Mock 7.0: Dimitroff ramps up for NFL draft

BIRDLAND – Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff took a break last week to give us an update on the ramp

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

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

up to the draft.

The Falcons are set to have a “Locals” day on Monday for some structured workouts.

“We are encouraged and we know that there are going to be some very fine opportunities in this draft to acquire more players that are going to continue to help us in our quest to be perennial playoff contender,” Dimitroff said.

The Falcons are one of the busier teams in bringing in players and putting the finishing touches on their draft board. The idea is to get a consensus in the room with regards to the system-specific players.

“I’m definitely a believer in collaboration,” Dimitroff said. “We take all of the information that we have from what I consider one of the most adept scouting staffs in the country.

“With Les Snead helping to lead us with the personnel department, I think that we have solid people in place that will provide us with information that will let Mike Smith and myself continue to take it to the final decision making point. Again, we have a great deal of discussion, not only with our scouting staff, but with the coaching staff about the respective players in this year’s draft.”

Smitty is expected a big bounce-back year from John Abraham  (Curtis Compton/compton@ajc.com)

Smitty is expected a big bounce-back year from John Abraham (Curtis Compton/compton@ajc.com)

The Falcons have scouted just about every linebacker and center in the draft. So it’s reasonable to conclude that a linebacker and center/guard are coming off the board at some point. Several pundits, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN/Scout Inc.’s Todd McShay and SI.com’s Don Banks, all have the Falcons taking Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham.

That’s the wrong pick.

They are ignoring what Smith has said about John Abraham having a bounce-back year while at the owner’s meeting and that he feels that with a better push up the middle from a healthy Peria Jerry could help Abraham return to form. Also, the Falcons have drafted defensive end in each of the last two drafts in Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury.

However, Abraham will turn 32 in May.

Also, the Falcons, under Dimitroff, have not taken one player from the Big 10 conference. A remarkable 16 of the 19 players drafted under the Dimitroff-Smith regime have played in an NFL game.

“(We have) a system-specific scouting system,” Dimitroff said. “We need to make sure not only that we’ve gotten all of the information in the evaluation from the scouting department, but also that these players fit our scheme. That has a lot to do with our evaluations and our discussions with our coaching staff.”

AT THE POLLS: Last week we asked “Who will select Florida quarterback Tim Tebow?” Here are the results:

  • Buffalo in the first round, 9th overall (28%, 643 Votes)
  • Cleveland in the second round, 38th overall (26%, 599 Votes)
  • New England in the first round, 22nd overall (24%, 549 Votes)
  • Washington in the second round, 37th overall (22%, 485 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,276

FALCONS DRAFT ORDER

1st round – 19th overall

2nd round – No pick

3rd round – 83rd overall

3rd round – 98th overall, compensatory

4th round – 117

5th round – 149

5th round – 165th overall, compensatory

6th round – 171

6th round – 189

NFL DRAFT TIMES

Rd. 1: Thurs., April 22, 7:30 p.m.

Rds. 2-3: Fri., April 23, 6

Rds. 4-7: Sat., April 24, 10 a.m.

AJC’s 2010 MOCK DRAFT 7.0

Staff writer D. Orlando Ledbetter projects the first round:

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)

There are a couple of things about this upcoming draft that are going against historical trends.

  1. Teams appear set not to draft and overpay at the quarterback position. There are rumblings that St. Louis will not take Sam Bradford, even though they released their former starter. Also, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen doesn’t appear to have a first round draft home. “There is a lot of disagreement and mixed opinions on when Jimmy should come off the board,” Kiper Jr. said.
  2. The traditional notion about not drafting a safety too high is being tested. Tennessee’s Eric Berry, of Creekside High, Texas’ Earl Watson and Southern Cal’s Taylor Mays could all go in the first round.
  3. Also, the traditional valuation at the center position is being tested by Florida’s LaShawn Maurkice Pouncey. Denver and Pittsburgh will have shots at him before the Falcons pick.

In our latest mock draft, Florida center Pouncey is climbing.

The Denver Broncos, in need a center, secure the position by taking Pouncey.

With the 19th pick in the draft, the Falcons will select Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

Pouncey has been the Falcons pick in five of the seven mocks. This is Weatherspoon’s second selection.

He visited the Falcons on Wednesday and Thursday.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is headed for St. Louis in the Mock Draft 3.0.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is headed for St. Louis in the Mock Draft 3.0.

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma. Not buying the talk out of the Rams camp that they don’t necessarily have to take Bradford after releasing Marc Bulger. In the negotiating game, that’s called posturing.

2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma.

4. Washington Redskins: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma. Word out of Washington is that new coach Mike Shanahan is comparing him to Ryan Clady.

5. Kansas City Chiefs: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State. He only slips one spot.

6. Seattle Seahawks: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech. The Seahawks traded defensive end Darryl Tapp and are not certain about Patrick Kerney’s return.

7. Cleveland Browns: Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee. The Browns get Berry to fill one of their holes on defense.

8. Oakland Raiders: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers. The Raiders get an anchor for their run game.

9. Buffalo Bills: Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa. The Bills go for value.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama. McClain in a run stuffer, but also has speed.

Will Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (25) be clapping it up in the Falcons huddle next season?  (Associated Press)

Will Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain (25) be clapping it up in the Falcons huddle next season? (Associated Press)

11. Denver Broncos: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida. His versatility gives him extra value. Pouncey can play right away at guard or take over at center.

12. Miami Dolphins: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State. The Dolphins go for a potential game-breaker.

13. San Francisco 49ers: Joe Haden, CB, Florida. The 49ers look for a potential replacement for Nate Clements.

14. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson. The Seahawks try to spruce up the offense.

15. New York Giants: Sergio Kindle, LB, Texas. The Giants go for some help on defense.

16. Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida. The Titans are in the defensive end market after losing Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency.

17. San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan. The 49ers stay with the defensive theme.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Michael Iupati, G, Idaho. The Steelers have to like his upside.

19. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri. With Pouncey and Brandon Graham off the board, the Falcons go with Weatherspoon.

20. Houston Texans: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State. The Texans have to get a prospect to replace Dunta Robinson, who signed with the Falcons in free agency.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma. The Bengals look to add a weapon for quarterback Carson Palmer after revamping the receiving corps.

22. New England Patriots: Everson Griffen, DE, USC. The Patriots continue the reconstruction of their defense.

Everson Griffen could be flexing for the Falcons in 2010. (Associated Press)

Everson Griffen could be flexing for the Falcons in 2010. (Associated Press)

23. Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC. The Packers have to add some offensive line help, but could trade down and add picks.

24. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Mays, S, USC. The Eagles have to rebuild their defense.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech. Perfect spot for Thomas, who can learn from veterans Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason.

26. Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida. He will fit well inside of the Cardinals’ 3-4. Cards not worried about his lack of foot speed and like his football instincts. He will replace Karlos Dansby at inside linebacker.

27. Dallas Cowboys: Earl Thomas, S, Texas. The Cowboys get some help for their secondary. Some believe that Thomas can play cornerback and safety.

28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State. The Chargers have to re-discover the running game and get more balance in their offseason.

29. New York Jets: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee. He could be a force inside for the Jets.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama. The Macon native has moved up to the front of the cornerback class.

31. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Hughes, DE, Texas Christian. Hughes reminds some of a young Dwight Freeney.

32. New Orleans Saints: Daryl Washington, LB, Texas Christian. The Saints have to address the position with the loss of Scott Fujita.

ON THE FRINGE

UCLA's Brian Price is one mean and nasty defensive tackle. He's set to visit the Falcons on Saturday.  (Jeff Lewis / Associated Press)

UCLA's Brian Price is one mean and nasty defensive tackle. He's set to visit the Falcons on Saturday. (Jeff Lewis / Associated Press)

Jim Clausen, QB, Notre Dame

Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

Colt McCoy, QB, Texas

Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois

Chad Jones, S, LSU

Jahvid Best, RB, California

Nate Allen, S, South Florida

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech

Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

Brian Price, NT, UCLA

Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State

Corey Wootton, DE, Northwestern

Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame

Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama

Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers

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.

148 comments Add your comment

the TRUTH

April 9th, 2010
10:20 am

I like this pick alot more than Pouncey but I think Weatherspoon with be gone and the Falcons will take Graham…..

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cadilac

April 9th, 2010
10:25 am

i like this pick, he can help.

London Falcon

April 9th, 2010
10:27 am

Take the spoon… he’s the final piece.

falconsforlife

April 9th, 2010
10:30 am

I like it DLed. I hope spoon falls to us.

BigTimeTECHFan

April 9th, 2010
10:30 am

Sergio Kindle, LB, Missouri – His from Texas right?

Falcons could go OL, LB, WR, DL, DB – Best player and I’ll be happy

Clay

April 9th, 2010
10:35 am

I have been saying it all along. Spoon is the man here in atlanta for along time to come. He is a sure starter from day 1 and has a motor that run 110% on every down. I dont think he is the final piece because we do need some off. lineman and could use a speedster out at wr opposite roddy white, because jenkins just isnt cuttin it.

duker64

April 9th, 2010
10:38 am

if spoon is gone do we trade down with eagles I saw that on bird cage and likee it can still get spoon or gramham or one of tcu top two and maybe pick up a late 2nd

DBH

April 9th, 2010
10:39 am

Given the choice between Graham and Weatherspoon, Graham is the pick.

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Dominic Hughes

April 9th, 2010
10:41 am

I’ll give you credit DOL – you finally come up with a mock where the Falcons don’t take Pouncey but manage to move him up to be knocking on the door of the top 10 at the same time! Are you sure you’re not his agent? ;) I’m not convinced the Rams are convinced about Bradford but I think you’re right and they’ll take him, then live to regret not taking Suh or McCoy instead. If I was Rams GM I’d take Suh then take Colt McCoy later. Have your cake and eat it too.

Love that the Falcons focus not just on need but needs that directly fit their scheme. Not trying to put square pegs into round holes and having Smithy and TD on the same page is a real strength. Can the draft just hurry up and get here?

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 9th, 2010
10:49 am

If it is not Witherspoon it will be Pouncey. If both are gone, then maybe Graham but I doubt it. I think they will try like heck to trade out of the first round if both are gone.

Big XII

April 9th, 2010
10:50 am

Falcons would do good to draft Pouncey if he were available.

Big XII

April 9th, 2010
10:51 am

Oh, and you scholars from the SEC……It’s Weatherspoon, not Witherspoon.

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 9th, 2010
10:51 am

We have DE’s but we don’t have OLB’s and we are on the last year of our center. I think those will be the picks. A wild card is TE since TG has 1 maybe 2 years left.

JP

April 9th, 2010
10:53 am

I agree with the philosophy of why not to draft a DE in round one. Draft on a needs basis and OLB is a bigger need. But where to go after round one? Get back into round 2?

Better Pick

April 9th, 2010
10:57 am

Okay, DLed, give it up. You’re really Pouncey’s agent, right? That’s the only way I see someone predicting an interior OL near the top 10. It just doesn’t happen.

I agree that the Falcons either take Weatherspoon or Graham at 19.

Matty Ice

April 9th, 2010
10:58 am

Niners may take Joe Haden but there next pick will be an offensive lineman. You can bank on it that Niners won’t take Graham. I think you rigged your draft so that the player you want(Pouncey) and the player that many others want(Graham) would be gone so another player that most want(Weatherspoon) would be the only option……..Your trying to build a consensus here, right? Is this how the media game is played? :)

ATL09

April 9th, 2010
11:04 am

DLed,

Keep up the good work man.

Have you heard about Ramon Harewood of Morehouse College? Being that we need OL help BAD & he’s a 6′7 340 lb OT/OG w/ a 3.2 GPA in PHYSICS, are the Falcons looking at him? It would be a crime not to since he’s literally across the street in the AU Center.

Charles J.

April 9th, 2010
11:07 am

Well, DOL you had to be draged along kicking and screeming but you came around. And look by know ones suprize we draft him by default. After your man crush M. Pouncey, B. Graham and Sergio Kindle are off the board, oh he’s from Texas.

Josh B

April 9th, 2010
11:09 am

Finally a mock that has us taking Sean Weatherspoon…but DOL, what info is coming that says Denver takes Pouncey ?

Big Daddy J

April 9th, 2010
11:26 am

Orlando, why would they take Spoon with this pick as most say he is an inside linebacker not outside? We have Lofton. I think he is a smoke screen

SeminoleWarrior

April 9th, 2010
11:28 am

Yes!! DO Led, welcome aboard the Spoon Express. What has taken you so long my friend.

Bangkapi Ajarn

April 9th, 2010
11:34 am

Like the Spoon pick, and I agree with your assessment that DE does not seem to be the best value for the Falcons in the 1st round.

samoore57

April 9th, 2010
11:34 am

Orlando, You have Sergio Kindle from Mizzou…He went to Texas…I like Weatherspoon as the pick for Falcons. Being located in St. Louis I’ve seen him in college and he’s one fine athlete. I also agree that we need Peria to make a big impact this year on DL.

Bangkapi Ajarn

April 9th, 2010
11:37 am

Forgot to say, nicely written piece.

Did you have a chance to ask TD the fan questions mentioned a few days ago?

SeminoleWarrior

April 9th, 2010
11:39 am

Samoore57, Spoon will be a great addition to the Falcons family.

waynester

April 9th, 2010
11:39 am

DLed
Just a couple of mild disagreements– I too doubt that Denver would take Pouncey so early; if Philly has a choice between Mays and E Thomas–they take Thomas; and if D Williams is still on the board when SD picks they’ll grab him and take a RB in the early 2nd due to the lack of 3-4 NT’s in rd 1. “Spoon is a good pickup for us at a position of need, so despite my advocacy of a trade-down, I wouldn’t complain a bit….

Gene Okerlund

April 9th, 2010
11:46 am

Dude, you have got to be Pouncey’s uncle or cousin. Please give full disclosure, because these mocks are pure lunacy.

kelvin davis

April 9th, 2010
11:49 am

I would rather trade down and take the linebacker Hughes from TCU than Weatherspoon.. Hughes is alot faster and more athletic than Spoon and we would be getting another pick if we traded down

Bryant

April 9th, 2010
12:00 pm

Trade up and take Mclain from Bama. He is a better linebacker than Urlacher already.

SeminoleWarrior

April 9th, 2010
12:01 pm

DO Led, please let TD and Smitty know that they have reserved seats on the Express.

jack

April 9th, 2010
12:02 pm

what about earl watson guys, he seems to have snuck up the draft boards and is now being talked about as a top 3 safety by D led

kelvin davis

April 9th, 2010
12:03 pm

Now if Mclain is there he is the pick hands down

Paddy

April 9th, 2010
12:06 pm

kelvin davis…….I like your thinking on this point.

kelvin davis

April 9th, 2010
12:15 pm

yea i would agree that its pretty great how spoon has made over 400 tackles in his career at mizzou but more than half of them were after the ball carrier already gained 6 yards.. we have players on our team that can make those kinda plays already.. trade down to get another pick and then take hughes.. the next demarcus ware if he is coached up the right way and i believe our coaching staff will be able to get him in the right spots

H. Sarasota Tungstenmediocre

April 9th, 2010
12:21 pm

Hey, D-Led,
what is the deal with this man cruch you have on Pouncey? You finally have the Falcons taking someone whose initials aren’t MP, but then you suddenly move that someone up 8 spots in the first round. I don’t know about a center going that high in this draft. Oh, and look for a shocking move to come out of Washington. I’m thinking they might actually make a play for Clausen or Colt McCoy to provide a backup/future franchise QB behind McNabb.

FDB

April 9th, 2010
12:31 pm

The one lingering question for me is: if the Falcons actually select an OLB with the 19th pick, then they are the worst poker players on the planet. And I do not think TD is a bad poker player. So who would it be that we have not heard about (barring an obvious slide like Spiller). You sure that DE comment at the meetings was not a head fake? Could it be Eversen Griffin. A pix says a 1000 words, and that flexing is not the character image AB and TD want. But it has been awfully quiet re: DEs (although Graham would be a DE). Somehow I just sense that Pierre Paul is high risk. But his measurables are almost exactly the same as Griffen. I think Flowery Branch will make the decision of which player will be most dominant at his position. If OLB option is not as dominant as a Griffen, then they will go DE instead and get OLB in the 3rd round with Jason Worldis or Dekoda Watson in 4th . I also think Cam Chancellor could move down to OLB. If we could somehow work Carlton Mitchell in as a WR to those first four rounds, that would do it. And while I am dreaming, pick up Tennant in the 5th. Voila!

Bubba, Lower Forty

April 9th, 2010
12:33 pm

spoon, spooN, spoON, spOON, sPOON, SPOON!!!

J

April 9th, 2010
12:40 pm

Trade down and get Eric Berry he is the next Champ Bailey.

Mike Jay

April 9th, 2010
12:46 pm

DOL has never choosen pouncy over Spoon. It’s just that spoon was already gone by 19 in most of his drafts. I agree With Walker, Pouncy or Spoon. If not then trade the pick. Though Gresham at TE could be an interesting surprise first round pick…

FalconsFan284

April 9th, 2010
12:49 pm

Sean Weatherspoon=Defensive Rookie of the Year!

kelvin davis

April 9th, 2010
12:53 pm

to bad eric berry is a safety and champ bailey is definitely a cornerback so how is he the next champ… and we are one of the dumbest teams if we dont draft cj spiller if he is there.. that would make norwood easy to trade and we could definitely add a second round pick by trading norwood and maybe our 4th round pick.. but i doubt cj spiller will be there but anything is possible

nativefalcon

April 9th, 2010
12:55 pm

Oh Lord he finally picks Spoon, Best mock you have had D-Led. It will be Spoon or Graham. I just don’t see us taking a center in the first round unless we traded down.

enz

April 9th, 2010
1:21 pm

If somehow Rolando McClain fell to us that would be great, but isn’t he an ILB?? Or can he play both ILB and OLB?

chris taylor

April 9th, 2010
1:28 pm

No offensive linemen for San Fran? They’ll at least take one. Watch, New England will trade some of it’s picks to move up & get Dez Bryant, it will happen. Spoon will be good, i’d rather have Hughes & a 2nd. Graham is still my favorite.

mez

April 9th, 2010
1:44 pm

do whatever needs to be done to get Daryl Washington

Fan since 74

April 9th, 2010
1:47 pm

I think the Falcons need more help at Linebacker than at D-Line.

no crying

April 9th, 2010
1:52 pm

I don’t get this mock draft. 5 of the first 11 picks are Offensive lineman! and 8 out of the first round are on the o-line. This does not seem like a normal distribution for the draft. Has the OL become the new glamor position, are teams picking OL because of there isn’t a salary cap. Are there that many great lineman available? Is the guy doing the mock draft a former O-Lineman? I don’t recall the league ever being this disciplined before. What gives?

Mr. Phil

April 9th, 2010
1:59 pm

I really, really, really want the Birds to take Spoon. But, I think Griffen, Graham, Pouncey, and Weatherspoon will all be gone and the Falcons take Taylor Mays (LB/S).