rivals since they’re now World Champions.

@ D O Ledbetter – I second P Bull Terrier’s question to Musgrave. Being a local kid on both the HS & College level “the Practice Squad Player” has a substantial fan base in and around this city. Also another question for Musgrave – “Does he feel that having to come back from a major injury as DJ has, did that hamper his performance in the preseason last year”.

Skee

February 16th, 2010
1:39 pm

Great move, now let’s get Julius Peppers and win that Super Bowl trophy!

Yoda

February 16th, 2010
1:51 pm

Please…..do not sign PEPPERS…he plays when he wants + we already have a part time Left DE

INDIAN BIRD

February 16th, 2010
1:56 pm

If Matt Ryan had time like Peyton Manning or receivers that catch almost anything thrown there way like Brees, Ryan’ #’s would be a lot better. With Harry Douglas coming back so will the deep threat watch and see. No matter the #’s Ryan was better this year, his weapons were not, mostly due to injuries. With a healthy team this year it would shock me if he is not in the top 5 QB’s in most stats.

INDIAN BIRD

February 16th, 2010
1:59 pm

Give up on DJ it was clear to see J P Wilson was much better in his 1st preseason than DJ showed in 4 years.

Richard Bush

February 16th, 2010
2:14 pm

Indian Bird, you’re just to kind of person I was talking about. It’s obvious you do not know what the heck you’re talking about. You trying coming back from major knee surgery & competing @ your utmost potential in less than a year. Those things take time both mentally & physically. Nothing against Parker Wilson, but what did he show relative to what DJ did or did not show & heck he did not have to contend w/ coming back from major knee surgery (an injury that has ended many a career). Ask any athlete that’s had to deal with it what it’s like……DJ may or may not make it, my point is simply there are/have been some very serious variables affecting his career since he’s been in the league & they do not necessarily have to do w/ his QB abilities, but hey that’s the way the cookie crumbles……You almost got on my nerves, but I understand that some know not what they opinionate on……Have a good one.

falcon 71

February 16th, 2010
2:16 pm

What actually does an assistant head coach do. I thought he was the QB coach.
Does he now have other responsibilities or is this just a meaningless title?
Is he now involved with the defense as a head coach is?

Mave2124

February 16th, 2010
2:20 pm

Ask Musgrave if he sees screens coming into the passing attack this year.

TheManMike

February 16th, 2010
2:28 pm

D.O.L.
Please don’t waste a question asking about the FOURTH QB on the team. Ask about his philosophy on the changes he feels need to be made in this offseason for the Falcons to come back and have a stellar year. Playcalling, Scheme and Personel changes etc…Ask him how he invisions his upgraded status to help the team in 2010. Practice Squad questions are not important in February (If ever)…

Also – D.J. is not trade bait and never will be. Remember, he was cut and no team came knocking. Says a lot….

K-DAWG

February 16th, 2010
2:33 pm

THAT IS MATT RYAN in the photo

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

February 16th, 2010
2:34 pm

I don’t know how much clout Musgrave will have as the assistant head coach, but if he can light a fire under Mularkey, in terms of calling better plays and being more creative on offense, then……. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

INDIAN BIRD

February 16th, 2010
2:41 pm

R Bush , I just call them like I see em. Regardless of the reason, DJ is not A NFL caliber QB. I have watched him Since college and have never been impressed, If he wasn’t from UGA he wouldn’t be on the roster. Wait a minute he’s not on the roster anymore is he.

JabboRockefeller

February 16th, 2010
2:44 pm

Would an assistant HEAD coach have veto-power over decisions made by the OC? Ask Musgrave who the REAL OC is now. Like he’d answer that… lol

Paddy

February 16th, 2010
3:03 pm

I have come to the same conclusion as most; DJ is a great person who is not NFL calibre. Move on, next question.

Sam Houston

February 16th, 2010
3:05 pm

I wish the Falcons would make this past years throwback uniforms our PERMANENT uniforms. With all the piping and colors on our current uni’s, we look like a college/arena league team.

INDIAN BIRD

February 16th, 2010
3:18 pm

I think the current red home jersey’s are by far the best in the league. The throwbacks look like the browns home jersey.

Mr. Obvious

February 16th, 2010
3:33 pm

If Coach Musgrave had been suffering the misfortune of trying to teach/coach a lazy, “Special Needz” QB like #7 with the Falcons, he would have been scapegoated as a failure and fired already.

shmo

February 16th, 2010
3:42 pm

Is coach Musgrave the lord of musgrave manor?

Sly Ty

February 16th, 2010
3:44 pm

Mr.DOL, could you please ask the new Assistant Head Coach if he intends to be with the Falcons Organization for a very long time. It is important for our great young Quarterback to have stability with his coaching staff. I for one don’t want outsiders coming in trying to change what he does and screw up his development. Please ask Coach Musgraves if he intends to be with us for the long haul. Peyton Manning has been in the same system for around 10 years. Jason Campbell finally was in the same system for more than a year for the first time in the last 10 years. Campbell has struggled, Manning has flourished.

SirReal

February 16th, 2010
3:45 pm

I agree with Mountain Jim. Hopefully this puts pressure on Mularkey and his kindergarten schemes. I too wouldnt mind seeing a new OC and Musgrave definitely could fill the role. D Led, he’s been an OC before. What’s his philosophy?

Caz53

February 16th, 2010
3:55 pm

Always a good move to keep good coaches happy in an organization, especially when that coach has got the ear of your franchise! Quick comment on DJ. First- he’s not in the picture DOL used which shows Redman and Ryan (he’s the one with the pensive look…). Secondly, as a UGA grad and someone who always thought maybe the wrong QB got hurt when Greene and Shockley were competing for starting job back then, DJ’s been given ample opportunity here. Heck, the Falcons have kept him gainfully employed when no one else has wanted him. NFL is cut throat business, there are plenty of Kurt Warners out there that haven’t happened, maybe DJ is one of them, but more than likely he’s had his shot to impress at this level.

Rick

February 16th, 2010
4:11 pm

Could it be that all the fuss over one D.J. Shockley is simply because he is African-American…or is it because he is a Dawg?

I think even the most causual Dawg fan realizes that D.J. is irrelevant in the NFL.

Could it be that certain people’s biases are over-ruling their thought processes?

Troy Zimmerman

February 16th, 2010
4:13 pm

Bush, do not attempt to have these fans rationalize what you’re trying for them to see, most probably never picked up a football except in a tailgate parking lot. Shockley’s 1st year (’06) was behind Vick, 2nd (’07 torn ACL), 3rd (3rd string), 4th (he should have played a lot better, but didn’t). Maybe he gets a shot like Caz53 says ala Kurt Warner, but he has to be head & shoulder’s above the rest. I for one believe he can do it, very resilient kid. All of these guys talking about he’s not an NFL caliber QB would not know one if it tossed them a pass. Talking heads are too critical. I see that you would like for the kid to do well & there’s nothing wrong with that, as a UGA alum, lifelong Falcon fan, & former QB whose career was cut short by a blown ACL & MCL I’d like to see the same.