ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the Falcons drafting Adrian Clayborn

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper projects the Falcons to take Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Troy wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan and Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray over the first three rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft. (Associated Press/Gail Burton)

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper projects the Falcons to take Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Troy wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan and Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray over the first three rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft. (Associated Press/Gail Burton)

BIRDLAND – ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is getting revved up for three days of draft coverage April 28 through 30.

On Wednesday, he was gracious enough to do a conference call with the media and he stayed on the line for about two hours. The key to Kiper’s conference call is to be early and press *1 before it even starts. That’s what I did and I was still 14th in line.

Associated PressAdrian Clayborn of Iowa takes down Penn State QB Daryll Clark during the 2008 season.

Adrian Clayborn of Iowa takes down Penn State QB Daryll Clark during the 2008 season. (Associated Presss)

I asked him what will be available to the Falcons with the 27th pick in the first round.

“They need somebody who can be a sack artist,” Kiper said. “Adrian Clayborn, a defensive end from Iowa, is a guy that I’ve had there for the last two projections that I’ve done. Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue should be there. They want a pass rusher. A guy that is explosive and can get after the quarterback. Obviously, you don’t want your 3-4 ends there, you want your 4-3 ends.”

In the second round, the Falcons are likely to take a wide receiver off the board.

“They want somebody who is explosive at wide receiver,” Kiper said. “Jernigan is a guy that I project to them at 59. If you’re looking for another wideout, there’s Titus Young from Boise State. Those would be some guys that are still there.

Troy wide receivers Jerrel Jernigan (3) and Terrell Bailey (9) celebrate the Trojans first touchdown against LSU during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Troy wide receivers Jerrel Jernigan (3) and Terrell Bailey (9) celebrate the Trojans first touchdown against LSU during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Randall Cobb from Kentucky could still be on the board. Torrey Smith from Maryland.”

The Falcons could also go offensive tackle in the second round. Kiper noted that Alabama’s James Carpenter and Villanova’s Ben Ijalana could be available.

In the third round, Kiper is projecting that the Falcon will take a running back. He likes Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray.

Kiper knows that the Falcons want to spice up their offense.

“This was a team that just had to move slowly down the field and had a lot of close games last year,” Kiper said. “Now, they need that quick-strike ability. That’s something they were lacking and they need to get.”

So, Kiper is projecting Clayborn, Jernigan and Murray for the Falcons.

“They need somebody to compliment Abraham,” Kiper said. “If they can improve the defensive line, get a wide receiver and a speed back, they’d be in a lot better shape than they are right now.”

Associated PressAdrian Clayborn of Iowa takes down Penn State QB Daryll Clark during the 2008 season.

Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray (right) fights off a tackle by Utah State’s Bobby Wagner on Saturday in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma won 31-24 as Murray carried 35 times for 218 yards. (Associated Press)

ADRIAN CLAYBORN, 6-foot-2 5/8, 281 pounds: He has Erb’s Palsy in his right arm. It’s a condition suffered during birth. His right arm is weaker. He’s from St. Louis. He dominated against Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 5, 2010.

JERREL JERNIGAN, 5-8 7/8, 185: He’s run a low of 4.32 in the 40-yard dash and a high of 4.55.  He’s a move/slot receiver in the Percy Harvin mold. He played quarterback in high school and was used in Troy’s version of the Dirty Bird (Wildcat). He led Eufaula (Ala.) High School to two Region 5A championships, 2005 and 2006.

DeMARCUS MURRAY, 5-11, 5/8, 213: Set school records for all-purpose yards (6,948 yards) and touchdowns (64). Has been clocked 4.39 in the 40-yard dash. He’s considered an excellent receiver out of the backfield with outstanding long speed. Slightly bigger than  Jerious Norwood (6-0, 205).

2011 NFL DRAFT ORDER FOR THE ATLANTA FALCONS

First Round

27. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)

Second Round

59. Atlanta Falcons

Third Round

91. Atlanta Falcons

Fourth Round

124. Atlanta Falcons

Fifth Round

158. Atlanta Falcons

Sixth Round

192. Atlanta Falcons

Seventh Round

209.  Atlanta Falcons (from Detroit in the Chris Houston trade)

228. Atlanta Falcons

229. Atlanta Falcons (from New England in the Quinn Ojinnaka trade)

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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67 comments Add your comment

Chris

April 7th, 2011
5:38 am

Felix Oakes

April 7th, 2011
5:42 am

first!! this is just to much.

Felix Oakes

April 7th, 2011
5:43 am

rats! beat again.

Marko

April 7th, 2011
6:37 am

Adrian Clayborn’s a guy that has appeared as the Falcons pick on a lot of mocks. In a way we could all be thankful for the Erb’s Palsy, otherwise Adrian’s long gone by 27. So Mel has us taking Clayborn, Jernigan and Murray. The picks address real needs. They make sense, and they’re coming from Mel Kiper. What’s wrong with this picture? Not counting double post it looks like I might be third. Do I get a bronze medal?

Roy

April 7th, 2011
7:15 am

Who would listen to Mel Kiper most scouts laugh at him anyway!

yogi

April 7th, 2011
7:35 am

Roy you are right. Mel is A joke. He reminds me of Chip Caray

waynester

April 7th, 2011
7:46 am

That’s actually not too bad compared to some of the garbage out there….

The Real Falcon

April 7th, 2011
8:12 am

Where is the TE?

El Bravo

April 7th, 2011
8:12 am

Marko, you hit the nail right on the head. Clayborn is a beast and easily a top 15 pick if not for Erb’s Palsy. It is a tad overzealous of teams to be so worried about a congenital, non de-generative condition. He’s been playing with it his whole life at a very high level. If anything it has made his weak side (natural non-throwing hand) stronger…

Mr. Phil

April 7th, 2011
8:27 am

These seem like good picks. I don’t know about Clayborn’s condition; will need to research that. The fact thathis left arm is more powerful than his right wouldn’t matter if his right is more powerful than anybody else’s. If you follow what I mean.

Jamaaliver

April 7th, 2011
8:37 am

I find it ironic that after the way Green bay thrashed us offensively last year, we’d focus two of our top three picks on offense. Though, I think it’s past time we drafted another RB to backup and eventually replace Mike Turner.

coachx

April 7th, 2011
9:02 am

Clayborn is the one DE I would pass on. Irb’s Palsy in his right arm is no joke. I think he will struggle to get off blocks in the NFL with that weak right arm (His bench press # was only 18….that is a DB #, not a # you want your men in the trenches having.

BOB

April 7th, 2011
9:11 am

Sound about right for a SWAG.

Bob

April 7th, 2011
9:15 am

D. Orlando – Do you see the Falcons trading out of the 27th pick and try to add a few extra draft picks? I can see a QB needy team trying to get back in the first round to draft one of the top 2nd tier QBs. What do you think?

No clue

April 7th, 2011
9:22 am

Matt Ryan has a weak right arm and they still drafted him. TD will screw it up as usual.

Mr. Phil

April 7th, 2011
9:32 am

@No Clue

You truly do have no clue don’t you. Statistically the falcons rank fifth when it comes to draft picks over the past five years who are still playing in the NFL. Over 30 wins in any three year period shows that you have some idea of what you are doing. Your post was not only worthless but unfounded.

Mr. Phil

April 7th, 2011
9:35 am

BAck to Clayborn, from what I could find, the arm strength problem is not a real issue. It only requires that he work a little harder. He had to adjust his personal routine to include balance of strength exercises. Check the quote from profootballweekly

“He sought the guidance of strength-and-conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who was able to help Clayborn maintain equal strength in both arms and shoulders.
While Doyle cannot discuss any medical conditions, he did say that Clayborn is one of the strongest defensive linemen he has seen play at Iowa.”

DP

April 7th, 2011
9:39 am

I read the other day that an Illinois running back might be picked ahead of Mark Ingram and be the only back picked in the first round. There are apparently some concerns about Ingram’s left knee which he hurt and was slowed down by last season. He looked fine in the bowl game. If he is still there when the Falcons pick in the first round they should jump on him.

Infamous

April 7th, 2011
9:49 am

My concern would be the Erb’s Palsy condition after a few years of playing in the NFL. It would be too late for buyer’s remorse at that point. Our DLine has enough issues from our last 1st round pick in Jerry who is injury prone and very old for a 3rd year player. I trust the Falcons staff will do extensive research if they do decide to go in this direction.

joewhite

April 7th, 2011
10:46 am

Lets go falcons

Richard Dawson

April 7th, 2011
10:50 am

Mel Kiper is the definition of “Mr. Irrelevant.” Thanks for letting me know who the Falcons will definitely NOT be picking.

Richard Dawson

April 7th, 2011
10:52 am

Mel was “gracious enough” to spend 2 hrs with the media? D, you are a tool. Mel is NOTHING without the media. You guys pump him. You just wrote a blog about him. So did every other NFL blog writer. Are you kidding me? I’ll spend 2 hours with the media anytime.

suwaneefalcon

April 7th, 2011
10:52 am

No clue, well the name says it all. I don’t know if this guy is a true first round pick. That being said I trust TD and the brain trust to make the right selection. They are not morons like…see no clue for moronic responses.

1eyedJack

April 7th, 2011
11:13 am

Mel Kiper sleeps in a coffin.

eddie

April 7th, 2011
11:21 am

Man I would love to see another Sooner on the Falcons, D. Murray has been banged up during his college career but I think with his talent in the 3rd round is a steal

BirdFanscout

April 7th, 2011
11:23 am

I know that I am not with you guys and you all will probably will hate my logic, but I believe we need to address offense with our first 3 picks. First reason is that I believe if we have a strike quick offense that our defense will suddenly improve. Look at GB. When we played them during the season we scored against their defense when their offense was not 100%. When their offense got healthy and we played them in the playoffs they ran away with the game and their defense was some how the best cover team and so on.

Do you get my point? If we can score alot of points then our defense will have better stats just by the fact we have confined our opponents to half of their playbook to keep up.

So I would look at the best availabel in OT, WR, and fast RB in the first 3 rounds. Put points on the board quick and fast and go home.

If we go DE who gets to the QB well he will just get fined because of the new rules they are about to roll out. Late in the draft get best available CB and LB who can cover because it is becoming pass first league/arena football.

QB/DB

April 7th, 2011
11:28 am

Clayborn won’t be around! And the Falcons can get GT Anthony Allen in the 5th-6th and use the 3rd on another need. How about trading the 1st round pick for former UGA DE Charles Johnson, then get WR from Troy, in the 3rd go for TE D. Williams of Ark. or STOCKER of Tenn. in the 4th get OT L. Zemba from Auburn, in the 5th get DB McDaniel from Clemson, in the 6th get RB Anthony Allen from GT, in the 7th get UGA Darryl Gamble and S Zac Etheridge from Auburn. All needs adressed!!!! The key to the Draft is how you find those diamonds in the 5th, 6th and 7th rounds and who you quickly grab up as undrafted FA. Josh Nesbitt will probably be there and can make a team as an athlete. Kris Durham may be there and the BIRDS need to snap him up right after the Draft! Come on TD don’t blow this one. You have GOT TO GET THIS ONE RIGHT!

Sunshine Falcon

April 7th, 2011
11:43 am

If the Kerrigan dude is there please take him. Do not let him get away like you did Clay Matthews.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 7th, 2011
11:46 am

Chris — Congrats!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 7th, 2011
11:47 am

Marko – The Bronze medal is yours.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 7th, 2011
11:50 am

Bob — I think some team might come up to get the TCU quarterback. (Washington or Indy). That would be a shrewd move. Remember TD is a Belichick disciple and will be looking for value. He could fall back and maybe still get Justin Houston, plus a tackle or receiver. That would be a shrewd move.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 7th, 2011
11:52 am

Richard Dawson — That was the third time Mel has graced the media with a multi-hour conference call. We love Mel. How’s that Family Feud thing working out for you?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 7th, 2011
11:54 am

Birdscout — I understand your rationale. I think that would be an over action though. They have Meier and Douglas and maybe need another receiver.

F-105 Thunderchief

April 7th, 2011
12:22 pm

“They need somebody to compliment Abraham,” Kiper said.

Why Mr. Abraham, your hair looks lovely today. That’s a compliment.

Hot sauce is great on wings. Hot sauce complements the wings.

Get it, D-Led?

F-105 Thunderchief

April 7th, 2011
12:25 pm

I work with someone who gets site, cite and sight confused. Ain’t English fun? Good column.

hiramsaint

April 7th, 2011
12:32 pm

a truly riveting article,,,,,,,,,,,,YAWN

hiramsaint

April 7th, 2011
1:06 pm

I have a rather small …..well you fill in the blank…..IQ…man member….BOTH!

Ball Hawk

April 7th, 2011
1:16 pm

So DOL ar Demarco Murray and Demarcus Murray twins?

D-ROME

April 7th, 2011
2:17 pm

Murray is injury prone we dont need another Jerious Norwood but I like the picks.

North FLA Falcon

April 7th, 2011
2:30 pm

Erbz Palzy doesn’t bother me … the Falcons went to the Super Bowl with a OT who was blind in one eye, Bob Whitfield. These picks sound very reasonable to me. Just please please make the right choices this time. GO BIRDS.

cwltank

April 7th, 2011
6:09 pm

No way we draft him in the 1st. !st rounders are starters. We have DE’S. Davis may get cut but we still will have 4 on the roster. 3 proven starters, I will be shocked if we drafted a DE the 1st rd. I think it will be Houston, Poüncey, or a speedy reciever.

Falcons relax...

April 7th, 2011
6:47 pm

I disagree with kipper. This is the same guy who said he didn’t see an improved team after our picks last years draft. BOY WAS HE WRONG. When it comes to getting a DE it depends on whos there. I feel like Biermann deserves 1 more shot at DE. It was his first year starting. I feel like o-line is where we need to look. At poucney or LT. This o-line is getting old and we have 3 FA. TD knows what to do. I DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT WR. 2nd round is too high. I could see 4th, 5th, or 6th round for someone to take Finnerans spot.

EVERYBODY KEEPS FORGETTING ABOUT MEIER. This is what these scouts, analysts, ect forget. Meier was tearing it up before he got hurt. I could see him taking the slot. It would provide a 2nd option for ryan behind gonzalez while Roddy takes the shine. We need to rebuild the o-line NOW before its too late. WE want a o-line young to grow with ryan. Not trying to develop one right when Ryan is in his prime. WR CAN WAIT. Especially if its not even a top WR prospect. Green and Jones are the only great WR’s in this draft. We skipped over DEz Bryant. I doubt TD takes someone less than that.

Falconsfan13

April 7th, 2011
6:49 pm

Why are these mock drafts showing us getting guys that aren’t “Explosive” pass rushers?? I would think a guy like UGA’s Justin Houston, or Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan would be names to look for. Another guy that I like personally is Cal’s Cameron Jordan, while most have him projected as a 3-4 end, he could play left end in a 4-3, which is the end position we need filled. He’s a dominant pass-rusher so it would definitely fill a need. Brooks Reed and Sam Acho are also names to throw out there

drmondo

April 7th, 2011
7:18 pm

I know this is off topic, but the news story doesn’t allow for comments. In the middle of the story about a study on a new outdoor stadium it mentioned that the community would be putting up $400 mil of a $700 mil stadium. What kind of property tax breaks go with that? Parking and concession profits? If the community is putting up 53% of the $$ to build (more if its decided to build a dome) they should get 53% of the profits. Couple the fact that the communities put up the majority of the money for these stadiums with the lockout over an extra $1 billion to cover the expenses of building a stadium. Why should owners reap all the financial benefits of a stadium when the community puts up more $$ than they do?

Sorry for that rant…it just ticks me off. I really like Mr Blank and our team but the collective greed of the owners bugs me along with the argument that the owners are taking all the financial risks. They’re not. We pay for the stadiums through taxes and ticket/merchandise sales. They get to pocket the $$ made at the stadium we paid for. We get the shaft and they risk not having a season because its not enough $$ for them…they NEED that other $1 billion.

Next post will be on the draft. I promise. I’ve got to go beat up a heavy bag for a while.

No clue

April 7th, 2011
8:29 pm

Still no playoff wins or Super Bowl.

cwltank

April 8th, 2011
1:10 am

Mier has no speed yea hes abig body with great hands but he willnever be a 1 or a 2 reciever. We need a playmaker with our 1st pick whether it defense or offensence. Sidbury will get alot of reps behind Abraham and Bierman and Anderson will anchor the otherside. I predict we draft Houston, he can rush the passer at either LB or DE. If he is not there we go after Pouncey, to replace overated Dahl.

A-Ville Ranger

April 8th, 2011
2:19 am

I love sports about as much as anybody. The idea of spending 400 million in public money when the state can’t educate it’s kids, maintain needed infrastructure or even pay the bills we already have is crazy. If the Falcons want a new stadium let them build it on private property with their own gd money. There is nothing wrong with the dome.

cwltank

April 8th, 2011
9:11 am

I agree, there is nothhing wrong with the Dome. Spend that money somewhere else. Ga needs jobs, that is reason I live in FLORIDA. THE AREA THEY ARE CURRENTLY IN HAS THE THRASHERS, HAWKS, & THE LIBERTY !

hiramsaint

April 8th, 2011
9:22 am

ugaclassof2004

April 8th, 2011
12:01 pm

Meh…I hate wasting 1st round money on a DE or DT. I say opt out of the 1st round and pick up more picks in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds. The Falcons really just need to build for depth anyway. I’m not sold on Clayborn. He’s a good athlete, but I’m just not sure he’d be that much of an upgrade over what we already have.