SENIOR BOWL: Falcons have found players here

MOBILE – Despite not having a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, several members from the

Tim Tebow got off to a slow start at Senior Bowl workouts a couple of years ago. (Dave Martin, Associated Press)

Tim Tebow got off to a slow start at Senior Bowl workouts a couple of years ago. (Dave Martin, Associated Press)

 Falcons’ personnel department and coaching staff will scout the practices and the 63rd annual Senior Bowl all-star game.

The practices start on Monday and the game, between the North and South teams, will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The NFL Network will cover the practices and the game. (CLICK NORTH or SOUTH to view ROSTERS.)

The Falcons traded away their 2012 first and fourth round picks to the Cleveland Browns as part of the deal for wide receiver Julio Jones last year. They retained picks in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

Without a first-round pick, the Falcons hope to uncover a second-round gem. The Senior Bowl is a must stop for all 32 teams in the NFL and a key part of the pre-draft evaluation process.

“It’s always just one more evaluation tool that you can use,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “Videotape is great, but anytime you get a chance to [see players] work live, it’s always a plus.”

Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons have traded four second-round picks and have used two to select linebacker Curtis Lofton in 2008 and safety William Moore in 2009. Moore played in the 2009 Senior Bowl.

In 2008, the Falcons traded two second-round picks to move back into the first round to select Sam Baker with the 21st overall pick. They traded the 2010 second-round pick to get tight end Tony Gonzalez and last year’s second-round pick was part of the Jones trade.

The Falcons have used evaluations from the Senior Bowl to help draft or sign several current players, including wide receiver Harry Douglas (2008), safety Thomas DeCoud (2008), defensive tackle Peria Jerry (2009), defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (2009) and quarterback John Parker Wilson (2009).

Other Senior Bowl alums on the falcons’ roster include wide receiver Roddy White, running back Michael Turner, fullback Ovie Mughelli and defensive end John Abraham.

Tim Tebow talking to NFL Network after first Senior Bowl practice.

Tim Tebow talking to NFL Network after first Senior Bowl practice.

The Falcons worked on their roster- analysis last week. Those conclusions will help the team better focus on areas of need in the draft and free agency. With 17 unrestricted free agents, there is certain to be some major roster turnover.

There were several draft gems in last season’s Senior Bowl. Quarterbacks Andy Dalton (Cincinnati, second round) and Christian Ponder (Minnesota, first round), running backs DeMarco Murray (Dallas, third round) and Roy Helu (Washington, fourth round) and linebacker Von Miller (Denver, first round) all played last season and went on to make contributions to their teams as rookies.

The University of Georgia will be represented by cornerback Brandon Boykin, punter Drew Butler and offensive linemen Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones.

Also, Clemson defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, of Thomasville, is slated to play.

The coaching staffs from the Minnesota Vikings (North) and Washington Redskins (South) will coach the teams.

Also, former Georgia Tech and Falcons standout Keith Brooking (currently with the Dallas Cowboys), former Falcons coach Dan Reeves and former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb will be inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame on Friday.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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43 comments Add your comment

Trainwreck

January 23rd, 2012
10:05 am

Hope we end up with a steal of a pick in the 2nd round

Die Hard Falcon

January 23rd, 2012
10:10 am

Take the best player available, and don’t stretch any more picks for need (like Sam Baker and Peria Jerry). We need to have solid contributing players that will propel us forward. Of course if they happen to be OL or Defensive ends, that would be best. The winning tradition starts this time of year, make wise choices, go Falcons!!

Tom G

January 23rd, 2012
10:25 am

Good luck!!!

Rollo Lawson

January 23rd, 2012
10:30 am

Why is this Tim Tebows picture plastered through out this article? I tell you what, Dimitroff and company need to get it right with this draft. Let’s see if we can find some marauders instead of social workers and choirboys. Especially on defense. Me along with many other frequent bloggers have been calling for a mean, nasty, intimidating defense that would set the tone for the entire team. Case in point, a defense like S.F. Until we get this WE WILL NEVER WIN A SUPER BOWL!

Rollo Lawson

January 23rd, 2012
10:38 am

Back in 2007, we had a chance to take Patrick Willis and Charles Johnson, two needs at the time. I was sitting in my living room thinking that we could get Willis in the first and Johnson in the second. Instead, we take Jamal Anderson and Chris Houston. Inexcusable!! Maybe I should put an application with the front office.

what,what,what??

January 23rd, 2012
10:46 am

this year should test the scouting dept. now let’s see how good mr.dimitroff can find quality players with 5 picks,they are out there.the east-west game provided some talented 2nd and 3rd round possibilities,the senior bowl should provide many more. falcon staff let’s see what ya’ got.

Trade 4 Tim Teabow

January 23rd, 2012
10:52 am

U just no the Falcons will mess this up.

Blue Fender

January 23rd, 2012
11:07 am

All draft picks are hit or miss. How many high picks have busted (Ryan Leaf), while UFAs have flourished (Arian Foster)? The numbers are probably even. It all comes down to coaching and team chemistry. Where you are drafted doesn’t mean anything except getting more money.

PDQ

January 23rd, 2012
11:16 am

Rollo for Falcons General Manager! It’s a no brainer. I keep wondering why do fans seem to know more about football than the inmates in the asylum?? A blind mole could see the team quit on “Inmate In Chief” Mike Smith in the play-offs. Lose your team? Lose your job, unless you live in Loserville, USA!! Director of the asylum, some guy shooting Blanks… keeps drinking the Kool-Aid. “Dang, I can’t fire myself. I guess I’ll fire everybody under me and hire a few more of my butt buddies from Jacksonville.” Arthur, for the love of the game, wake up. It’s going to happen in a couple of years anyway — why not NOW?? Blow out in first round of play-offs last year as # 1 seed. Humiliating defeat this year to the 9-7 Giants. Offense did not score a frigging point. Are you blind or just stupid?? Go Falcons.

just sayin'

January 23rd, 2012
11:32 am

TD and Coach Clean Shot will pick a ‘winner’ i’m sure… :)

just sayin'

January 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

maybe another ‘Good Guy’…..

Truth Teller

January 23rd, 2012
11:38 am

2nd round pick should be COBY FLEENER

He won’t suit up in the Senior Bowl but he’ll be a star in the NFL

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SirReal

January 23rd, 2012
12:22 pm

Guess they are just going to see how many new “black dots” will be on their draft board.smh We the 54th overall pick…not very good for a team in need like ours. Guess TD figures he’ll keep getting Blank to throw money at the problem and pay the cost of his many draft whiffs as of late. Baker? Come on. Jerry? Please. The state of the O-Line? Should have dumped Clabo and kept Dahl. Robinson? Bring in a press corner to play SOFT zone…. Edwards? A mighty 3 -4 sacks? Sounds like a guy who’s whiffed lately a lot more than he’s won. The mystique has worn off Dimitroff.

Bill

January 23rd, 2012
12:23 pm

Just so we get a winner..like someone said–get the best player and not by position.

Jimmy Crack

January 23rd, 2012
12:37 pm

TD…the Midas touch or Just Brakes?

So which will it be, oh great and powerful DIM???

A diamond in the rough (2nd Round TE or S) or a shiny hubcap in the landfill (2nd Round OL)?

oldmike

January 23rd, 2012
12:39 pm

Just get a freakin player. Regardelss of position or round selected. Then coach up all the others we resign and see what happens. Another thought. Flacco can throw bullets all over the field. Would love to see Ryan progress to close to his (Flacco) arm strength.

Marcus

January 23rd, 2012
12:43 pm

How do the upcoming FA Class look in areas of need?

I had heard commentary that the pending OL free agents are underwhelming, so that may be a slot for the draft. Not sure if Blank wants to throw more $$$ at DE or DB. If Nicholas can stay healthy, we may be OK at WLB, but those would be my guesses for top areas of need, and maybe an eventual successor for Burner and Gonzo.

Bob in SF

January 23rd, 2012
12:48 pm

Just because the Vikings took Christian Ponder two rounds too high is no reason to call him a “draft gem”.
IMHO Boykin would be a very nice addition in the 2nd round if available.

Ichabod

January 23rd, 2012
12:50 pm

Whenever I get to thinking about our great judges of talent, I think of Michael Boley and Pellee, and Dahl, and Koenen. Never did see an explanation for their release. I assume the last two were for financial reasons, but the first two?

Jimmy Crack

January 23rd, 2012
12:59 pm

Ichabod, it is the same for all Atlanta pro players who want more money. We ship ‘em out.

It’s the only way the teams’ owners can keep the base hot dog and a coke price under $20.

Marcus

January 23rd, 2012
1:04 pm

My faves on the list that might be available in 2nd/3rd round :)

South Roster:

26 ANTONIO ALLEN 6′2″ 202 DB SOUTH CAROLINA
89 LADARIUS GREEN 6′6″ 236 TE LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE
19 CASEY HAYWARD 5′11″ 188 DB VANDERBILT

Any of these OL:
74 PHILIP BLAKE 6′3″ 320 OL BAYLOR
76 MATT MCCANTS 6′7″ 295 OL UAB
77 ZEBRIE SANDERS 6′6″ 307 OL FLORIDA STATE

North Roster:

20 CHRIS POLK 5′11″ 222 RB WASHINGTON
22 DOUG MARTIN 5′9″ 215 RB BOISE STATE
22 HARRISON SMITH 6′2″ 214 DB NOTRE DAME
73 KELECHI OSEMELE 6′6″ 347 OL IOWA STATE
82 MICHAEL EGNEW 6′6″ 245 TE MISSOURI

Marcus

January 23rd, 2012
1:05 pm

Forgot Boykin from UGA ;)

Would also throw UVA DB Chase Minnifield in that mixx.

Larry

January 23rd, 2012
1:11 pm

looking to see what the falcons need to is first . release jerry,owens,robinson.parker,sidbury,BAKER. these like other bust j anderson c huston. look @ a backup qb like either cousins or moore.this year look @ ol 1st,rb,pass rusher,cb. these are these that needs to be looked @ 1st. either thru fa,trade or draft. we could look @ our fa and maybe consider this either by trade or release. with td as general manager he has the experience hope he makes the right choices this time.

DocDawg

January 23rd, 2012
1:18 pm

TD has only “hit” on Lofton and Spoon. Everything else has been a bust or irrelevant. McKay was even worse.

SirReal

January 23rd, 2012
1:20 pm

@DocDawg That’s pretty much it.Ryan? Maybe….

collegeballfan

January 23rd, 2012
1:22 pm

Based upon my 0 years experience in selecting players for NFL teams, I would suggest the Falcons ignore anything I say.

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falconfan

January 23rd, 2012
2:09 pm

I say you trade all of our picks to trade up to the first round to get Justin Blackmon! We need more explosiveness!!!

SirReal

January 23rd, 2012
2:46 pm

@falconfan Now your thinking like a GM!!!!lol

SirReal

January 23rd, 2012
2:55 pm

Sam Baker, Peria Jerry, Chevis Jackson, Tye Hill, Ray Edwards, Dunta Robinson *, Joe Hawley, the epic trade for Jones. Jury still out on :Moore, Dent and Sidbury (a guy for the life of me I dont understand why isnt in the rotation when he had more sacks this year than Mr.Edwards.) I wonder how TD will knock it out of the park this time!! Exec of the year? Please.

robertussen

January 23rd, 2012
3:39 pm

we could and should be able to land boykin in the 2rd or 3rd, i bet we lose weems in free agency so he would make a great nickel and return man. i also like ryan steed out of furman, i know this kid and he’s good, but also he’s a class act. keep an eye out for him at the senior bowl

D Money

January 23rd, 2012
3:49 pm

We have the specialized talent but the O and D- lines have been neglected so we need to load up BIG. In FA we need go after Mario Williams especially since the Texans may choose to let him walk and an offensive guard Nicks or Grubbs. In rounds 2 and 3 Ben Jones (Center) and a LT respectively.

D Money

January 23rd, 2012
3:52 pm

If Mario Williams is too high go after Avril

No place like GA

January 23rd, 2012
8:59 pm

I sincerely believe that if Tracy Porter (who has antagonized us for years) & Marques Colston from the Saints are available, especially Tracy, this would be a tremendous plus for our defense. Also, Robert Mathis (a Georgia native) would be a major plus! I like the comment made that draft picks are indeed a hit-or-miss! Mario Williams was considered a bust at one point in time and Houston was highly criticized for passing on Bush! Nicks would cost too much & I see another Albert Haynesworth in the making when it comes to Nicks. Boykin would also be huge, but I think that by the time we’re able to go in that direction, he’ll be long gone. Also, I think Brent is leaving, so resigning Hayden (prayerfully he will stay healthy) is a must! Lofton, Hayden, & Weems must be resigned!

ynot

January 23rd, 2012
10:45 pm

the Falcons have so many needs. The playoffs showed us what really good defenses look like. We don’t have that in ATL. Rebuild the lines & good luck. Jerry & Edwards were just taking up space this year. O-line needs a few new bodies,also. Without a really good draft, the Falcons will be treading water again. Good enough for the playoffs; not good enough to win.

BIRDSFLYHIGH

January 24th, 2012
1:43 am

Larry, You are smoking something strong! Get tested!

Get@falcon

January 24th, 2012
3:21 am

why do we want weems. i didnt see a touchdown returned all season. I read explosive several times reading over these comments and i couldnt agree more. Mario william,laron landry, o line in 2d round,resign brent and hayden, get value for abe and robinson. sidbury,brierman,and mario can get it done under nolans aggressive play calling. Im not a huge fan of babineux nor peters but if we cant find a stud in the 3rd or fifth dont waste picks on the position. our scouting team will screw it up and waste that pick in a crucial year.

TD has no clue!

January 24th, 2012
9:39 am

Trust me. TD will screw it up as usual. Because TD has no clue.
Name me one GREAT player he has picked. I’m waiting.

Hardy Falcon

January 25th, 2012
11:36 am

Based on TD picks from Past Senior Bowl. He should stay awaybecause he does not have an eye for picking raw talent or better yet pick the opposite of what he would normally pick, he couldn’t do any worst!!!!

john

January 26th, 2012
8:10 pm

No place like GA, the Saints won’t let Colston or Nicks go. They will get there contracts. They will let Tracy Porter walk and you know who they will try to sign……Brent Grimes.

[...] SENIOR BOWL: Falcons have found players here The NFL Network will cover the practices and the game. (CLICK NORTH or SOUTH to view ROSTERS.) The Falcons traded away their 2012 first and fourth round picks to the Cleveland Browns as part of the deal for wide receiver Julio Jones last year. Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Gregory Fat

January 29th, 2012
8:01 pm

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