Falcons could pick a left tackle in second round

Iowa State offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele (72) celebrates a win over Oklahoma State on Nov. 18 at Jack Trice Stadium. (By Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Iowa State offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele (72) celebrates a win over Oklahoma State on Nov. 18 at Jack Trice Stadium. (By Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Despite coach Mike Smith’s support for left tackle Sam Baker,  a few more signs are pointing toward the Falcons addressing the position in the upcoming draft.

On March 14, the Falcons had left tackle Demetress (formerly spelled Demetrius) Bell, guards Jake Scott and Adam Snyder in for visits.

The Philadelphia Eagles signed Bell last Wednesday after Jason Peters ruptured his right Achilles tendon.

Scott (6-5, 283) played right guard with the Colts (2004-07) and Titans (2008-11). He started 121 games and played in 124 NFL games.

Snyder (6-5, 316) played seven seasons for San Francisco (2005-2011). He started 69 of 107 games over his career.

The Falcons have also worked out Delaware guard/center Gino Gradkowski, Iowa State left tackle Kelechi Osemele, California left tackle Mitchell Schwartz and Oklahoma left tackle Donald Stephenson, according to the ProFootbalTalk.com’s visit tracker.

Gradkowski (6-2, 299) is the 8th best center in the draft according to Pro Football Weekly.

Osemele (6-5, 320) is the 12th rated tackle. (Second to third round projection).

Schwartz (6-5, 319) is the fifth rated tackle. (Second to third round projection).

Stephenson (6-5, 312) is the 14 rated tackle. (Fourth to fifth round projection) Stephenson dazzled scouts at the combine and has to the measurables to project as an NFL starter, but he was just a one-year starter for the Sooners. 

“I think it’s more likely that they are looking at improving their offensive and defensive lines,” Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki said when I asked him about the tight ends in the draft. “Those are the highest priority areas on that team. They really struggled on the offensive line a year ago.”

The Falcons, after struggling in short yardage situations last season, are clearly trying to get bigger up front.

“I think they’ve got to. . . figure out what they want to be on that line,” Nawrocki said. “They’ve kind of got a hodge-podge of guys that don’t truly fit a power blocking scheme. They are not necessarily a zone or movement type unit either. It’s kind of a mixture.

“I think they really have to solidify what they really want to become. They’d like to get bigger and establish the ground game. I think that’s where Mike Smith would like to go.”

Another name to add to the list of prospects is Miami of Ohio guard Brandon Brooks.

“I could see them really concentrating on the offensive line,” Nawrocki said. “The guard from Miami of Ohio, Brandon Brooks, who was not invited to the combine, is a player to watch. After his pro day, I think he’ll get into the second round. I think he’d be a nice fit for a team like the Falcons.”

Here are some of the other DRAFT SPOTLIGHTS:

Draft spotlight: Alabama NT Josh Chapman

Draft spotlight: Florida State LT Zebrie Sanders

Draft spotlight: Montana CB Trumaine Johnson

Draft spotlight: Virginia Tech RB David Wilson

Draft spotlight: Clemson DE Andre Branch

Draft spotlight: Marshall DE Vinny Curry

ProFootballTalk.com’s visit tracker

Players that the Atlanta Falcons reportedly held a workout with, visited the team facility or both.

Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles.

Alabama defensive tackle Josh Chapman.

Vanderbilt defensive end Tim Fugger.

Delaware guard/center Gino Gradkowski.

Louisiana-Lafayette tight end Ladarius Green.

Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward. Click here for STORY.

South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram.

Montana defensive back Trumaine Johnson. Click here for STORY.

Cincinnati tight end Adrien Robinson.

California offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

Virginia Tech running back David Wilson.

Iowa State offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele.

Oklahoma offensive tackle Donald Stephenson.

Illinois safety Tavon Wilson.

Falcons Draft Selections

The Falcons traded away their first and fourth round picks of the 2012 draft as part of the Julio Jones trade with the Cleveland Browns.

2nd Round (No. 55 overall)

3rd Round (No. 84 overall)

5th Round (No. 157 overall)

6th Round (No. 192 overall)

7th Round (No. 229 overall)

7th Round (Compensatory Selection, No. 249 overall)

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–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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hbcuclassics

April 9th, 2012
6:20 am

Falcons Easy Button 1.0

55. Bobby Massie, 6′6, 315, OT
84. Zebrie Sanders, 6′6, 308, OT/OG
157. Chris Rainey, 5′8, 180, WR/RB/KR
192. Christian Thompson, 6′2, 220, S
229. Ryan Davis, 6′3, 245, DE/OLB
249. Justin Ferrell, 5′10, 185, CB/KR

Falcons mean business, infuse talent into OL immediately.
Rainey lightning missing since Norword – 4.3 flat dont lie.
Thompson – Combine top performer at safety.
Ryan Davis – Hybrid DE/OLB – 24.5 sacks in 2011.
Ferrell – cover corner, ball hawk w/ return ability.

bsg3003

April 9th, 2012
6:45 am

In all the mocks I’ve seen, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Massie that low rainey pick seems like a fan move as well. Already have 3 good receivers and 3 decent backs adding rainy would be a waste of a draft pick

Whopper Dawg

April 9th, 2012
7:09 am

“I think they’ve got to. . . figure out what they want to be on that line,” Nawrocki said. “They’ve kind of got a hodge-podge of guys that don’t truly fit a power blocking scheme. They are not necessarily a zone or movement type unit either. It’s kind of a mixture.

“I think they really have to solidify what they really want to become. They’d like to get bigger and establish the ground game. I think that’s where Mike Smith would like to go.”

Boy, that is a nice way to say our offensive line is a mess. Interestingly enough, if he is also right about Smith, he is right about the offensive line, then we are back to the power running game, so why did we trade the draft bank for a flippin’ wide receiver to get more explosive????????

It is this lack of direction that keeps the Falcons right where they are. Atop the middle of the pack.

GDawg

April 9th, 2012
7:32 am

We really need a DE for the first pick. IMO

Falcon James

April 9th, 2012
8:00 am

I hate it when the falcon come out and say they are behind a player like Baker and then a article come out saying something else. Who I suppose to believe. Then it get more comfusing when they say they want more speed and explosioness then say we got to be a power line run game. The falcon didn’t get this way over night. In my opinion, Mularky got us into this mess with the line.

Marcus

April 9th, 2012
8:02 am

DOL,
have you heard any projected draft position for Boise State LT Nate Potter?

Smartguy

April 9th, 2012
8:03 am

Marcus mcNeil.

The Real Falcon

April 9th, 2012
8:05 am

If we are going to take a LT at 55 then why didn’t we cut Baker and use the extra money in free agency?

The Real Falcon

April 9th, 2012
8:07 am

Exactly why is there no mention of a TE to fill in for Gonzo when he retires after this season?

waynester

April 9th, 2012
8:13 am

Doesn’t it strike any of ya’ll as curious that we have no 1st rd selection, yet we’ve “visited” with Melvin Ingram(DE SCar)–a top 10 player? Lots of mocks have him going to JAX at #7, yet DE isn’t Mularkey’s biggest need–WR is. Could we be looking to make a big draft-day trade to again move up into the top 10? Is there a WR on our roster JAX may deem worthy of a high 1st rounder? Are his initials RW? Only the Shadow knows….

Ivan

April 9th, 2012
8:17 am

“If we are going to take a LT at 55 then why didn’t we cut Baker and use the extra money in free agency?”

Their would be no extra money cutting Baker

Falcon Fan

April 9th, 2012
8:24 am

I think Matt Ryan works better with a blocking tight end. Either that or fix the oline, but Matt’s best season was clearly his first when he had much better blocking. I wouldn’t get too caught up in trying to replace Gonzalez right now with so many other needs.

thouhtful

April 9th, 2012
8:43 am

I can see the FALCONS and TD are going to blotch another Draft. You don’t go to the SUPER BOWL with Rookie OT’s and a college OL Coach. The Falcons need guys who can make an impact now! I don’t care what they say the Falcons should go after Orson Charls, a TE who can stretch the field and be used like the Patriots use their 2 TE’s, plus someone who can replace Tony G. at a high level when he retires. They should hope Brandon Boykin falls to the 3rd, then address the OL, and DL. There will be plenty of veteren OL and DL players who will be a bargin on the FA and waiver list if the FALCONS do their homework. The goal has to be to win the SUPER BOWL now and the FALCONS have to act and draft acordingly!

Tony

April 9th, 2012
8:51 am

The Falcons need a Free safety

Chris

April 9th, 2012
8:52 am

@WHOPPERDOG – A) JULIO MAKES RUNNING THE BALL MUCH EASIER, AND B) THROWING THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD IS MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU CAN GET 4 YARDS A CARRY. ACTUALLY COACHING IS MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU CAN GET 4-5 YARDS ON EVERY CARRY. NO MORE OF THE 1, 3, 0, -1 YARDS ON RUSHING ATTEMPTS. TELL THE DEFENSE YOU ARE RUNNING, AND WHERE YOU ARE RUNNING AND STILL BE ABLE TO GET 4 YARDS.

Khaos

April 9th, 2012
9:00 am

Boy, we could have used some of the money spent on Decoud and Biermann (plus cut Baker)and addressed this need. Oh well..

Fire Smitty and Dimitroff

usbummer

April 9th, 2012
9:05 am

Chris is correct. Julio Jones and the Falcon’s passing attack will be more effective with a better ground game. And conversely, the ground game will be better (assuming a good line) with an efficient passing game. One feeds off the other. Use this draft to improve out interior line and we will be a better team.

St Simons - we're on Island time

April 9th, 2012
9:18 am

Well, Matt Millen was a GM. Dummytoff is going to have to work
a little harder, but just a few more busts and he can take him.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:19 am

Hbcuclassic — That’s a good looking list.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:20 am

Marcus — Fourth to fifth round on Potter.

St Simons - we're on Island time

April 9th, 2012
9:20 am

Just a little more work, Thomas D, and you’ll blow right by Matt Millen.

rash

April 9th, 2012
9:21 am

who ever they draft will be a good pick td knows the needs for the falcons…and all of yall will be saying what a terrible pick should have drafted this guy that guy it always happens with yall people on here

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:21 am

Smartguy – Will do my weekly check-in with his agent Alvin Keels.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:22 am

The Real Falcon – It would have been a cap hit, not a cap saving.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:24 am

The Real Falcons – The tight end group is porous. I think they like LaDarius Green (La.-Lafayette), but might not want to take him in the third. He could be gone by the fifth.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:26 am

Falcon Fan — I concur. Actually, they are never going to “replace” Tony G. You just need a starter on deck. Maybe that’s Palmer or Winterswyk down the road.

VDeuce

April 9th, 2012
9:34 am

I don’t have a problem with them re-signing DeCoud & Biermann, they were CHEAP. However, I DO NOT understand WHY they franchised Grimes, when there were TALLER & MUCH CHEAPER options available to take his place!!! If you wanna complain about having no cap money, start with Grimes & his 10 million. I’m not sure they shouldve brought back Turner AND Snelling either, one or the other shouldve been let go.

PMC

April 9th, 2012
9:35 am

Guessing what they will do is a fools errand. It doesn’t matter what their biggest weakness is, it means nothing as to how they draft if history is any indication. Dimitroff is going to take the most talented player he feels they can get almost regardless of position. HE drafted a freaking punter for gosh sakes.

PMC

April 9th, 2012
9:38 am

Grimes is one of the best corners in the NFL whether people want to bicker about his height or not. It’s all there in statistics. When he’s healthy he is more than athletic enought to make up a height difference and he’s a much better tackler than he should be for his size and weight but he’s simply not going to do much in run support. They franchised him becuase they either couldn’t come to an agreement or they don’t want him long term. They took the same approach last year.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

April 9th, 2012
9:40 am

The offensive line issues SEEM to be the major issue for the birds but based on FA moves it doesn’t appear the Falcons management think it’s a MAJOR issue otherwise they would have paid money for someone. JMO but the draft of Rogers as a RB made little sense and he’s added very little to the team. Unless the new OC intends to attempt to increase the vertical game (can Ryan throw the ball 35 yards) and be succesful then what we’ve seen the last couple of years will be what we see again. Nolan might get it done on defense but the new OC is a big question mark based on what he did at Jax.

123reason

April 9th, 2012
9:42 am

When are we going to work out Bruce Irvin. The guy can flat out rush the qb.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:43 am

VDeuce – You don’t just kick a 1,200-yard Pro Bowl back to the curb.

VDeuce

April 9th, 2012
9:44 am

I can understand them not going after Mario Williams (even though i disagree with them). But the Falcons chose not to go after Grubbs or Nicks in free agency, & both of them were affordable. They could’ve had one of the best & deepest O-lines in the NFL, instead we are left to HOPE & WISH for Baker & Mike Johnson to be healthy & more productive. D-Led is the FIRST person that I’ve heard say Baker would be a cap hit. Everyone else has said we save 2 million by cutting him. I don’t know who’s right or wrong. With their limited draft & Dimitroff’s stubbornness to stand by mediocre players, I think this could be a lost season for the Falcons.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:45 am

PMC — But we have to do something with the draft just a few weeks away. Remember, we all got the Spoon pick right and I looked smart when I went on ESPN. I know they thought long and hard before dropping the tag on Grimes.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 9th, 2012
9:47 am

Wet Willie — Thanks to poor drafting, he didn’t have any receivers in Jax. The running game was outstanding.

VDeuce

April 9th, 2012
9:49 am

You’re right D-Led, & actually Turner is a 1300 yd runner. But I figured they would draft an understudy to Turner instead of bringing back Snelling.

Big Crimson 75

April 9th, 2012
9:58 am

I’d use what picks we have on Defense & nothing but Defense.

VDeuce

April 9th, 2012
9:58 am

Grimes ain’t worth 10 million a yr. NO cornerback is worth that much money in today’s NFL where the rules favor the WRs. Grimes also quit on the team down the stretch because he was worried about getting a big contract. The defense performed pretty good without him in the playoff game. Actually they were very decent without him during 4 games he missed at the end of the season. There were SEVERAL adequate starters at CB who signed for LESS than what Grimes wants. The Giants & Patriots had two of the worst secondaries in football last year. Pass coverage is OVERRATED, the pass rush is you must have.

JSS

April 9th, 2012
10:14 am

PlanB

April 9th, 2012
10:16 am

Agreeing with VDeuce and not DOL. We gave up many picks last year for JJ to have a great offense. We have power and speed in our backfield with Snelling and Quizz (plus they are better recievers than Turner) and most will agree MS keeps good players on the sideline too often. Check Snellings YPC when he was given a chance when Turner was hurt.
We have good recievers in RW,JJ HD & TG. Couldn’t ask for better. Only problem is time to throw and offensive plays. Get a good OL and if MR can’t get the ball to the recievers or backs, can him. I think he can with time to throw.
If Turner has some left in his tank as DOL says, trade him. Get a pick for him and save some cap money. Someone said, Trade then when they are on their way up and not down.

SavDawg

April 9th, 2012
10:45 am

We have proved we cannot score on elite teams. Ryan is always under pressure. How can our defense do thier job if we are constanly 1 series or 2series & out.
If we don’t improve our offense line we are doomed to be maybe the leader of the mediorce pack. we may or may not make the playoffs but we for absoluty will always be 1 and done

Mal

April 9th, 2012
10:48 am

What are the Falcons and Thomas D up to? They worked out Melvin Ingram? Most mock drafts have him going early to mid first round.

PMC

April 9th, 2012
10:48 am

Indeed DOL, Indeed, happy for the coverage friend. Just tempering my own expectations really.

SawThat1nce

April 9th, 2012
11:19 am

#1 priority should be improving that OLine.
#2 should be improving the pass rush. IMO.

ronhen24

April 9th, 2012
11:24 am

Just draft the best available players and put into our scheme and play football. Forget all of this reading on their strengths and weaknesses and put them in position to succeed. As much as I hate to say this and don’t like New Orleans, Jahri Evans(4th round to NO)is out of Bloomsburg, Marques Colston(7th round to NO) Hofstra and Carl Nicks (Formerly 5th round to NO, now TB) Nebraska. Both guards are pro bowlers and Marques could be. We will be fine with anyone at this point. They don’t have to be a first round grade. These guys who spend time busting their behind to make the roster, seems to be the players you want. The new OL coach have been doing this for over 30 years; give the man a chance. Obviously, he know the ins and outs of the offensive line. That is what we need in the ATL; someone who know what they are doing, vice someone who is learning what they are doing (Mularkey/BVG). GO FALCONS!

D'ville Phil

April 9th, 2012
11:31 am

Marcus – draft projections I have seen have Nate Potter going in either the 4th or 5th round. I think he is a very nice prospect that late in the draft – good eye.

D'ville Phil

April 9th, 2012
11:35 am

btw – the GDawg above is not the g-dawg from falcons messageboard – just wanted all to know. As Mr. Incredible said “He is not affiliated with me!” :)

evil empire

April 9th, 2012
11:36 am

build a new stadium in north cobb or cherokee county or don’t build one at all…get it out of downtown….

evil empire

April 9th, 2012
11:37 am

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