Florida CB Joe Haden could slide to Falcons at 19

Alabama running back Trent Richardson eludes the tackle of Florida cornerback Joe Haden in the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome on December 5, 2009.  The Falcons new secondary coach Tim Lewis would have to teach Haden how to Hit-Wrap-and-Lift. None of this arm tackling.  (Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com)

Alabama running back Trent Richardson eludes the tackle of Florida cornerback Joe Haden in the SEC Championship at the Georgia Dome on December 5, 2009. New secondary coach Tim Lewis would have to teach Haden how to Hit-Wrap-and-Lift. None of this arm tackling. (Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com)

COMBINEVILLE – The NFL scouting combine is over and it’s time to digest all of the information.The really hard work leading up to the draft starts now.

One head coach told me that teams know who can play football by the time they arrive at the combine.

The coaches really need the interviews to determine if they want the players in their locker rooms.

The interviews and medical information are much more important than the 40-yard dash times to most coaches.

But there is one little combine fact that I can’t get out of my head.

Why were the Atlanta Falcons first in line to interview Florida cornerback Joe Haden? Most of the pre-combine

How would the massive CB Chris Cook look matched-up in man-to-man coverage against the New Orleans Saints' Marques Colston?

How would the massive CB Chris Cook look matched-up in man-to-man coverage against the New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston?

information had Haden going much higher than 19. Most had him rated as the top cornerback in the draft and we had him going No. 8 to Oakland in Mock Draft 1.0.

In the Pro Football Weekly 2010 Draft Guide, they have Haden landing in Flowery Branch with the 19th pick.

Haden ran 4.57 and 4.6 in the 40-yard dash and could be dropping out of the top 10. But will he slide all the way to 19?

Here are the top 40-yard times of the cornerbacks who ran at the combine: Wake Forest’s Brandon Ghee (4.45), Virginia’s Chris Cook (4.46), Indiana-Pennsylvania’s Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (4.47), Purdue’s David Pender (4.47), Rutgers’ Devin McCourty (4.48), Kevin Thomas (4.48) and Alabama’s Kareem Jackson (4.48). (Source: NFL.com).

If the Falcons want bigger corners, Haden, at 5-10 ½ and 190 pounds, doesn’t fit the prototype of a big corner – 6-2, 210.

Keep an eye on Virginia’s Cook because he’s 6-1 ¾ and 212 pounds and Indiana-Pennsylvania’s Owusu-Ansah, 6-foot-5/8 and 197 pounds. Pender is no smurf at 6-0, 174.

If Haden slides to 19, should the Falcons take him?

COMBINE INTEL: Got this intel from the last day of the combine: “Falcons are looking hard at offensive linemen. DBs are the main focus, though. They also love LB Sean Weatherspoon.”

AT THE POLLS

Sean Weatherspoon wants to be Thomas Dimitroff's third consecutive high defensvie pick from the Big 12. (Photo by Parker Eshelman)

Sean Weatherspoon wants to be Thomas Dimitroff's third consecutive high defensive pick from the Big 12. (Photo by Parker Eshelman)

Last week, we asked: “Which cornerback should the Falcons take with their first round draft pick? Here are the results.

  • None of the above, take a defensive end or linebacker. (39%, 223 Votes)
  • Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State (25%, 141 Votes)
  • Jerome Murphy, South Florida (19%, 107 Votes)
  • Patrick Robinson, Florida State (14%, 78 Votes)
  • Devin McCourty, Rutgers (3%, 19 Votes)

FOLLOWING BIERMANN

Falcons defensive end # 71 Kroy Biermann got a chance to perform kickoffs with injuries to the Falcons normal specialists. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons defensive end # 71 Kroy Biermann got a chance to perform kickoffs with injuries to the Falcons normal specialists. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Defensive end Kroy Biermann is giving fans a behind the scenes look by sharing exclusive video on his Facebook and Twitter pages. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/biermann71 and twitter.com/KroyBiermann.

You can follow the Falcons Beat and Falcons Fan blogs on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

154 comments Add your comment

Blue Fender

March 3rd, 2010
8:00 am

Uh-oh. Could it be??

BP

March 3rd, 2010
8:03 am

Blue Fender

March 3rd, 2010
8:04 am

Anyway…

If Hayden falls, is it solely because of his relatively slow 40? we all know if he’s still on the board and Oakland picks, he’s safe. However, if his true game speed is better than the others mentioned, then let’s get him.

Vinny D

March 3rd, 2010
8:06 am

What a silly question. As much as I hate UF (lived in Gainesville the last 4 years), I would most certainly take Haden with the 19th pick. In fact, If he was sitting around a few picks before that, I would make a deal to trade up. The dude can play, thats all there is to it. If I remember correctly, Percy didn’t have a crazy fast 40 time. Anquan Boldin years ago had a PEDESTRIAN 40 time. Some players get faster in pads. Plus, I watched Haden’s 40 and his technique out of the gate is bad. If he is there at 12, trade up and take him. By the way, I STILL HATE the Gaytors but Haden can play.

Blue Fender

March 3rd, 2010
8:06 am

Personally I think TD is taking a LB first. He may try to trade up to the second round to get one of these CBs since all the comp. picks will make up for any picks traded away. Who knows, maybe he could trade away some dead weight and get picks.

Time will tell.

Halsey

March 3rd, 2010
8:07 am

Everyone seems to take it for granted that Haden is a top CB prospect, but I wonder if he’s really as good a prospect as the majority thinks. He played behind a very good front 7 at UF.

Walker, Texas Ranger f.k.a. Bank

March 3rd, 2010
8:08 am

Witherspoon or Haden. Those other guys may be bigger or faster but can’t cover like Haden.

GT GRAD

March 3rd, 2010
8:10 am

Slow and/or small corners get beat way too often in the NFL…………………..we have many needs and there are better players (who do not have ????) that we should draft at #19. Falcons should not be taking chances on players with ????? in the first round!

Vinny D

March 3rd, 2010
8:15 am

I mentioned Percy didn’t have a crazy fast 40. I was comparing that to the 40 that UF says he runs which is a 4.28 http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/blog/dr_saturday/post/Haden-Mays-reminds-us-again-to-beware-the-cult-?urn=ncaaf,225322 I have seen that board, its a good recruiting ploy.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 3rd, 2010
8:22 am

I don’t like his tackling form in the photo. He’s up to high and getting ready to get the stiff arm! He should be bending his back and exploding into Richardson’s hips with hit-wrap-and-lift form tackle.

I always thought that if you are a small corner — I’m thinking Darrell Green was the best ever — that you have to be super fast. That 4.57 is scary slow for a CB. I wonder if he was running on a bad hammy or something.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 3rd, 2010
8:30 am

Congrats Blue Fender!!!

come on

March 3rd, 2010
8:31 am

who cares what his 40 is clocked at. look at game film. the film shows he can play, and that is all that matters. jerry rice was clocked at like a 4.6 or 4.7. it does not matter how fast u run in shorts and a tshirt, it matters if u can still run that fast with pads on

jpage327

March 3rd, 2010
8:36 am

We already have 6 defensive backs and a new secondary coach. We won’t spend a first round on another. With the right training, they cover pretty well.

We need a pass rush, so thinking Weatherspoon or Kindle. We can trade up to secong round for OT. Then get a WR/TE in the third.

Looking forward to the draft though!

Elliot Garcia

March 3rd, 2010
8:39 am

The Gators hate you too, Vinny D!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 3rd, 2010
8:45 am

jpage327: Kindle is long gone by 19. How did those six DBs play last year? They are part of the 28th ranked passing defense. Improvements will not enough if there is a talent issue.

Vinny doesn’t “hate” the Gators. He just doesn’t like them very much. “Hate” is such a strong word. Let’s not get into a Gator dust up. Haden to the Falcons? Buy or sell?

blindog

March 3rd, 2010
8:51 am

With a better pass rush,the cornerbacks we have now will be much better!We need someone who will be in the QB’s face every play!And NO that player is not Peppers!!

DC Dirty Bird

March 3rd, 2010
8:56 am

Did DLed just type cast a player based on a photo? Wow. If Haden and Weatherspoon are there at 19, we’re in a can’t lose situation. However, we absolutely cannot go into the next season with the same CB on our roster. Anybody see the SD preseason game when our first teamers got annihilated by the big SD receivers. We can’t “if” our SB chances away by continually gambling on if a player gets better. Thats not the way the teams that have won the big dance have done it, why should we.

**Frederick(Bailey)Douglass**

March 3rd, 2010
9:02 am

At 4.6 in the 40, why would the Birds want a small corner? Isn’t that the point of having small corners like Darrell Green or Brent Grimes…that they are speed demons that can run down the ball? WHY WOULD WE DRAFT A SMALL, INEXPERIENCED, SLOW CB WITH OUR FIRST ROUND PICK????

Remember the formula DOL:

Young Athletic Defensive Lineman and DEs + Mix of young and experienced LBs + Veteran Defensive Backs = Solid Team Defense

blord

March 3rd, 2010
9:03 am

When looking at a corner you also have to look at reaction time. From my understanding at the combine the NFL starts the official time from the first movement of the player running which is different then from a gunshot start. It makes certain players look better that run fast in a straight line; however, if that same player doesn’t have a fast reaction time then they will still get beat consistantly. Reaction is huge for a corner!
If there at 19 I think I would have to consider him depending on what else is on the board. TD will do the work to make sure this guy has the skills to be productive.

willdave

March 3rd, 2010
9:03 am

I don’t know about taking Haden in the first round. If the goal is to take a bigger CB, I don’t think Joe would fit the bill. Moreover, I would be concerned about a potential draft pick whose ranking had fallen so significantly among expert observers. Do we know why?

Blue Fender

March 3rd, 2010
9:10 am

Let’s hope the Falcons get someone who can play right away. While Owens looked good at the end of the season, he took most of the season to get his game. Grimes will make an excelent nickel corner. What is needed is a physical CB with speed that can swivel his neck so he can look for the ball. Simple…

matt r

March 3rd, 2010
9:10 am

D-Led, you gotta put the http:// on your links

John

March 3rd, 2010
9:10 am

Haden is a lock down corner, period. He’s a legit 4.4 guy and two runs in the combine should not scare anyone away. Look at his three years a Florida and he had no problems with on the field speed against the best WR’s in the SEC. The comment about the front seven is inaccurate. Although Florida’s front seven has been stout their QB pressures are average. He’s a stud and the Falcon’s should lock him up!

nes

March 3rd, 2010
9:10 am

i am sick of hearing about defensive cornerbacks! if T.D. is such a great talent picker how in the world did he let two rookie starting cornerbacks from last year’s draft fall thru his lap without drafting either one? i’m talking Vontae Davis and Sean Smith both have size and speed! Wouldn’t even have to trade up to get them, fell right in the falcons draft slots. just had to let you readers know! we need a super fast outside linebacker who can rush and cover!

DC Dirty Bird

March 3rd, 2010
9:16 am

Fred Douglas/willdave, Joe Haden is not a small corner. If a 6 foot corner is considered big, how could a corner 1.5 inches shorter be considered small? He’s actually an average height for corners. Our corners are around 5′-8″. They are small. Darrell Green was 5-8. Teams that allow the combine to dictate how they draft are doomed to fail. Chris Johnson’s 40 time didn’t get him drafted. It got him drafted a few slots higher because the Titans didn’t want to lose him since they had a low 2nd round pick that year. At the end of the day, Joe Haden will not be around at 19, lets just pray that Weatherspoon is.

SirReal

March 3rd, 2010
9:32 am

D Led, do you really think the Birds need to draft a corner. I like what I saw from the secondary late in the season (when Houston was injured the secondary got better). I think pass rush needs to be addressed first if they want to compete defensively.

DDawgDavis

March 3rd, 2010
9:34 am

TAYLOR MAYS: Let’s abandon the William Moore experiment and bring in a Brian Dawkins-esque Safety. Good pairing of DeCoud who could be a Ed Reed-esque Safety. I don’t have time to present numbers or validate my outlandish name comparisons, but I had to put some names for you mouth breathers to recognize.

Get a late round 6′0 plus DB, then fill the rest of the roster with quality players. But I do trust Dimitroff and Smitty way more than my judgment and even more than what I see on here. Go Birds!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

March 3rd, 2010
9:41 am

SELL DOL!!! Falcons need CBs who are at least 6ft- just watch the tapes from last year. Re-sign Williams, put Moore back in there after injury (he’s a CB, right?) and try to sign Dunta Robinson.
DOL- do you have the heights for all the “top” DBs in the draft? What about the kid from Boise?

blindog

March 3rd, 2010
9:42 am

D-Led,you tell them,they are not paying attenion to me….BETTER PASS RUSH=BETTER PASS DEFENCE !!

Nique

March 3rd, 2010
9:45 am

Sell, they’re is no way he drops from no question top 10 all the way to 19, I agree that he could drop some but there is no way he drops past 15, to grab him i agree that we’d have to trade up a little bit & that’s the ? to ask, if he’s there at 13-16, are we willing to go up & get him?
& D come on, who couldn’t you find one picture of over the course of their career where they had bad tackling form? Haden is a very willing & able tackler in run support & is a cover corner. This 4o crap is being way overblown & he he’ll come back at his proday & run a sub 4.5 & everyone will be ok again. If we get a Gator at 19 it will have to be Dunlap, which I am surprised that I have not heard more rumors about & i don’t want to heard it’s only because of character issues bc we are obviously interested in Weatherspoon. Dunlap is a player & is the best pure DE in the draft, while he hasn’t shown as well as Graham lately, i will admit, I still wonder if Haden & Graham are off the board, which i am expecting, & just for the sake of argument, Weatherspoon as well, do we take Dunlap & if not, why?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 3rd, 2010
10:01 am

DC Dirty Bird: Bad photo. Poor form. He’s too little to come in that high. Needs to be waist high. HIT-WRAP-AND-LIFT = FORM TACKLE. He’s clearly trying to “Grab” and not “Hit” Richardson.

Matt R: Fixed the twitter and facebook links. PFW link seemed fine. THANKS!

SirReal: The young DBs looked good against young QBs — Sanchez, Brohm and Freeman.

Dr.KennethNoisewater: I’ve got most of the official HTs and WTs from the combine. Kyle Wilson is 5-10, 194.

Blindog: The return of Peria Jerry makes the pass rush better, according to TD.

McBubba

March 3rd, 2010
10:02 am

D-LED When do the falcons find out about compensatory picks?
What are they looking at for Foxworth, Brooking, and Boley?
is a 3rd, 4th, and 5th, unreasonable?

Stirg d'Nahsif

March 3rd, 2010
10:03 am

Illusions, Illusions, Illusions!

Do you suppose, perhaps, Haden demonstrated a poor performance to intentionally fall out of the top ten? Who wants to play/live in Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo, Seattle or Denver? I don’t believe he’ll be around at 19 but please don’t be misled by his performance.

Take ’spoon in the first round and concentrate on efforts to grab A.O.A.O.A.O.A.O.A.O.A.O.A

Without-a-clue

March 3rd, 2010
10:07 am

If Haden is still there when the Falcons draft(19), I think they will take him. They would be foolish not to. But, that said, I don’t think he will be there and they will draft Witherspoon or an offensive tackle.

Tailback U

March 3rd, 2010
10:09 am

I doubt he falls that far but if so don’t see how you could
justify passing him up.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 3rd, 2010
10:10 am

McBubba: We will hear about the compensatory picks during the Owner’s meeting in a few weeks in Orlando. A three, two fours or two fives (Foxworth, Boley, Brooking and maybe something for Big Grady, too).

Stirg: His agent wouldn’t let him do that. The difference in money is to great. 8 to 19. Need to look up the numbers, but I’m sure that’s at least $10 million drop on the overall deal.

HGN

March 3rd, 2010
10:10 am

Haden to Birds: Sell…We need a second line of defense, thats Weatherspoon. And lets not forget that our CB’s starting coming on and playing better towards the end of the season. Mike Smith and TD may be happy with their progress and not invest a No.1 in another small and slow corner. If we go DB let it be Taylor Mays , if he’s there. If its a LB/DE let it be Weatherspoon or Brandon Graham. With no No.2 we can’t screw up our 1st Round pick.

Trying to trade up to the 2nd Round would be a waste. There are too many quality players available in this draft to give away a pick or another player to move up.

Hopefully our Compensatory picks will be at the end of the 3rd Round so we can get additional quality players.

SirReal

March 3rd, 2010
10:10 am

Very true sir….well said. I stand corrected.LOL

Falcon Devil

March 3rd, 2010
10:11 am

LOL at DDawgDavis, “let’s abandon the William Moore experiment”. Wow great idea, lets cut our 2nd round draft pick from last year because of one injury. You’re ludicrous logic is reminiscent of Al Davis, I’m surprised you aren’t running a NFL team with those brains!

SEC fan

March 3rd, 2010
10:17 am

Dont care how fast or tall he is; he shut down AJ Green and Julio Jones this year. Says enough for me.

blindog

March 3rd, 2010
10:19 am

Perry will help the pass rush the corners will be fine,we need a stud linebacker with speed that can help with the pass rushing.

SEC fan

March 3rd, 2010
10:23 am

We need a new DC. Did you see Smitty and Van Gorder get into it on the sidelines last year? Van Gorders $hit doesn’t work with grown men.

GATORZONE

March 3rd, 2010
10:24 am

Haden will be gone, they should take Dunlap.

GATORZONE

March 3rd, 2010
10:28 am

WHy would people push for Taylor Mays who proved he cannot cover at the Senior bowl and all season at USC? Haden has been a complete shutdown of some of hte best receivers in college football.

The Truth

March 3rd, 2010
10:32 am

I have changed my mind… I was hoping Haden would drop to the Falcons but now I hope Weatherspoon does….. as far as CB go out and sign D. Robinson….

SaintsLSU

March 3rd, 2010
10:38 am

Haden was great against everyone he played in college. Would be a great pickup for the Falcons. Many LSU players said that Haden was the best corner in the league, other than Patrick Peterson of course. I’m sure that A.J. Green would say the same.

J.J.M.

March 3rd, 2010
10:45 am

Dont draft a CB in the first. sign Dante Robinson…draft LB Daryl from TCU in the first round.

Nique

March 3rd, 2010
10:54 am

D. Orlando

First i sell the Haden deal, this 40 stuff is being way overblown, he’ll come back at his proday & run a sub 4.5 & all of this will go away. Im convinced that if we do get a Gator at 19 it will be Dunlap, but i haven’t heard any real talk about this. Do you know if he interviewed with us at the combine? I am surprised that I have not heard more rumors about think as our pick & it can’t be all about character issues we are obviously interested in Weatherspoon & have been mentioned with P. Cox alot. Dunlap is the best pure DE in the draft, he’s stout against the run, & is a beast in pass rushing situations. He absolutely took over the National Championship game a few years ago & while he hasn’t shown as well as B. Graham has lately (Sr. Bowl & measurables), i will admit. I still wonder if Haden & Graham are off the board, (which i am expecting)& just for the sake of argument, Weatherspoon as well, do we take Dunlap & if not, why?

blord

March 3rd, 2010
10:54 am

I keep hearing that we need 6ft corners which sounds right in theory. Even though it sounds right the theory I don’t think it is that important when it comes down to it. Not many probowl corners measure much over 6ft. Just be physical and cover is all we really need.
Also, guys lets not be fooled by how well our corners played to end the year. It was good to see but they were also playing against 2 rookies in Sanchez and Freeman. Plus they also played against (the dude from Buffalo that got cut by the Packers who many of us wanted when we drafted Ryan and I can’t think of his name now). It was good to see them step up but it doesn’t prove we still don’t need help at corner.

Wildgator

March 3rd, 2010
11:00 am

One of the best Gators and NFL RB’s ever, had a slow 40 time. And I think one of the best WR of all time, in the NFL, had a slow 40 time… Running track, and playing football are to different things. Sometimes being quick, is more important then being fast.