Missouri’s Sean Weatherspoon takes ATL by storm

Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon celebrates after making a tackle against Bowling Green during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, in Columbia, Mo. (Associated Press)

Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon celebrates after making a tackle against Bowling Green during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, in Columbia, Mo. (Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon made it to town late Wednesday for his visit with the Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons worked him out last month in Columbia, Mo. and this is more of a meet-and-greet.

He was in New Orleans before making it to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The New Orleans Saints will pick 32nd in the 2010 NFL Draft, which will be held April 22-24.

“Coach (Gregg) Williams and (coach Joe) Vitt said they see me playing the WLB (weakside linebacker) in (their)  system,” Weatherspoon tweeted.

He was excited about coming to Atlanta in part because he’d get to see his former Missouri teammate William Moore.

“Heading to the ATL to see my boy Willy Mo25 and them dirty birds!!!,” Spoon tweeted about 6 p.m.

Hartsfield-Jackson caught Weatherspoon’s attention.

“The airport here is pretty busy,” Weatherspoon tweeted.

The busiest in the nation!

He started making his way up the highway.

“(Just)  passed the Buckhead exit headed north on 85!!,” Weatherspoon tweeted.

The Falcons have been visiting with and working out some of the nation’s top linebackers.

Weatherspoon has a first-round grade and several mock drafts have him coming to the Falcons with the 19th pick. (In our last mock, Mock 6.0, we had Weatherspoon going to the New York Giants at the 15th pick and Florida center/guard LaShawn Maurkice Pouncey being selected by the Falcons.)

 Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham could be selected by the Falcons.  (Tony Ding / Associated Press)

Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham could be selected by the Falcons. (Tony Ding / Associated Press)

However, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes that Weatherspoon will land with the Arizona Cardinals.  Kiper was so gracious with the national media during Wednesday’s teleconference. He went nonstop for about two hours straight.  Midway through when he was told that there were still about 40 members with questions, he decided to try to shorten up his answers so that everyone could get their questions in. (Thanks Mel!)

“Weatherspoon is a good player,” Kiper said. ” But there is mixed opinions on him. Todd (McShay) and I disagree on Weatherspoon.  I’m a little higher on him than Todd is. Weatherspoon I think he can be a 3-4 inside backer in a defense like Arizona is running, taking over for Karlos Dansby or he could be a 4-3 outside linebacker. He could be a strongside linebacker. He could be at the (weakside linebacker).  He’s got a lot of versatility. A lot of people project him differently in the NFL.

“The bottom line is that he’s going to be a first round pick. He’s going to go somewhere in that 20 s.  .  .

You were talking about Atlanta at 19, I don’t think they’ll pick him there. I could see him going as high as 16 to Tennessee, but they’ve done some things in free agency to help their outside linebacker position. I don’t think the Giants will take an outside backer, they are looking more middle. He’s going in the 20s, somewhere in there. That’s why I have him going to Arizona at 26.”

Kiper and Don Banks of SI.com believe the Falcons will take Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham.

I think the Falcons have been locked in on Graham ever since they added cornerback Dunta Robinson in free agency, and he’ll fit somewhere in a front seven that needs to upgrade its pass rush. But the Falcons’ greatest concern may be No. 22 New England, which also covets Graham and has the firepower to go up and get him (to No. 17 San Francisco?) with those three second-round picks.

If the Falcons take Graham, that would be a “first” under general manager Thomas Dimitroff. In his two previous drafts, the Falcons have not selected a player from the mighty Big 10. Not even one Ohio State Buckeye!

Here’s a conference breakdown of Dimitroff’s 19 picks:

  • Pac-10 – Tackle Sam Baker (USC), safety Thomas DeCoud (California), linebacker Robert James (Arizona State) and cornerback Wilrey Fontenot (Arizona).
  • ACC – Quarterback Matt Ryan (Boston College), guard/tackle Garrett Reynolds (North Carolina), linebacker Spencer Adkins (Miami) and defensive tackle Vance Walker (Georgia Tech).
  • SEC – Cornerback Chevis Jackson (LSU), running back Thomas Brown (Georgia), tight end Keith Zinger (LSU), and defensive tackle Peria Jerry (Mississippi).
  • Big 12 – Linebacker Curtis Lofton (Oklahoma) and safety William Moore (Missouri).
  • Big East – Wide receiver Harry Douglas (Louisville).
  • Western Athletic – Cornerback Chris Owens (San Jose State).
  • Big Sky – Defensive end Kroy Biermann (Montana).
  • Atlantic 10 – Defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (Richmond).
  • Southern Conference – Cornerback William Middleton (Furman).

Should the Falcons just turn their card in now and write Weatherspoon’s name on it? Would you be happy if Kiper and Banks are correct and the Falcons select their first Big 10 player under Dimitroff? Or, are you with the smart folks who have them selecting LaShawn Maurkice Pouncey?

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127 comments Add your comment

Box

April 7th, 2010
11:25 pm

He wants to come here. Let’s grant his wish.

Box

April 7th, 2010
11:25 pm

Box

April 7th, 2010
11:29 pm

I sure hope Arthur sent him a car and driver. I hope he isn’t tweeting and driving in ATL traffic.

Falconsforlife

April 7th, 2010
11:38 pm

I’m happy with Graham, ‘Spoon, and even Pouncey after being beaten down with that pick by you DLed for the past few weeks. It pretty much has to be one of those 3 at this point, and really seems like it’ll only be someone totally different if all 3 are off the board by 19.

Personally, I want to see ‘Spoon here so bad.

Bangkapi Ajarn

April 7th, 2010
11:38 pm

Hope he makes it here, hope NY reads where he wants to be!

TuckDAWG

April 7th, 2010
11:39 pm

Go and draft this man! Im so tired of hearing about pouncey he’s a center for goodness sake and a waste of a first round pick!!!!!!!

Sportaree

April 7th, 2010
11:41 pm

D. thanks for the kind of late night info.
Box you forgot to say first. as in perhaps Spoons draft position
And thank goodness for this computer because I can’t buy a AJC newspaper down here in Macon Co.

Sportaree

April 7th, 2010
11:44 pm

Box i meant to say the Falcons first pick.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matt Schauf, Darryl Ledbetter and ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Missouri’s Sean Weatherspoon takes ATL by storm http://bit.ly/96kkJp [...]

OL Question

April 7th, 2010
11:53 pm

Good for you! You show a good sense of humor with your statement “are you with the smart folks who have them selecting LaShawn Maurkice Pouncey?” Hey, its kinda fun playing GM isn’t it? By the way, I’ve just checked in with my monks high in the mountains in Tibet and they have with the 19th pick (drum roll please) the Falcons choosing Bruce Campbell OT from Maryland. How can anyone argue with the monks?

chris taylor

April 8th, 2010
12:03 am

I wasn’t on the blogs and all last year, is it common for ATL fans to go “HAM” over a particular pick such as Spoon? Was there someone specific last year that got the reaction Spoon has and did that specific player express the same enthusiasm that he has? I know we picked Jerry just wondering if we are getting our hopes up over someone the team isn’t prepared to take some extra measures to go get.

chris taylor

April 8th, 2010
12:17 am

Bruce Campbell? I think you’re monk friends are breathing too much cold air or something. Guys got measurables but the tape don’t lie. It just don’t show up on film yet. Should we reach at 19 simply cause we don’t have a 2nd? Hope that was sarcasm.

GT

April 8th, 2010
12:48 am

Hope TD is right. Not too many great Mizzou LB’s lately.

FalconsFan284

April 8th, 2010
1:00 am

DOL—The smart people wanting Pouncey? Good think TD isn’t that “smart.” I think the Falcons go, Spoon then Graham and then Griffen as far as First Round preference. Did you see Casserly grade Pouncey as a Second Round talent on Total Access?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 8th, 2010
1:36 am

GT — Casserly is a nice man. But Pouncey is a first rounder of a lot of boards. Just added some of Kiper’s stuff on Spoon. After listening to tape, he’s got Spoon going to Arizona at 26. He’s not that high on Spoon! He has Pouncey going to Pittsburgh at 18.

TuckDAWG — You can’t think of Pouncey as just a center. He could come in a elevate the guard position while waiting for McClure to break Jim Otto’s streak. Whenever McClure is done, he can slide over to Center. He has mega-value.

FalconsFan284 — See, TD is smarter than all of us. That’s why he’s going to take Pouncey. I just don’t see the Graham thing.

MaxxFalcon

April 8th, 2010
2:03 am

I’m with the smart folks who have the Falcons selecting Weatherspoon or
Graham, and you are the only idiot clamoring for Pouncey

MaxxFalcon

April 8th, 2010
2:14 am

I mean give me a break, we would never pass on an elite player who fills a real Defensive need for a Center in the 1st round. I’m sorry, but Center is not a position we need as urgently as you make it seem. McClure is still playing at high level, and Romberg is a very capable backup. To pass on a guy like Graham, who could be an elite DE, for Pouncey, in the 1st round, would be foolish. You are creating smoke where there is no fire. You are doing this because you, personally, love Pouncey. That does not mean the Falcons will draft him, and you have even admitted this before. Your “Pouncey with the 19th pick” campaign is nonsense! I call Shenannigans! I can’t wait until the draft when we don’t draft Pouncey!

Travis

April 8th, 2010
2:35 am

What about Jason Worilds as a possible pick for the Falcons? I would trade up to the 2nd round to land this guy. He reminds me a lot of Mathis of the Colts.

enz

April 8th, 2010
2:43 am

Graham just seems like such a …………… boring pick.

I am calling for the Falcons to shake it up and think outside the box…

Travis

April 8th, 2010
2:50 am

By the way, I would be happy with Pouncey. A great center has tremendous value, think Mangold, Saturday, Mawae, O’Harra…..all are pretty good o-lines.

Gary

April 8th, 2010
3:07 am

Yo DOL, you cool man but I’ma laugh at you so hard when the Falcons DONT take Pouncey at 19 just because you are so bias towards him. you dont even give any other player a chance in a mock. Bottomline, the Fans want SPOON! And even more important Spoon wants to be in ATL. I do believe he said “Pick me falcons” at the combine correct? He has visited twice and has had a private workout. Does that sound like a guy they will pass on for a center that wont start? NO! TD is smart. He is going after Matt Ryan’s old center from college. that pick makes more sense because they know each other well and they can get him in later rounds and still address other needs else where. Has Pouncey even visited with the Falcons? what makes you think they will take him over Graham and Spoon? Makes NO sense. Pouncey is a good player but it wont happen. Even if Graham and Spoon arent there at 19 I think the Falcons are more likely to trade down with the Eagles at 24 and get one of their second round picks. THAT would be smarter than taking a center that will be a back-up. I just had to vent for a minute because seeing pouncey in your mock TIME after TIME is really REALLY getting annoying! even if they did pick him which they WONT, you arent giving a far view point about other players that very well could be falcon players to their fans. Stop being bias. I really really hope TD and Smith dont take your words under ANY form of consideration. No disrespect, just tellin it like it is. WE WANT SPOOOOOOOOOOON!

I c great things ahead

April 8th, 2010
5:52 am

Thanks, Gary You’ve said it all right there. D Led is so into Pouncey you can insert there names in that old nursery rim and sing it about them. You know D. and Pouncey sitting in a tree, “Kissing” You get my point This man has lost all prosspective and so I’d just like to ask you is that true Journalism. Come on man a lot of us have warm to the though of Pouncey just not at 19 for us. Not that he’s not worthy of being picked at 19 just not by our BIRDS. We need inpack players right now and to use our only high pick on a center does not make sence for us. Most folks want Spoon I personally want a high impack WR but you can’t claim high value pick with one breath with Pouncey but if C.J. Spiller fall too our pick or Dez Braynt drop we should pass on them because we are set in there possition. But hey it’s your world man ie your mock so do as you like. Just don’t ask the rest of us to buy this malarky about Pouncey yes he could move inside to G but is that a greater need than LT? I’m just saying. So for me it’s yes to that Spoon serving as WSB or yes to C.J.Spiller and yes to Dez Braynt but most of all yes to whatever T.D. does I beleave..

The Real Falcon

April 8th, 2010
6:25 am

Again why did we not even talk with Alex Brown when the World Champion Saints can?

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d817644bb&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true

And can sign him!

Chattanooga Chuck

April 8th, 2010
6:43 am

Count me among the Pounceyites. He seems like a Dimitroff kind of player, smart and a leader, and one who has the potential for greatness at his position. Of course, I’ll be happy with whoever TD picks, and all the possible draftees have their good points.

tony

April 8th, 2010
7:09 am

The Falcons are rank 28th in the league against the pass and 26th in total sacks so how will Spoon improve the defense in terms of getting sacks and creating havoc in the back field? Picking Brandon Graham is a no brainer.

Getaway

April 8th, 2010
7:26 am

Pouncey would start…at guard. And would eventually slide over to center. I would very much like for the Falcons to shore up the O-Line like that.

I also like the Graham pick. I don’t see Spoon making much of a difference on our pass rush, without an upgrade on the d-line.

I just hope that whoever they pick can stay healthy for the season. Seems TDs 1st round picks have a problem with that.

The Real Falcon

April 8th, 2010
7:33 am

Any defensive player with the first pick but that center.

Ree Roe

April 8th, 2010
7:35 am

Good to see that people are tired of seeing this Pouncey nonsense wk after wk from our “beatwriter”. Spoon or Graham need to be the pick. We don’t need to pick a backup C with our #19 pick

-peachtREE Roe!!!

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 8th, 2010
8:16 am

I think TD will select the guy the feel that will be a star at 19, no matter the position and then fill needs with the other picks. Pouncey does fit the bill because he is the best center in the draft. If someone like spilller or haden were to fall to 19, I think you would see TD pick them up although that is not a need.

fanATicaL

April 8th, 2010
8:31 am

Would you make a 1st rd pick that wouldnot start. Nor the potential to start.Naaaaaaah this Pouncy thing has run its course.Spoon or Graham easily could take snaps from any of the starting Lbacking corp.Impact ,Im still not sold on the GT reciever.On many levels ,ultimately too many question marks for a 1st rd pick.CJ Spiller just like Paul-Pierre dont look like they will make it down to us at 19.But I would say that just at this point right now.With the offseason moves made and with the players returning healthy.This is a better team than last year.What more can you ask for ? The opponents on our schedule definitely looks weaker than last season.Barring every team on the schedule coming off a bye week .The Falcons should make the playoffs.Do have enough luck like the Aints to win the Superbowl ? the ultimate question.
Go Falcons

Blue Fender

April 8th, 2010
8:37 am

It’s hard to pick what’s wrong with the defense. Obviously the sacks aren’t there, but how many times was Abe just a half step away? If the DBs were playing just a little tighter or the LBs were just a little faster, that half step is nullified and the sack happens. It’s all intertwined and the coaches watching tape know where the real lies. I trust TD and Smitty will address that in the draft.

GO FALCONS!!!

OL Question

April 8th, 2010
8:40 am

I sent a tweet to my monks in Tibet asking that they explain their choice of Bruce Campbell OT at #19. Seems likes the monks really hate the Falcons run production stats (last in the NFL) on the right side in 2009 and also the physical pounding (and decreased rushing stats) of M. Turner. They want to immediately plug Campbell into RT for run support and then see if he can be “coached up” to someday be an all-pro LT. Monks did ask me to remind everybody that they did predict the Super Bowl winner correctly and to have a little faith.

Mike Jay

April 8th, 2010
8:47 am

You all are forgetting what DOL has been saying all along about Puncy. In all his mock drafts with the Falcons selecting him BOTH Spoon and Graham are OFF the Board. He has never said that Pouncy should be taken in for nt of those guys. So go reread those mock drafts before spewing soo much venom. Poiuncy at 19 provided those two being gone makes great sense for the team long term. The falcons are not desperate for a another young DE who will take a year – three to devolop so they will nto reach for one. Spoon is the only OLB that would be worth taking at 19 provided he slips. Anything else on the defense at 19 is most likely going to be reach. Taking pouncy would only be a reach only in the sense that centers rarely get taken that high. It would have nothing to do with his talent level or bust potential. The first being high and the second being virtually non existent.

D Money

April 8th, 2010
9:16 am

Tony, to answer your question of how Spoon would improve the pass-rush, he’s extremely quick and powerful so he can blitz off the corner. Peterson just had one sack last year and Nicholas had 3. Spoon is actually stronger and quicker than Graham so I don’t really see it as a no brainer. Plus, as noted in the article, Spoon is versitile, something our coaches like to have in their players. It seems to me that they’re really looking at Spoon as option one. Graham may be option 2. Plus DE is pretty deep in this draft

[...] linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is visiting the Atlanta Falcons, reports D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta [...]

Falcon57

April 8th, 2010
9:23 am

TD has said over and over that he drafts on a “NEEDS” basis Orlando, and Pouncey is not a need greater than LB or DL. Don’t understand why you can’t get this. It’s not me saying this, it’s the man that makes the decisions. The Falcons will draft a NEED position!!!

Mave2124

April 8th, 2010
9:27 am

D-Led, schedule comes out next week (from internet chatter, Tues or Wed.)…when do teams usually release the schedule for mini-camps and more importantly, training camp?

As far as the draft, as long as we don’t draft some out surprise player in the 1st round (like a WR or S), I am good.

Hamp

April 8th, 2010
9:31 am

Mike Jay you said it!
Poucey is the best value pick IF spoon (first) and Graham (second) are not there. I don’t like the Griffen references, I think he has bust written all over him. IF all else fails take pouncey and if all three are gone trade out.

Ree Roe

April 8th, 2010
9:32 am

@ Mike Jay, so do you take everything DOL says as gospel? You can think what you wanna & be brainwashed by these absurd mocks our “beatwriter”, but do you really & honestly believe that the best pick for the Falcons going into next season is at C? I’m not talking about drafting for depth, I’m talking about our most urgent & pressing need as a team. Do you believe that with all of our problems, a Center, is our biggest need?

-REEspond to Roe!!!

Michael

April 8th, 2010
9:33 am

I think Spoon and graham would both be a good pick but there are never any sure things. However, LB is more of a sure pick than DE…look at the last DE picked in the draft and they have all underachieved. Lets get spoon and solidify our LB core. The only problem is there are three teams ahead of the Falcons that are looking at Spoon as well. Titans, Giants, and Broncos. If Denver selects McClain then the Giants might take Spoon. Titans also need to replenish their LB core….they made some offseson moves to help at OLB but you never know if they would pass up on a talent lie Spoon. Steelers are ahead of us as well and they have locked on Graham in their 3-4 so we shall see but TD is you are reading Spoon will be a pro-bowl OLB for years to come.

Michael

April 8th, 2010
9:34 am

Personally, I believe that Pouncey would be a great pick at #19 if you already have a team that is looking for heir apparent players on an already stacked team! Pittsburgh, Indianapolis etc., would be the kind of teams that could afford to spend a first round pick on Pouncey; or a team with multiple first round picks! It is widely recognized by ALL NFL sources that the ATL Falcons are in desperate need of impactful defensive pass rushers/ I just can’t see the Falcons spending $57M on Dunta Robinson at CB, and then drafting a Center (which doesn’t help Dunta – or the defense in accomplishing this mission)! I was trying to think of Pouncey as the first draft pick for us on yesterday, and therefore trying to figure out who we could end up with at DE & WLB. I saw Ricky Sapp from Clemson, or Jerry Hughes from Texas Christian at WLB, and Austen Lane from Murray State, or actually, the choices wern’t that inspiring at DE from what was left. We cannot afford to draft second or third tier players at these positions this year (the third year of a rebuilding PROCESS; we already have them on the roster now! What we should be focusing on are players that could fill these needs, fit into our system, and expound on the talents and skills for the positions that we brought them here for! First & second round draft picks are for teams that ARE rebuilding to come in and start right away making dynamic plays – not to sit around for a year or two under the starters retire, unless you are the defending Super Bowl Chamions, or least in that Upper Echelon of teams annually! We are moving in that direction, but we aren’t there yet, and I feel that if we draft a Center with our first draft choice now, we would be taking a step back! The ONLY way that I would consider Pouncey for the Falcons would be if he dropped out of the first round, the #19 pick was the last pick in the first round, or if every need has already been addressed (WLB or DE) first!

1eyedJack

April 8th, 2010
9:38 am

Still of the opinion that if you go OL in the 1st it better be a left tackle…no gaurds…no centers.

JP

April 8th, 2010
9:40 am

How about trading positions with NE so they get Graham, then take Weatherspoon with 22nd and get a second round pick?

silky_slimm

April 8th, 2010
9:43 am

d led i like them all but i would weather go defense which i see them getting graham or weaterhspoon i think in the 3rd round they will get matt ryan center from college the tennet dude which mcclure can groom for a year.

Mike Jay

April 8th, 2010
9:45 am

Falcon57,

Yes TD drafts on NEED basis. what you are forgetting is that TD has said he is fairly happy with the DL they currently have and thinks the improvements to the secondary via free angency and injury returns will go a long way to improving the pass rush. I’m not too sure TD and the Falcon’s have DL as a higher need than OL which has 3 starters who will have expiring contracts this year.

Roe,

I certainly think that the OL is a big need for the Falcons. See above as to why. I think LB is their biggest need followed by OL, DL, TE and WR. You can’t just draft your bggest needs in order, that would be foolish ash you woould be reaching. You have to weight in needs, depth in draft at that postion, etc. to come up with the highest value that fills a need. Based o nthat logic and provided Spoon and Graham are OFF THE BOARD than taking Pouncy at 19 seems to be a shrewed pick. I just can’t see them drafting a DE with the first pick unless he is a slam dunk 1 st year starter. Not sure they can get that at 19. They ahve two young pass rushing DE’s with great upside that need playing time to get better in Sidbury and Bierman. Why draft another young one and take away asnaps from those two. If Abraham has a bounce back season than drafting a DE in the first makes even less sense.

Hamp

April 8th, 2010
9:52 am

People who outside of Spoon or Graham fits what we are doing? To me no one left would be an imediate impact so why not take a potential pro bowl lineman. Poucey could probaly play anywhere along the line. I think some have forgotten that jerry is coming back and if you look a the games he played in he helped the entire front play better. Remember our defense dominated Miami. That was because of Jerry’s push up the middle. RELAX PEOPLE the third option should be pouncey, because there will not be any top notch LT left. Book it!!

Michael

April 8th, 2010
10:03 am

DOL, do you or anyone else happen to know how many years are left on John Abraham’s contract?

Ree Roe

April 8th, 2010
10:03 am

@ Mike Jay, Biermann & Sidbury played extensively down the stretch & still didn’t produce results. Abe is old & injury prone. DE is a HUGE concern for this team & it’s a bigger priority than a C. As someone just pointed out, TD drafts based on NEED. Drafting a C is a depth pick & we aren’t good enough to draft depth with our first round pick. Plus, are you really gonna trust a mock draft that had Tebow going at #10? C’mon man, the Falcons need playmakers on D & their will be plenty of high impact defensive players still on the board at #19. Drafting a C at #19 would be a DUMB move

-REEspectfully Roe!!!

D-MAN8

April 8th, 2010
10:12 am

No pressure from ends last year was most glaring weakness,yall must not watch much football.

Michael

April 8th, 2010
10:16 am

DOL & Birdlanders! I just had a thought (amazing huh)? Lets’s assume that Brandon Graham is gone waaay before the Falcons #19 pick, so we draft Sean at #19, and then come back and draft Jerry Hughes with a Second round pick! That way, we could have Sean as the WLB; and Jerry Hughes can back up Stephen Nicholas as SLB (since he comes off the field on passing downs anyweay), and he could still play DE on obvious passing downs (ala Demarcus Ware early in his career?