Take a peek at the AJC’s 2011 NFL draft board

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. TD has the Falcons board practially set. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

NFL Network's Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. The Falcons draft board is set and so is ours. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

BIRDLAND – With the NFL draft less than two weeks away, the Falcons have their draft board set and so do we here at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The position-by-position series will start in Monday’s print editions.

As a public service, we wanted to share our board.

There are some quirks.

The defensive line, offensive line, linebackers and secondary are just a group of 10. For example, the secondary is not broken out as to cornerbacks, strong safety and free safety. On our board all you get is the 10 best defensive backs.

Also, we don’t have them in tiers.

As we get more calls back over the weekend, some of the players will be moved around on the board. The assistant coach who has the list of the tight ends could call and turn that list upside down.

Here’s how our board – the list of the top 10 players by position group – is stacked.

QUARTERBACKS

Auburn quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton wearing the new Under Armour E39 shirts. Associated Press

Auburn quarterback and Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton wearing the new Under Armour E39 shirts. Associated Press

1. Cam Newton, Auburn

2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

3. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

4. Jake Locker, Washington

5. Andy Dalton, TCU

6. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada

7. Christian Ponder, Florida State

8. Pat Devlin, Delaware

9. Greg McElroy, Alabama

10. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech

Fringe: T.J. Yates, North Carolina; Ricky Stanzi, Iowa; Nathan Enderle, Idaho; Zack Eskridge, Midwestern State; Mike Hartline, Kentucky.

RUNNING BACKS

Georgia Tech Virginia Tech Football1. Mark Ingram, Alabama

2. Mikel Leshoure, Illinois

3. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech

4. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma

5. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

6. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State

7. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State

8. Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech

9. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh

10. Bilal Powell, Louisville

Fringe: Shane Vereen, California; Delone Carter, Syracuse; Noel Divine, West Virginia; John Clay, Wisconsin; Shaun Chapas, Georgia.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, right, makes a catch for a first down over Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh, on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. Pittsburgh won 27-22. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, right, makes a catch for a first down over Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Pittsburgh, on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. Pittsburgh won 27-22. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

1. A.J. Green, Georgia

2. Julio Jones, Alabama

3. Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh

4. Torrey Smith, Maryland

5. Randall Cobb, Kentucky

6. Jerrel Jernigan, Troy

7. Titus Young, Boise State

8. Leonard Hankerson, Miami

9. Greg Little, North Carolina

10. Dwayne Harris, East Carolina

Fringe: Vincent Brown, San Diego State; Tandon Doss, Indiana; Edmund Gates, Abilene Christian; Ronald Johnson, Southern California; Austin Pettis, Boise State.

TIGHT ENDS

Nevada tight end Virgil Green runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. He's been heavily scouted by the Atlanta Falcons.  (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Nevada tight end Virgil Green runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. He's been heavily scouted by the Atlanta Falcons. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

1. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame

2. D.J. Williams, Arkansas

3. Virgil Green, Nevada

4. Luke Stocker, Tennessee

5. Weslye Saunders, South Carolina

6. Jordan Cameron, Southern California

7. Daniel Hardy, Idaho

8. Charles Clay, Tulsa

9. Andre Smith, Virginia Tech

10. Kyle Adams, Purdue

OFFENSIVE LINE

Gabe Carimi holding Paul Bunyan's axe after the Badgers beat Minnesota in 2009.

Gabe Carimi holding Paul Bunyan's axe after the Badgers beat Minnesota in 2009.

1. Anthony Castonzo, T, Boston College

2. Nate Solder, T, Colorado

3. Tyron Smith, T, Southern California

4. Gabe Carimi, T, Wisconsin

5. Mike Pouncey, C, Florida

6. Will Rackley, T, Lehigh

7. Derek Sherrod, T, Mississippi State

8. Danny Watkins,C-G, Baylor

9. Clint Boling, T, Georgia

10. James Carpenter, T, Alabama

DEFENSIVE LINE

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2009, file photo shows Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (9) being sacked by North Carolina's Robert Quinn (42), left, and Zach Brown (47) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., The NCAA declared defensive end Robert Quinn permanently ineligible, the team said Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2009, file photo shows Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (9) being sacked by North Carolina's Robert Quinn (42), left, and Zach Brown (47) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., The NCAA declared defensive end Robert Quinn permanently ineligible, the team said Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

1. Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

2. Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

3. Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

4. J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

5. Cameron Jordan, DE, California

6.  Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

7. Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

8. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

9. Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

10. Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State and Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa.

LINEBACKERS

Linebacker Akeem Dent tries to strip the ball from Auburn running back Ben Tate, who held on for a 2-yard gain. Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

Linebacker Akeem Dent tries to strip the ball from Auburn running back Ben Tate, who held on for a 2-yard gain. Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

1. Von Miller, Texas A&M

2. Akeem Ayers, UCLA

3. Martrez Wilson, Illinois

4. Greg Jones, Michigan State

5. Sam Acho, Texas

6. Akeem Dent, Georgia

7. Dontay Moch, Nevada

8. Ross Homan, Ohio State

9. Mike Mohammed, California

10. Casey Matthews, Oregon

DEFENSIVE BACKS

“]LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson has decided to forgo his senior year and throw his name into the ever-growing list of players who are entering the NFL draft.</p></p> <p></p> <p></p> <p></p> <p></p> <p></p> <p></p>
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LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson has decided to forgo his senior year. (AP Photo/Sean Gardner, File)

1. Patrick Peterson, LSU

2. Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

3. Jimmy Smith, Colorado

4. Brandon Harris, Miami

5. Johnny Patrick, Louisville

6. Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson

7. Rahim Moore, UCLA

8. Aaron Williams, Texas

9. DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami

10. Buster Skrine, Tennessee-Chattanooga.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Florida kicker Chas Henry (17) celebrates with teammates after booting the game-winning field goal in overtime against Georgia in an NCAA college football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Brant Sanderlin)

Florida kicker Chas Henry (17) celebrates with teammates after booting the game-winning field goal in overtime against Georgia in an NCAA college football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. (Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Brant Sanderlin)

1. Kai Forbath, Kicker, UCLA

2. Leon Berry, Returner, Mississippi State

3. Alex Henery, K-P, Nebraska

4. Ryan Donahue, P-K, Iowa

5. Shaky Smithson, R, Utah

6. Dan Bailey, K, Oklahoma State

7. Chas Henry, P, Florida

8. Reid Forrest, P, Washington State

9. Josh Jasper, PK, LSU

10. Danny Aiken, Long Snapper, Virginia.

NFL DRAFT TIMES

ROUND 1: Thurs., April 28, 8 p.m.

Rds. 2-3: Fri., April 29, 6 p.m.

Rds. 4-7: Sat., April 30, 12 noon

Radio City Music Hall, New York

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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58 comments Add your comment

Falcons will win

April 14th, 2011
5:18 am

Here’s to a great draft Falcons.

Big Ray

April 14th, 2011
5:27 am

I can’t say it…hee hee

Big Ray

April 14th, 2011
5:28 am

Interesting board. I didn’t know Virgil Green was that high up on the tight end board. And it seems Lance Kendricks isn’t in the top 10 either…

Bsg3003

April 14th, 2011
6:03 am

I don’t know about this draft board…

Marcus

April 14th, 2011
6:37 am

Let’s got get some impact players … like my 7-y/0 says ” you get what you get, so don’t get upset… “

The Real Falcon

April 14th, 2011
6:57 am

SeenThisB4

April 14th, 2011
7:19 am

It doesn’t matter who the falcan’ts pick, because whomever they do choose, will be a consistent name on the unable to perform/injury list, week after week. LOL!

Football Fan

April 14th, 2011
7:21 am

Thought Casey Matthews was an Oregon Duck.

Spless

April 14th, 2011
7:21 am

No Justin Houston???? That seems strange.

Sid

April 14th, 2011
7:26 am

JohnGT Fan

April 14th, 2011
7:31 am

Justin Houston falling off a lot of draft boards (work ethic, lack of consistency). Atlanta may still get him in 2nd round (no longer a 1st round pick). But yea, we all knew this was a messed up board when you see Cam Newton as the no.1 QB. I’m not saying he’ll be Jamarcus Russell…but he’s pretty darn close.

Halsey

April 14th, 2011
7:44 am

OMG you didn’t rank Houston as one of the top 11 D-lineman in the whole Draft? Teh sacrilege! Don’t you know you’re supposed to rank him #1 to pander to UGA fans?!!

Halsey

April 14th, 2011
7:47 am

Yeah, JaMarcus Russell and Cam Newton are the same. Cam is fat just like Russell and never led his team to anything!

Prince Amukumara

April 14th, 2011
7:47 am

Just FYI my boy Jimmy Smith went to Colorado, not Purdue…and it’s DeMarco Murray

joe

April 14th, 2011
7:47 am

Houston averaged 10 sacks/year as a starter in the SEC. I doubt that he isn’t in the top 10 DE/LB’s in the country.

Halsey

April 14th, 2011
7:51 am

Nope Houston didn’t average 10 sacks. He totaled 20 sacks in 3 years of playing.

Larry

April 14th, 2011
7:58 am

If Cam Newton is the #1 ranked NFL QB prospect then we could be looking at either the weakest QB draft in NFL history or the most ignorant people in history ranking the QB’s….or both.

I think both!

You do not take a QB project–and Newton IS a project for the NFL–with the #1 overall pick. The #1 pick has to be a virtual lock at his position or you end up with a Jamarcus Russel or Jeff George, whom like Newton, had/have a great physical presence but suffer from grave cognitive deficiencies sufficient to be a successful NFL QB in today’s sophisticated NFL offenses.

Halsey

April 14th, 2011
8:04 am

People say the QB class is weak every year. There’s only a small number of QBs in the entire league considered ‘elite’ or whatever, so you can’t expect many top prospects in a given Draft.

Teams that wait on the perfect QB prospect end up never having a quality QB. If the Packers were afraid of QBs, like many fans are, they’d have passed on Aaron Rodgers.

Bill

April 14th, 2011
8:18 am

Everyone seems to want to compare Cam Newton to Jamarcus Russell. I think he is closer to a Josh Freeman.

JohnGT Fan

April 14th, 2011
8:21 am

No, he’s closer to Russell, not Freeman.

JohnGT Fan

April 14th, 2011
8:30 am

I don’t think he’ll be a “complete” bust like Russell…but, in my modest opinion, he’ll never be more than an average QB in the NFL. He’ll never go to any pro-bowls

BirdDog

April 14th, 2011
8:34 am

That’s a pretty weak QB board IMO. But, I bet Tom Brady wasn’t on anyone’s board during that draft… I still think Scam Newton will be average at best.

BIG BOI

April 14th, 2011
8:42 am

WE NEED A QUARTERBACK…CAM NEWTON…!

DC

April 14th, 2011
8:51 am

I find it EXTREMELY humorous that bloggers talk about all these negative things about Cam…but when you look at scouts and interal advisors for teams and they are drooling after him….but please…keep on comparing him to Russell…or that crazy kid from Texas..

I don’t expect much from the south though since Cam busted up the SEC and made your teams lose…

BYRDDAWG

April 14th, 2011
9:07 am

The team that drafts Cam had better lock up their PCs!!!! LOL

Tell It Like It Is

April 14th, 2011
9:13 am

Let me get this straight. Cam Newton was the QB on the best team in the SEC. The SEC is considered the best conference in the NCAA. His team beat every SEC team they played. He led his team to the national championship. He did the same in Junior College. So the only thing questionable is his character which is really subject to to what individuals consider it to be.If you do not like him..that’s fine. No one should question his ability to be a good QB in the NFL. He at least will get paid big bucks now that he has left the SEC plantations behind.

david

April 14th, 2011
9:14 am

Leonard Hankerson of Miami is 8th below Cobb of Kentucky and Jerrel Jernigan of Troy? The AJC staff has really gone down hill, no wonder your giving 50% of subscriptions.

Season Ticker Holder

April 14th, 2011
9:20 am

People quit drinking the hater-aide. Cam was the best QB in the SEC. He will be a good pro QB. He will be better than noodle arm Matt Ice.

Skeptical

April 14th, 2011
9:31 am

Any chance AT ALL that the AJC is pandering to its readership by listing all the local fan base favorites #1 at most positions? (UGA, Aburn, Alabama…)

1eyedJack

April 14th, 2011
9:32 am

Even Al Davis is not senile enough to trade up to #1 and take $cam.

Falcon57

April 14th, 2011
10:01 am

@ David, are you just now figuring this out??!! It is a complete shame that a city as large as Atlanta doesn’t employ the AJC to improve on the sports coverage, especially the Falcons. But you can’t reveal too much of your opinion on that subject here because it will get deleted by you know who!!!

Hmmmmmmm

April 14th, 2011
10:06 am

Could Dimitroff doe something with his hair….. ? I mean really… He looks like he just got out of bed and took off for the office…

hiramsaint

April 14th, 2011
10:29 am

he did and left arty waiting on room service

UGA Insider

April 14th, 2011
10:29 am

When is a team going to ask Cam if he knows where the large amount of money came from to rebuild his father’s church? Why doesn’t anyone ask this simple question? I guess because they know it leads to the death penalty for Auburn.

DC

April 14th, 2011
11:10 am

UGA Insider…you need to stick to your own team b/c you dont know anything about other schools…I live in Newnan…that church is a dump and isn’t improved whatsoever…

EW

April 14th, 2011
12:00 pm

Think it’s funny that you put one GA native who played on a team outside of GA (Newton with AU) and one SC native who played at UGA (Green) and said that Georgia is stacked in the draft. Real classy guys.

just me

April 14th, 2011
12:09 pm

wow…this board is…..different!

Supes

April 14th, 2011
12:15 pm

Actually what Larry posted in his 7:58am post is right on.

You don’t draft a PROJECT QB at 1…

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 14th, 2011
12:51 pm

Greg — Done. Remember this board is fluid. I’ll make changes up through the draft. I do want Justin Houston. He’s in the top 10 of DE, but not on the combined list with the tackles.

just me — It’s supposed to be. Remember, we have a fluid situation.

Football Fan — He is a Duck. Thanks.

The Real Falcons — Is that Godfather Gil’s board. I’ll check it later. I do like his tiers! I’m not comfortable doing tiers because I focus so heavily on the first and second round. I don’t want to be just throwing darts out there.

David – Hankerson had a horrible pro day. I was told that he couldn’t catch a cold that day. This is the only board he’s dropping on.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 14th, 2011
12:57 pm

Big Ray — Virgil Green put on a show at the combine. He’s moved up on a lot of boards. Yeah, Kendricks probably should be on the list. He’s a top 50 guy. I have an assistant coach double checking the TEs for us.. I’m sure Kendricks will make the final top 10. The board is fluid remember.

JB

April 14th, 2011
1:09 pm

Will Cam Newton come out ahead money wise when his NFL money will be taxed?

Kriss Kross

April 14th, 2011
1:13 pm

UGA Insider, I’ve been down by the church and they have made some improvments. One thing I do know is DC is a Auburn homer, so he is going to spin in a positive light for it not to effect Auburn negatively. Maybe he “donated” money for the repairs……

The Falcons Will Not Add Value to Team

April 14th, 2011
1:42 pm

The Falcons are notorious for not progressing after a successful (by Falcons standard) season. This is the problem with this franchise…they are inconsistent. Folks they have not changed! Just look at 2011 playoffs. Besides Mr.Blank has bigger fish to fry getting the approval to allow the taxpayers to pay for the new open-air dome.

The Falcons brass believe that they can win without any additional play-makers on the team besides Abraham. Just ask Thomas Dimitroff

Real Dawg Fan

April 14th, 2011
2:05 pm

Whoa…no Justin Houston on the list???

Bloated Liver

April 14th, 2011
2:08 pm

Why do you have Alex Henery as the #2 kicker?

dawgfan

April 14th, 2011
2:19 pm

What happened to all the Nick Fairley hype? The NFL scouts must have watched a few game tapes to see what an overrated chump he is. Takes plays off. Acts like a bad azz when he levels defenseless QBs but is MIA when it comes time to chase down running backs. He’s a big overgrown baby that can’t handle double teams like a man and retaliates. This guy is going to get his punk azz handed to him on a silver platter in the NFL and I’m going to love every minute of it.

Thanks.

ToccoaBird

April 14th, 2011
2:24 pm

I believe The Falcons Management will pick the best player just as they have the last couple of drafts. We need a WR to go with Roddy and a DE to go with abe. the rest will just be icing on the cake. BUT with that said if the Delaware qb is still available in the 4th or 5th round he would make a great 3rd qb. on the team.

Old Boy

April 14th, 2011
2:50 pm

I am probably late on this, but has Bowers been having a bad month? There was early talk of him being a top-three guy overall and he is now sitting at 6 on the D line list. What happened?

d.carter

April 14th, 2011
2:55 pm

Here the part that kills me about all the Cam Newton pundits… They keep knocking his accuracy without checking the stats… I saw 60% and 30 passing touchdowns , but all i hear is how he overthrew a guy at the combine, so that makes him a non-accurate QB? Duh thats the problem with all the experts and scouts they put more stock into what a guy does in shorts and TEE shirts than what he does on the field

d.carter

April 14th, 2011
3:02 pm

excuse me 66.1% maybe im new to this football thing but isnt that a good stat? Im gonna drop a new term on guys its called ” Live Bullets” The guys wins and performs well on the biggest of stages, maybe Matty Lice can learn a thing or two from Cammy Cam about stepping up big in big games!!!