BIRDLAND – If the Falcons had not made the mega-trade here’s what their draft could have looked like:
–Cornerback Jimmy Smith went 27th to Baltimore. He had too much baggage, but would have been a nice add to a secondary that must defend Tampa Bay’s huge receivers and New Orleans’ Marques Colston. Defensive end Cam Heyward was still on the board, but I was told he wasn’t a scheme fit. Also, Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard was available. The Falcons likely would have passed on Smith and selected Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph.
–Wide receiver Greg Little went 59th to Cleveland. He’s a little bit of a Diva. He had nice form when he kicked that ball into the stands at Virginia Tech. He’s a former running back and is a natural running after the catch. He likely would have been a first-round pick if he didn’t get caught up in the Tar Heels’ NCAA scandal. Both Little and Jones are 6-3. Little is nine pounds heavier and much stronger. Little had 27 reps of 225 pounds, while Jones had 17 reps. Jones however is faster, 4.34 to 4.51 in the 40-yard dash and has much better hands.
–Fullback Owen Marecic went 124th to Cleveland. With Ovie Mughelli, the Falcons would not have taken Marecic. They would have selected Taiwan Jones, the
running back from Eastern Washington, who went on the next pick, 125th to Oakland.
So instead of Julio Jones, the Falcons would have had Smith, Little and Taiwan Jones. Or Rudolph, Little and Taiwan Jones. So, in the future, those are the players to keep track of. Also, the Browns have the Falcons’ first- and fourth-round picks next season.
Another interesting side note will be to compare the production of Jacquizz Rodgers, the Falcons’ fifth-round pick, and Taiwan Jones.
NFL.com had Jones rated as a 6.5 player and Rodgers as 6.2. Mel Kiper had Rodgers rated as the 12th best running back in the draft and Jones as the 14th best running back.
So now, knowing what the Falcons could have had, do you still like the trade?
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog