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