BIRDLAND — With the NFL draft a little over a month away, one thing is starting to come into focus.
The Falcons are going to take a linebacker in the draft.
Not with the 27th pick mind you. But likely in the third or fourth round, they’ll be pulling a linebacker tag off the board.
Georgia’s Akeem Dent, who had a great Pro Day on Tuesday in Athens, came away with a private workout invite from the Falcons for April 14.
Also, by the time I drove back, I had an e-mail denoting that California linebacker Mike Mohamed told the NFL Draft Bible that he has a workout with the Falcons set for April 8.
The word in the agent community is that the personnel staff and coaches have disbanded across the country.
“Man, your boys, the Falcons, they are everywhere,” an agent said unsolicited on Tuesday at Georgia’s Pro Day.
Dent and Mohamed fit the Falcons profile of productive four-year players. Both also have their degrees. That was a common theme during the last draft as the team touted the players high “Football Intelligence” or “FBI” as they called it.
Dent, who redshirted in 2006 after coming out of Douglass High, started all 13 games last season and had a team-best 126 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He also forced and recovered two fumbles. He graduated in December with a degree in housing.
Mohamed, 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, played in 50 of 51 games and made 26 starts for Cal. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cal in Business Administration in December of 2010, finishing with a 3.44 cumulative GPA.
He runs a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash and has a 32-inch vertical. He can also tip his helmet to Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud, a Cal product who’s considered an ascending star at free safety.
I did some YouTube.com scouting on him. Check out this highlight reel. He made a lot of plays at Cal. He looks pretty fast, but I don’t see the violence and explosion in his tackling. He’s awesome in coverage and had a big pick to secure a victory over Stanford in 2009.
Getting another linebacker makes sense because Stephen Nicholas, depending on the outcome of the labor situation, could be an unrestricted free agent. Also, Mike Peterson is a two-down run stuffer.
Here’s what coach Mike Smith said about the linebacker group in our exclusive interview at the combine.
Smith said: “We still have depth within that group. Because of the different packages that you see on defense, there are going to be more guys that are specialized. Mike Peterson was our base defender against the run, and Sean [Weatherspoon] ended up playing in our [nickel] package. I thought that when Sean was out, that Stephen Nicholas did a very good job of fitting into that role.
“We have some young guys that have been contributing on special teams, in Spencer Adkins and Robert James. There is going to be a great opportunity this offseason for them to show what they can do.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog