BIRDLAND – Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff took a break last week to give us an update on the ramp
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.”
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:
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.
There are a couple of things about this upcoming draft that are going against historical trends.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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