Atlanta Falcons to scout top 5 CBs at NFL combine

South Florida cornerback Jerome Murphy is Mike Mayock's 5th rated cornerback in the draft.

South Florida cornerback Jerome Murphy is Mike Mayock's 5th rated cornerback in the draft.

Heading into the NFL scouting combine, it is reasonable to conclude that the Falcons will take a cornerback with the 19th or 20th pick in the draft. (BTW: The coin toss is Friday.)

Which cornerback should the Falcons take with their first round draft pick?

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Several of you all want a pass rushing defensive end. Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham was the selection in Mock Draft 1.0 last Friday.

But there is some cornerback homework to complete.

Also, if the Falcons believe that better coverage would have given John Abraham that extra second to get to the

Perrish Cox has interviewed with the Falcons at the Senior Bowl and wants to come to Atlanta.

Perrish Cox interviewed with the Falcons at the Senior Bowl and wants to come to Atlanta.

quarterback, then they’ll settle for better coverage. Kroy Biermann flashed at times and if they believe that Lawrence Sidbury is ready to take off, then they’ll go cornerback.

I  asked Mike Mayock, who’s set to anchor part of the more than 30 hours of live coverage of the combine on the NFL Network,  about Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox on the conference call on Tuesday. He  offered up his top five corners. Here they are:

  1. Joe Haden, Florida: He’ll be long gone by the time the Falcons pick.
  2. Kyle Wilson, Boise State: It looked like he was headed to Atlanta during the Senior Bowl. But his stock is rising.
  3. Devin McCourty, Rutgers: He’s been working out in Naples, Fla. Has turned in some sub 4.4 times in the 40-yard dash. His twin brother Jason was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round last season. Mayock likes the toughness he displayed at the Senior Bowl.
  4. Patrick Robinson, Florida State: Athletically, he’ll test out as the best cornerback. Teams don’t like his film, which shows his lack of tackling prowess. “He’s not a trained killer,” Mayock said. Clearly, not a Mike Smith type of guy.  You’re probably safe in scratching off  your list.
  5. Jerome Murphy, South Florida: This kid is pretty interesting. He’s big at 6-1, 195 and he’s got the cool name, Jerome! Mayock was going nuts about his physical nature and how he tangles up wide receivers in press coverage. Played in 52 games over his career.

COMBINE WORKOUT SCHEDULE: The following is the scouting combine workout schedule at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Players start arriving for physicals, team and media interviews today and Thursday.):

Friday, February 26 – Kickers, punters, special teams

Saturday, February 27 – Offensive linemen, tight ends

Sunday, February 28 – Quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs

Monday, March 1 – Defensive linemen, linebackers

Tuesday, March 2 – Defensive backs

FALCONS IN THE COMMUNITY

Falcons owner Arthur Blank welcomes rookie safety William Moore.  (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

Falcons owner Arthur Blank welcomes rookie safety William Moore. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

MOORE AND SIDBURY TO VISIT COAN:  Falcons William Moore and Lawrence Sidbury, along with Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders will participate in the Sammye E. Coan Middle School Black History Month Celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The players and cheerleaders will serve as hosts of the Quiz Bowl which consists of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students competing for the crown of Quiz Bowl Champion by answering various black history questions.

REYNOLDS TO VISIT CANCER PATIENTS: Offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds and his teammates will be visiting with cancer patients at the Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The players will be joined by Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders and will participate in video and board games.

BACK TO THE COMBINE

MORE PLAYERS TO WATCH – SOME RADAR LOVE

LSU's Rahim Alem's stats dropped in a scheme that called for him to drop into coverage more last season.

LSU's Rahim Alem's stats dropped in a scheme that called for him to drop into coverage more last season.

We gave you the Small School list of 10 players to watch earlier in the week. Here are 10 more “under the radar” players to watch:

  1. Rahim Alem, DE, LSU: An underrated pass rusher. LSU had him dropping into coverage a lot last season. One NFL team has a third round grade on him.
  2. Brandon Lang, DE, Troy: Appeared to be headed to the University of Georgia at one point. But the Tucker
    Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech.

    Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech.

    High product ended up at Troy. It’s a deep draft at his position. Had 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

  3. Cameron Sheffield, DE, Troy: From Portal High. Had 10.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks for the Trojans.
  4. Cody Grimm, LB, Virginia Tech: The son of Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm. The former walk-on turned into a solid player.
  5. Max Hall, QB, Brigham Young: Nephew of former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Danny White.
  6. Verran Tucker, WR, California: A big receiver at 6-2, 195 with good speed. Needs some polish with his route running, but turned some heads at the Shrine Bowl before going down with a hamstring injury.
  7. Marshall Newhouse, OL, Texas Christian: Nephew of former Dallas Cowboys fullback Robert Newhouse. His dad, John Newhouse played at Houston on three Cotton Bowl teams in 1977, 1979 and 1980.
  8. Colin Peek, TE, Alabama: Transferred from Georgia Tech after Paul Johnson arrived with the option-attack.
  9. John Jerry, OL, Mississippi: The brother of Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry.
  10. John Skelton, QB, Fordham:  He’s huge at 6-5, 258 pounds. Passed for a school-record, 3,708 yards last season.

57 comments Add your comment

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

February 24th, 2010
7:52 am

SimpleDawg

February 24th, 2010
8:02 am

A strong pass rush makes the secondary look much better…..anyone can get open, given enough time.

Having your best players closest to the ball wins more consistently than having perimeter players being your best players.

Especially on defense.

willie

February 24th, 2010
8:22 am

Great stuff…keep it coming! Corner, DE or playmaking OLB….any of those work for me!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 24th, 2010
8:32 am

It’s a passing league, that’s why you need tighter coverage. Don’t think you can sit back in Cover Two exclusively anymore. Got to stay on those receivers, slap ‘em around early and jump a route (Tracy Porter in Super Bowl) from time to time.

BANK WALKER, TEXAS RANGER: Love your work. That’s a great show. How is it to work with Chuck Norris? Love that dude. Noted your DE preference.

SIMPLEDAWG
: I concur. I think Sidbury has a huge upside. Sugar Bear has to get him moving. He could be a stud.

WILLIE: THANKS. TD will take the best one at 19 or 20. Draft is deep at DE and CB.

azzhatt

February 24th, 2010
8:35 am

Any way to blow it up and move up for Haden? I know it is aggresive, but any possibility?

Stirg d'Nahsif

February 24th, 2010
8:40 am

Very good work, D.O.! I remember, last year, when your writings put us smack dab in the middle of the combine. Appreiciate it…keep it coming!

So, what did Mike Mayock ever say about Parrish Cox? What’s the buzz on A.O.A.? The list of draftees that Mayock mentioned, all appeared to be 2nd-4th rounders (including A.O.A.). Why suggest that we’ll pick a corner at 19 (or 20)? Wouldn’t it be logical to address a greater need (like linebacker or offensive lineman) and pick up a corner in later rounds? That’ll kill two birds with one stone. From that list, besides Haden, which corner can start before our starting corners?

Smyrna Jacket

February 24th, 2010
8:41 am

I would consider Troy “small school” if that’s the way you classiy UCF.

Anyway, move Babs to DE and draft Mount Cody.

Get rid of the Arena League uniforms.

azzhatt

February 24th, 2010
8:48 am

It seems corners and OL are your best bet with 1st rounders; WR are too prima donna and DL are hit and miss. Besides, you can make a QB or RB look real good with an all pro OL and blitz heavily with a couple of shutdown corners.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

February 24th, 2010
9:17 am

Good Stuff DOL- no question, Falcons need a DB!! Pick up a DT/DE with free agency or via trade. Spend the 1rst round $$ for a solid CB and just pray he’s not injury prone like last year’s picks!!

McBubba

February 24th, 2010
9:40 am

Nookah

February 24th, 2010
9:42 am

DOL, great stuff.

I guess it depends on how you look at it. Is it that you need to have better coverage to give the DE’s more time to get to the QB, or is it that you need a better pass rush/DL pressure to get to the QB so he has less time to pick out his receivers giving the secondary less to do?

Personally I’d get me a good LB with my first pick. I think a decent CB can be had in the later rounds. Furthermore, if we pick CB at #19/20, will he be able to start over the CB’s we currently have? I don’t think so. I need a starter at #19/20 and I think you can get that with picking a LB whether OLB or WLB.

Stirg, whatup?

Go Falcons!!!

DDawgDavis

February 24th, 2010
9:43 am

DE- Edwards out of Michigan is another Lamar Woodley.

I am leary of CBs outside of Haden, Wilson, Cox

I am glad that you are uncovering more names for us, like Jerome Murphy. I am still sold on getting a quality, football player at the 19th pick. I like the idea of Dunlap, Edwards, Mays, etc. and signing a seasoned CB/DB. Leigh Bodden will be expensive, but worth the risk. Dre Bly could be another Darren Sharper. Draft later round DBs (over 6′0), depth. I really trust Dimitroff’s scouting ability, so I think we are in good hands (minus the Moore experiment).

MSS

February 24th, 2010
9:48 am

get DE BRANDON GRAHAM!!!!!

#1 Falcon Fan

February 24th, 2010
9:58 am

Great article and if u believe that better pass coverage would have given Abraham more time to sack the QB..then how about this scenerio..Drop the 1st round bust Jamaal Anderson, sign Julius Peppers, and then select a CB with the 1st pick. Now you have 2 great pass rushers and that will help out your young secondary. Sign Peppers and draft the best CB available with the 19th or 20th pick!

JJ

February 24th, 2010
10:04 am

Stirg, Nookah- the Spoon express is picking up steam. I bet DLed will jump on with his last mock. Completely agree with better pass rush/pressure making our CB’s better. After Haden, there are no CB worth 19/20 pick. Falcons WLB NFL ranking: 103 out of 109, clearly our weakest link.

mark

February 24th, 2010
10:06 am

I still think if the draft is that deep at DE and CB, TRADE DOWN a few spots, pick up a second round pick and still land a LB, CB, DE, OL or TE in the mid 20’s of the first.

Michael

February 24th, 2010
10:08 am

Here are my preliminary choices to take a serious look at for the Birds in the 2010 NFL Draft! What do you think ladies & gents & DOL?

1. Sergio Kindle – WOLB
2. Terrence Cody – DT (Trade up to get him)
3. Eric Norwood – SOLB
3. Brandon Lang – DE
4. Kam Chancellor – S
4. Dennis Pitta – TE
5. Donovan Warren – CB
6. Pat Paschall – RB
7. Jared Veldheer – OL

Michael

February 24th, 2010
10:09 am

OOPS! I forgot to add Freddie Barnes – WR; and acquire Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall via Free Agency or trade!

Marcus

February 24th, 2010
10:16 am

OLB or CB in 1st round … get sleeper DE in 3rd round.

ATLPRINCE

February 24th, 2010
10:18 am

Look, Peppers is a Free Agent now. Let’s go ahead and pick him up (he’s only 30, he will have another 5 years at least and he is a “Beast”). Then you have Abe, Peppers, and the young guys to spell them, Sidbury and Kroy. Then if Peria comes back healthy with our other DL men, we have a GREAT pass rush! Then you can focus all our attention on shutdown corners. Once we have strong corners, then we become a defense noone wants to play against.

I have been a Falcon Fan for 41 years, I played football, and if we make these moves, we will get to the second round in the playoffs at the very least next year, barring any injuries. Let’s go Dimitroff and Smitty, do the right thing guys!

GO BIRDS!

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

February 24th, 2010
10:19 am

Thanks OL and I like your work as well. Keep it going, it will really heat up with the combine coming. I would prefer either Graham, Dunlap or Lang unless we could possibly get a stud DT which would be just as good. I am a little intrigued by the possibility of Spiller.

What are the odds of getting a supplemental pick in the 2nd? I just don’t see a 1st round CD dropping to the Falcons.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

February 24th, 2010
10:20 am

CB sorry, plenty of good cd’s for us though.

blindog

February 24th, 2010
10:20 am

Ok Mr. Ledbetter,if it was up to you,who would be the Falcons first pick?

dawgs

February 24th, 2010
10:29 am

i don’t understand what’s so cool about jerome murphy’s name

DDawgDavis

February 24th, 2010
10:30 am

Great point on Freddie Barnes!

Michael

February 24th, 2010
10:34 am

If we choose Kindle & Norwood as LB’s, then that would be the fastest LB’ing corps the Falcons have ever had! Brandon Lang at DE hopefully would give us the next DeMarcus Ware, (don’t laugh…they come from the same school at Troy), plus Brandon has the same makeup as Carlos Dunlap but without the issues! Kam Chancellor at SS because we still don’t know what will happen with William Moore, plus this would also be a first for the Falcons in that this would give the Birds another 6′3 …230lb safety that can play both Free Safety and Strong Safety. Terrence Cody obviously for his run blocking process, and along side of Peria Jerry would be very formidable, and on passing downs, take Cody out, and bring in Babs! Dennis Pitta from BYU as an under study to Tony Gonzalez since we would only have him for maybe one season! Trade for / or acquire via Free Agency Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall to compliment Roddy because we have to make DB’s on opposing teams respect the other side of the field. Donovan Warren at CB has the same physical makeup as Darrelle Revis, and is just as physical out of University of Michican. Pat Paschall is a speed back that can also catch passes out of the back field, and is about 5′10 and 200 pounds. Jared Veldheer would be the project at OL, but at 6′7…315 lbs. and quick feet, how could you NOT take the chance?

Michael

February 24th, 2010
10:36 am

Don’t know why I keep 4getting about Freddie Barnes, but he would be an excellent choice as an additional WR, plus he can return kicks and punt returns!

Cowboys

February 24th, 2010
10:49 am

The jets are a prime example of havING good DB’S allows you to bring extra guys at the QB which will cause pressure and turnovers so get a shut down corner Antron Rolle maybe availabe those small corner’s ATL got are to little

eddiekang48

February 24th, 2010
10:58 am

You wanna know the real reason why the Falcon’s have gotten it wrong in the secondary it’s because they haven’t gone to a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) to select a DB. Before you open your mouth look at the success that the one’s that are in the NFL do have and what impact they cause. examples, Rashaan Mathis,Antoine Bethea,Rodgers Cromartie, Nick Harper, Nick Collins, and Frank Walker. All of the db’s out the schools and conferences that you guys love to watch on Saturdays have come to the Falcons and done virtually nothing. The best DB on the list above is the kid from USF, and I’ll still take a kid from a HBCU over him. Of course they won’t get a fair shake because it’s not mainstream and it won’t sell tickets, but when they get in and tear it up then the questions start.

Delbert D.

February 24th, 2010
11:08 am

Patrick Robinson wasn’t the best DB in FSU’s horrible secondary. All those replays in several games where no receiver was covered. Better keep Kroy Biermann, he can play. Lawrence Sidbury, not too sure about him. Don’t waste a pick on another 5′10″ mini-CB, no matter what. Plus, the learning curve for CBs is about 3 years.

Pete

February 24th, 2010
11:32 am

I trust Thomas Dimitroff.
End of story.

willie

February 24th, 2010
11:44 am

The more I think about it, I also like the idea of trading down some if we can get an additional pick. With the defensive draft being this deep, I think grabbing a 2nd rounder or extra 3rd rounder for sliding back some would be wise….particularly if we are thinking CB with 1st pick.

willie

February 24th, 2010
11:54 am

eddiekang48, I disagree. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was drafted 16th overall and he went to Tennessee State. If you are a player, they will find you these days no matter where you go to college.

ddddd

February 24th, 2010
12:02 pm

The Real Falcon

February 24th, 2010
12:04 pm

You play defense from the DL line back, not vice versa. Free agency should be where we look for an experienced shutdown corner. Draft a pass rushing DE in the 1st round!

The Real Falcon

February 24th, 2010
12:09 pm

D. Orlando Ledbetter

It’s a passing league, that’s why you need tighter coverage. Don’t think you can sit back in Cover Two exclusively anymore. Got to stay on those receivers, slap ‘em around early and jump a route (Tracy Porter in Super Bowl) from time to time.

That will not come from a rookie CB. Houston was supposed to be this great press corner in college. How’s that working out for us? But you can get DE to come in and rush the QB. That’s how championship defenses are built. (See 2000 Ravens). A QB can’t complete a pass from his back.

Hornet04

February 24th, 2010
12:10 pm

GET A DE OR LB then take UK’S TREVARD LINDLEY A CLASSMATE OF MINE AT HIRAM IN 2004!!!!!

Stirg d'Nahsif

February 24th, 2010
12:35 pm

What it is, Nookah, JJ? Its heating up; we’re approaching the signings, recruiting and releases. Get your think caps out, buddy. Its going to be a doozy…

Names I like: Dexter McCluster, Sean ’spoon, Joique Bell, LeRoy Vann (KR/PR ace), Donovan Warren and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (which means “born on Sunday”).

Paddy O

February 24th, 2010
1:03 pm

I say again: Development logistics:
defensive line, corners, linebackers & safety. If our deline was logging 3 sacks a game, we are OK. If our corners are averaging 1.5 interceptions a game, we are great. If our linebackers are creating 1-1.5 fumbles per game, we are the 85 bears. One safety needs to Jack Tatum. The other Sharper. Either the line or linebacker hybrid must get consistent (more than 2 plays every four downs) pressure. If they run off our pressure (like New Orleans did to Freeney in the second half of the SB), our linebacker MUST have discipline and fill the gaps. Our safeties can NOT be making run tackles.

Paddy O

February 24th, 2010
1:05 pm

i would rather agree with cb development, 2 or 3 years prior to you knowing what you got – that indicates free agency would be the property route. Isn’t sharper available?

tyger

February 24th, 2010
3:12 pm

Falcoons need help everywhere…

1. Without compensatory picks hard to say…
2. Not blown away by 1st round this year…
3. Would love a 2nd rd. pick…
4. Falcoons have depth, need star power…
5. Moore, Jerry, Reynolds, Owens in place…
6. Bierrman, Sidbury not starters yet…
7. Trent Williams OL Oklahoma …
8. Terrence Cody, DL, Alabama …
9. Patrick Robinson, CB, FSU … don’t believe the hype, Dion-ish.
10. Golden Tate, WR, ND … pure receiver

Smyrna Jacket

February 24th, 2010
3:51 pm

I trust Dimitrof, but the Middleton pick last year was odd.

Draft Cody, and get rid of the arena league unis.

Big Ray

February 24th, 2010
5:04 pm

D. Ledbetter ,

Nice blog!

Still not feeling a CB in the first round…but if TD picks one, I trust him. Dude is a bonafide CB snob, so he’s gonna do the do….

Pick will be need and value based. If he sees a OLB that has more value (and it’s a need for us, believe it) than a DE, he’ll take that LB. If he sees a DE or even a DT that has more value, he’ll go that route.

Why a DT? Because Jamal has probably seen his last days here, Jerry may turn out to be as injury prone as Trey Lewis has in his first two years, and though Vance Walker and Thomas Johnson are decent players, Babineaux is the only good DT we have.

And forget “Mount Cody.” TD and MS want URGENCY. Only so much urgency you can get out of a guy who has never gotten under 365 pounds, unless you float a Porterhouse steak in front of him on every play (make that 2 or 3 steaks).

Steve C

February 24th, 2010
5:46 pm

Agree with Smyrna Jacket, ditch the bush league uniforms. They’re awful, and truth be told were crafted to match the style of the team and coach, etc. at the time. Let’s bring back some version of the 1967-71 unis.

alanfalcon

February 24th, 2010
5:52 pm

Mount Cody, undisciplined just like Andre Smith, why in the world would you want this fat boy.

J.J.M.

February 24th, 2010
7:03 pm

sign dante robinson

ryan

February 24th, 2010
7:29 pm

Here is an idea how about getting Texans CB Duanta Robinson and then draft Brandon Graham or Spikes .

mgdawg

February 24th, 2010
8:43 pm

I don’t know off the top of my head, but how many first round picks have been used on Dline recently for the Falcons? I know anderson and jerry, was anderson traded for with a first round pick? I can’t remember. Anyways, the falcons either need to bring in a good veteran CB or draft a CB high, from the descriptions I like the way jerome murphy sounds the best (other then hayden but there is no way that happens).

If the falcons could pick anyone in the draft, I would love to see eric berry. Van gorder was known for his hard hitting safeties with big play potential at UGA, I would love to see that. I know it will never happen, but I can dream.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 24th, 2010
8:58 pm

Hey y’all, made it to Indy! Will hit the ground running in the morning.

Just a couple of things:
1. Forget about Sergio Kindle. He will be long gone by the time the Falcons select.
2. Forget about Julius Peppers, cost too much and his inconsistency should scare you. Chicago is the early leader, but if Peppers’ price tag is too high they can go after Aaron Kampman. He won’t get anything near the $16 million he received last season.

DAWGS: Guess you didn’t see Purple Rain? The valet named “Jerome” for Morris Day was uber cool.

BANK WALKER, TEXAS RANGER: You’re a legend!!! The Falcons think they are getting at least a 3 (Foxworth) and a 4 (Brooking). They could get more depending on how the complicated formula spits out the Boley and Big Grady free agent signings.

BIG RAY and THE REAL FALCON: Thanks Big Ray. ABE, The Beer Man and Sidbury will have more time to get to the quarterback when receivers are not streaming down the field WIDE OPEN. (Go watch Jason Campbell and my man Sherm Lewis quick game the secondary in the Redskins tape in the second half.) You go DB if you think ABE has some gas left in the tank and if Sidbury is going to take a major step forward. Maybe, throw ABE a little more cash to get him fired up. 10
sacks = extra 4 or 5 million or something.

About to find some fine dining out here near the Airport (White Castles or some other bad fast food joint) and then shut it down for the evening. Have to be at Lucas Oil at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Ken Strickland

February 24th, 2010
11:51 pm

It’s truely amazing how certain fans go ape as soon as they hear the name of a player they recognize becoming available. They immediately start campaigning for us to sign him without knowing anything about the player, other than his name, position and/or team he played for. First, it was CB ACromartie, and now it’s CB Danta Robinson.

Stop being so doggone lazy and do a little research before you start jumping on these bandwagons? Consider the following comparison and tell me which player you’d think has done better. BGRIMES/DROBINSON:

TOTAL TACKLES-66/64, PASSES DEFENDED-13/9 INTERCEPTIONS-6/0. DRobinson started all 16gms while BGrimes started only 7-8gms. Also, DRobinson has registered a total of 7 INT’s over the last 5yrs, while BGrimes had 6 INT’s last yr alone in limited time as a starter.

KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW, IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE STUPID ENOUGH TO SUGGEST WE REPLACE BGRIMES WITH DROBINSON?

WILLIE-excellent comments. When DRevis entered the draft, he was hailed as the best pure CB to come out of college in the last 10-12yrs, and he hasn’t disappointed one bit. By the same token, there were a lot of fans and so called experts who had a lot of the same reservations about Dominique-Rogers Cromartie, especially since he played at Tenn State.

Well, look at how that turned out. DRevis has been in the NFL 3yrs to Cromartie’s 2, and here are their stats over the last 2yrs:

REVIS/CROMARTIE

08 TOTAL TACKLES-58/42, PASSES DEF-16/19, INT-5/4
09 TOTAL TACKLES-54/50, PASSES DEF-31/25, INT-6/6

This proves it is possible to get a shutdown CB that can start and produce immediately, and that’s not hyped or didn’t play at a major univ.