THE AFTERMATH: Grade the Falcons draft

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith will get to see their new rookies at minicamp, May 11 through 13. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith will get to see their new rookies at minicamp, May 11 through 13. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

FLOWERY BRANCH  – You all can stop by and grade the Falcons’ draft today.

        Here are my four thoughts before I head off to do my civic duty and serve as a judge for the Falcons cheerleader tryouts.

  1. WHAT’S UP AT FULLBACK?: It can’t be a good thing for Ovie Mughelli that they drafted a fullback. While TD wouldn’t comment about the salary cap implications, the team likely doesn’t want to pay almost $4 million for a fullback that will probably be on the field just 20 percent of the plays. Also, they are low on funds and need some room for the rookies.
  2. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE: I’m warming up to the Lamar Holmes’ pick. He seemed to have a mean and nasty attitude when we chatted.
  3. THE SACK EXCHANGE: The Jonathan Massaquoi pick was a winner if he can get to the quarterback. If Ray Edwards and Kroy Biermann (Aside: I missed the wedding show. How was it?) don’t pick it up, he could get a shot. He plays specials teams and can move ahead of Lawrence Sidbury, who’s had a tough time on specials.
  4.  4. THE BACK END: Charles Mitchell seemed like a nice kid. He’ll have to move ahead of Shann Schillinger to be the top backup. He likely won’t able to challenge DeCoud or Moore as a rookie.

Also, there are a bunch of unreliable and unconfirmed free agent signings out there on Twitter. I’m going to wait for the team’s official list on Monday.

Here’s a look at the draft pick and remember to leave your draft grade for the Falcons:

 Peter Konz, C/G

Second round (55th overall)

Wisconsin

6-foot-5, 313 pounds

Hometown: Neenah, Wis.

Notes: Konz was considered the top center in the draft. He was very effective blocking in Wisconsin’s inside zone-blocking scheme and was skilled at getting outside on toss sweeps. They also ran a lot of inside-power and play-action. “Konz has Pro Bowl potential written all over him if he can prove durable and play an entire year,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “He is a huge anchor with outstanding athleticism. … He could be a factor at guard as well with the way he pulled and trapped at the center position with the Badgers.” Konz says he models his game after Nick Mangold. “He went to Ohio State and is a great player. He was a tough and physical guy. … Joe Thomas, a great Wisconsin offensive lineman. Every offensive lineman at Wisconsin tries to be like Joe in one aspect or another. We just try to be solid people and great football players.”

Lamar Holmes, offensive tackle

Third round (91st overall)

Southern Mississippi

6-foot-6, 334 pounds

Hometown: Gastonia, N.C.

Notes: Started his career at Itawamba Community College before transferring to Southern Mississippi. He played right and left tackle in junior college. In 2011, he played in all 13 games at Southern Miss, making six starts at left tackle. He was a first-team all-Conference USA pick last season after starting 14 games at left tackle. He was a team captain. He was projected as late pick by the Pro Football Weekly and rated as the 29th- best tackle in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. “It was great being a captain, because my teammates voted for me,” Holmes said. “Coming from junior college, they really didn’t have to do that because they didn’t know me. I guess they voted me as captain because they seen me work hard every day.”

Bradie Ewing, fullback

Fifth round (157th overall)

Wisconsin

5-foot-11, 243 pounds

Hometown: Richland Center, Wis.

Notes: Started his career as a walk-on for the Badgers. After his second season he was awarded a scholarship. He is noted for his blocking. He registered 30 touchdown-resulting blocks as he cleared the way for running back Montee Ball. He caught all 28 passes targeted to him last season and 19 of those catches went for first downs and 16 were of 10 yards or more. He was a team captain. “I’m just a versatile guy,” Ewing said. “I can do all the things as a fullback. I can block. I can catch. I can split out as a receiver. I think it’s my versatility [that the Falcons liked].”

Jonathan Massaquoi, defensive end

Fifth round (164th overall)

Troy

6-foot-2, 264 pounds

Hometown: Lawrenceville

Notes: Massaquoi, who moved to the United States from Liberia when he was six months old, played for Bradley Warren at Central Gwinnett. He committed to Troy coming out of high school, but started his career at Butler Community College in Kansas. He played there for a year before honoring his commitment to Troy. “He’s another guy coming out of a Troy program that has been quietly supplying the NFL with good players over the past several years,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “Massaquoi was a good, solid player at Troy for two years.” Massaquoi ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds at the scouting combine, had a 33 1/2 inch vertical jump and lifted 225 pounds 20 times.

Charles Mitchell, strong safety

Sixth round (192nd overall)

Mississippi State

5-foot-11, 203 pounds

Hometown: Clarksdale, Miss.

Notes: Played in 50 games and made 38 starts for the Bulldogs. He was a hard hitter with 188 tackles and four career interceptions. He played as a freshmen after being named Mississippi’s Gatorade player of the year. “Mitchell is an athletic kid with good range in the secondary,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “He has just average speed, but very impressive leaping ability, and he can play either free or strong safety. … He will be a borderline starter in the NFL. … He’ll also be an asset on special teams.” He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds at Mississippi State’s Pro Day. He lifted 225 pounds, 19 times and had a 37-inch vertical jump at the scouting combine. He was a team captain.

Travian Robertson, Defensive tackle

Seventh round (249th overall)

South Carolina

6-foot-4, 300 pounds

Hometown: Laurinburg, N.C.

Notes: He started all 14 games in 2010 after his 2009 season was cut short by injury. He finished with 42 tackles, 10 tackles for losses and four sacks. He started all 13 games for the Gamecocks last season and had 49 tackles and a blocked a kick. He was a team captain. He was a preseason all-SEC second-team pick by Phil Steele. He was considered a key player in the interior of the Gamecocks’ defense and was known for getting great penetration and having a high motor. Robertson has earned his degree in criminal justice. Overall, he started 32 of 56 games he played in at South Carolina. He was rated as the 25th-best defensive tackle in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. 

 

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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337 comments Add your comment

Bad Grade

April 29th, 2012
9:15 am

MonkDaddy

April 29th, 2012
9:16 am

rabiddawg1

April 29th, 2012
9:18 am

Enter your comments here

Falcon FAAAN

April 29th, 2012
9:19 am

Nice work Falcons! Let’s turn this into W’s this season.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 29th, 2012
9:19 am

Offense draft grade – A

Defense draft grade (including Samuel for a 7th) – B

Jim in Va

April 29th, 2012
9:20 am

MonkDaddy

April 29th, 2012
9:20 am

Dang it.

B minus.

I like the idea of beefing up the lines early. Konz is A+ value if he stays healthy but we have had some tough luck with injuries as of late with TDs picks. I like Holmes – I just feel like we could have gotten him in round 5. I’m comfortable with moving in the new FB and cutting Ovie. He isn’t a bad player but $4m for a pure blocking FB?

Trading a 6th for Asante Samuel make this draft better than some have said.

rabiddawg1

April 29th, 2012
9:21 am

trying to be first but it was all for naught. Draft was ok. Not great. Like the konz pick for line depth. Don’t forget that our first round pick was a pro bowl corner.

Michael

April 29th, 2012
9:22 am

In my opinion did not cover their top needs. Why draft a fullback? My grade? C-

dom

April 29th, 2012
9:22 am

I loved this draft. Nothing sexy about it – real blue-collar picks, which is exactly what was needed. The O-line should be bigger and meaner. The cuts that are coming will be a little painful (I love Ovie), but that’s the harsh reality of playing in the NFL. The competition for offensive line positions should be fierce with a new coach and an injection of new talent to compete for a number of spots. Good job TD and Co.

Brian

April 29th, 2012
9:24 am

I am going to say C+, not because of the quality of players but because of the lack of picks. I really liked the first two picks as I felt the O-Line was a top priority. The other reason for the C+ was was a lack of a pick for a TE.

The Dawg Consultant

April 29th, 2012
9:27 am

Overall I would say given the number (or lack thereof) of draft picks they had I thought the Falcons did well. Some solid players. Not a lot of work out worriers, but solid football players. Now its time to see how well our coaches can elevate what we have.

Michael

April 29th, 2012
9:28 am

Knoz is a sickly lineman who does not have NFL strength Other players? No comment. They overlooked Cox who is NFL ready and allowed the Eagles to have their best draft in years My grade C- but I love the Samuel deal

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 29th, 2012
9:29 am

Coming into the draft with no 1st or 4th, TD came out of it with

A) The top rated C to replace our aging warrior, McClure (2nd rounder)

B) One of the top, if not the top rated FB to replace an invaluable but injured FB, Ovie. (5th rounder)

C) An impressive lump of clay for Pat Hill to mold into our next LT (3rd rounder)

D) A pro bowl CB to improve a sub standard pass D. This will allow us to make a run in the playoffs (7th rounder, but it may cost us our injured FB because of cap rules – covered in round 5)

E) A backup Safety to replace Sanders (6th round)

F) Depth that will fight to make the roster at DE and DT (extra 5th and 7th comp).

Additionally, TD’s grade improved by turning the 84th pick into the LT project that he apparently wanted AND a local DE that could push Sidbury off the roster and improve Special teams, while setting up a rotation of fresh pass rushers for Nolan.

robertussen

April 29th, 2012
9:29 am

this team is looking good, but i still want to see what else we are about to do. it’s no secret that ovie’s days are numbered in red and black. even though i dont like losing the former porter gaud stand out, the cap space is needed. there are always cap casualties after the draft and players we can pick up too. we still will get udfas signed. with the picks we had, i say we did good, loving the konz pick.

Louie

April 29th, 2012
9:30 am

Enter your comments here

Falcon Fan

April 29th, 2012
9:32 am

I will give them the benefit of the doubt, as most people are grading the Falcons like they had a full draft to work with. I think that for where they picked they got some pretty good players. We will see how it translates onto the field.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 29th, 2012
9:33 am

No penalty for a lack of TE, next year’s class will be strong, stronger than this year and we will have more picks. TD paid TG 7 mill to come back and negate the need to reach this year, when we have a paucity of picks.

If TG decides to retire, he can always come in at camp and help train/teach the new TE’s how he does it. It happens.

pilgrim

April 29th, 2012
9:35 am

Im relatively pleased with what the Falcons did. I give them a B ,B+ considering where they drafted and what their glaring needs were in the draft.The fullback pick as a little random but if it helps pass protection and fortifies the run on the cheap..then its a good call. All hail Dimitroff

JSS

April 29th, 2012
9:38 am

A solid C in terms of the draft. Koonz is a pick they had to make because they passed on the Pounceys the past two drafts. If you’re going to draft players with structural problems, you’ve got to get a staff capable of getting folks healthy and keeping them that way! This house has a truly flawed foundation (physically), fix that…

Yo Vince

April 29th, 2012
9:38 am

I would give it a B+ They added beef where we need it and good character players

SCFalcon

April 29th, 2012
9:39 am

Travian Robertson is a great pick up. He was the strongest player on the Gamecock roster. Team Captain! And keep your eye on free agent CB Marty Markett. He earned a scholarship and eventually started after walking on the Gamecock team….world class speed, former track guy.

Overall, it wasn’t a sexy draft but we filled our needs! Go Falcons!

Mr. Costanza

April 29th, 2012
9:42 am

Josh

April 29th, 2012
9:43 am

I like F3’s take. TD had limited resources with which to work. So positionally, given those limitations, he filled needs and at some point he needs to be given credit for doing so. Time will tell on the talent side of things – that’s why most “expert graders” are giving the Falcons a “C.” Ultimately, I think this will be remembered as the draft that landed us Samuel.

BFALCON

April 29th, 2012
9:43 am

I give the Falcons a D-. I think Konz is going to be a starter a C or G.However, M.Adams,the OT from Ohio ST. is a left tackle who could start from day one. We could have drafted Ben.Jones in rd. 3. As for the Holmes pick, I question his level of competition and according to the draft pros, we could have drafted him in the sixth rd. Big reach there. The one that gets me hot is that we did not draft a single TE.This is Tony G last year and he does not have a legit replacement on the roster. R.Kelly M.Palmer is not the answer. Unless the Falcons go out and sign D.Clark or V.Shiancoe (the FA from Min) we are hurting at the TE position. The only pick that I really liked was T.Robertson of S.Carolina in the 7th rd. Saw him play against Georgia and his motor was high. If I am TD, I cut P.Jerry right now. Also a FB in the 5th rd. This must mean that Mughelli is going to be asked to take a paycut or be released. My suggestions for a couple of Free agent signings because this draft did not fill all the holes. I would try to sign M.McNeil OT (if he checks out medically or V.Carey OT from Dolphins. We need another TE,so sign D.Clark or V.Shiancoe. Lastly sign A.Franklin DT or trade to get O.Umenyura(I know spelling is wrong) DE from Giants. The Falcons need to release the following players: Sam Baker, P.Jerry, C.Owens, Mike Johnson. These players have been given ample time to contribute and have not on a consistant basis. In my opinion, this is a make or break year for the Falcons as a franchise.They have shown the can win on a yearly basis, but to be serious contenders for a championship every year, like the Pats,Giants,Packers,Steelers, Saints, Ravens. The Falcons must make the playoffs this year and go deep, at least make the NFC championship game.

jarvis

April 29th, 2012
9:46 am

This draft should be graded in February 2015. Doing otherwise is just lip service, Mr. Kiper.

FalconDawg

April 29th, 2012
9:48 am

Michael, they drafted a fullback so they could clear some salary cap room by releasing Ovie.

usbummer

April 29th, 2012
9:53 am

Considering our draft limitations and our position within the draft, I think TD did a very good job. B+

thouhtful

April 29th, 2012
9:54 am

This was not a good Draft, C minus tops. I thought the Falcons want to go to the Super Bowl??? Then we needed players who can make an immediate impact! Orson Charles went in the 4th round??? We could have taken him in the 3rd and he would have had a present and future impact. Clemson’s Brandon Thompson or that big OT from Iowa State could have been our second pick. I don’t know about shedding Oglie for that guy from Wisc. we saw what happened when he went out last year. I wish they would take a chance on the Dawgs FB/TE Larry Figgins and TE Aron White, GT DE Jason Peters and Roddy White and the QB from Boise St. as undrafted rookies. This will be key, who they sign as undrafted and who they pick up as late cuts come out like the way we got SANDERS last year, this will be a way we cab get to the Super Bowl

LakeDawg

April 29th, 2012
9:57 am

Konz was a great pick up at a position of need. That pick made the Falcons draft as far as I’m concerned. I think the Falcons did a nice job after Konz of picking up guys that could be diamonds in the rough. With Konz and Samuel for a 7th rounder, I give the Falcons a solid B. No game changers, but good players that fill some holes. Nice job.

BTW It must be remembered that, in part, this draft was a scramble to make up for the loss of Dahl. That was a boneheaded move by the Falcons to let him go.

Ward

April 29th, 2012
10:01 am

I would rate the draft a C-… I just don’t think they got a lot of value from any of their picks. I think they could have gone with Mike Adams (who the Pittsburg selected right after us) over the C from Wisco that has a history of injuries. Adams has a lot of upside long term…Vinny Curry could have been a real value pick for us too at DE, but understand the need to build OL better. With the 3rd round pick, I would have went with Brandon Thompson at DT, Ben Jones at C, or Bobby Massie at OT…If Massie is the pick we have bookend tackles and can move Claybo inside to guard and have a very beefy OL. The first 5th rounder I would have grabbed Terrell Manning at S. I think he would be a great back-up and special team guy. The 2nd 5th rounder I really like Massaqoui a lot… In the 6th round you could have grabbed a FB and would the last pick I would have grabbed the kid from LB from ASU…I think that would have been a home run draft.

Nativebird

April 29th, 2012
10:03 am

B minus. the B because our so called “brain trust” finally (finally) decided to focus and do what every average joe six-pack Falcon Fan knew what to do TWO years ago….address the O-line. All the non-board rated “rough diamond”, off-the-radar picks, effort to prove our scouting genius’s are more brilliant than the thousands of professional talent evaluators combined continues to be a joke. Earning a D, which pulls down the A minus they otherwise would of earned. Dimitroff needs to drop the ego and accept the big boards for the value that they are. They DO indeed provide the best probabilitys you can get in potential success in the NfL.

dudah

April 29th, 2012
10:04 am

We need a RETURN MAN…dont tell me D Franks is the answer
would have loved to see them get boykin, and possibly a running back.. this is Turner’s last year here
I guess considering the Julio & Asante trades lumped in with this draft.. I go with a B-/C+ pending who is really an NFL Player…TBD

frank

April 29th, 2012
10:06 am

I give it an F.

Disgusted

April 29th, 2012
10:10 am

My grade is D+. There are questions on Konz’ strength, Holmes is a bust, Ewing could have been had later and the rest of it is a bunch o f”Who’s HE’s.”

Massaqua is a probable projecct but he is a way away.

chris

April 29th, 2012
10:10 am

I’ll give it a B…….We had to do something on Offensive Line and I was glad to see the Falcons spend a couple picks addressing it. I thought with Orson Charles available that the Falcons would take a TE this year that could spend a year learning under the best in the game before Gonazlez retires. Charles can catch and make big plays from the TE position and was disappointed the Falcons didn’t take a shot.
FB I agree is a money thing……Ovie is going Bye Bye

Ignition

April 29th, 2012
10:11 am

johnm

April 29th, 2012
10:11 am

a+ but i hate how people grade drafts. Fact is noone knows. I can tell ya though the jags def get an f. Glad im not a jacksonvile fan

Disgusted

April 29th, 2012
10:14 am

Holmes was not the biggest reach in this draft, look how Belicheck flubbed with the number 48 pick Tavon Wilson from Illinois, a sure fire bust, couild have been a 6th or 7th pick at best and they reach to get him in the second round?????

Then BB goes out and trades his number 62 down and nets what, a 3rd, a 6th and couple of 7th. Now that is not value.

NE did a great job in the 1st round, but flubbed the rest of it.

Pats fans have never really forvien them for trading down in 09 while passing on Clay Matthews and netting three scrubs. I don’t like that trade down mindset, playmakers win games.

jtv

April 29th, 2012
10:14 am

First question. How do you get a gig to be a judge for cheerleader tryouts?!!!!

Thought it was a solid ‘address the needs draft’ nothing flashy. I love the FB pick. as much as I love ovie and we see how much we need him we can’t eat up 4 mil on the cap for a FB in a passing league. We got a lot of guys on that O line now with the draft and the Manuwai pickup (really think he has a lot of nastiness left in him), somebody needs to step up and own the job and hopefully Pat Hill can get the most out of them. Without a first round selection I give it a c+ add in the asante trade and I give it a B+.

indianman

April 29th, 2012
10:15 am

i think they got what needed a+

Ron

April 29th, 2012
10:15 am

Dump Ovie and Bambie Baker to free up some money, then keep shopping. Dahl came in the lower rounds (maybe even free agent?) and some people think he was the second coming we let go. He was more mean than good. We need more attitude! For what they had in numbers, I’d give them a B+.

Disgusted

April 29th, 2012
10:16 am

Why won’t the Falcons upgrade the back up QB position—What is it about Redman that is so wonderful. They keep him around and he is not good and never will be.

Bruce

April 29th, 2012
10:16 am

chase

April 29th, 2012
10:18 am

This draft was a D+ AT BEST…

Problem #1 They didn’t draft a TE ?!?!?! ….Okay so Fleemer wasn’t going to be there BUT Gruden and Kiper had expected ORSON CHARLES to be late 1st to a 2nd round pick…The Falcons could have taken him for great value in the 4th round and had him learn from Tony Gonzales this year then take over…DUMB MOVE…afraid they’ll rue this decision like they did not taking Hines Ward the pick before he went!

Problem #2 and you’ll just think I’m a “georgia guy” BUT you overlook a BEN JONES who is a 4-year starter at Center in the SEC who is all-SEC and an all-American and is right down the road to select a Junior from Wisconsin who is smaller, less experienced, and plays against lesser competition

Problems #3 and #4 and #5 – You didn’t draft even a token Linebacker or Running Back…..With Lofton gone and Turner burning his last legs, we need depth there! …What does it tell you that the Eagles “gave” us Asante Samual and drafted BOYKIN?????….Tells you if you were smart you’d know what they know, Asante doesn’t have much left, Grimes is Franchised and theyy see Boykin as good enough to come in and start…why didn’t the Falcons?!?!? – Could’ve had BOYKIN TOO!

Leads to Problem #6 – Next year you MUST draft a big time LB, RB, and CB….good luck with that!

BAD DRAFT ….just BAD

Mikey

April 29th, 2012
10:18 am

Including our new cornerback Asante Samuel, this week we elevated the Falcons’ capability. I give this draft a B+ with a chance of moving to an A when we get to see how many of these guys make the team. Some of these seemed like a reach to me according to the esteemed opinions of talking heads (that talk for a living). I have a MUCH higher regard for TD, Mike Smith and their coaches/recruiters though.

- We have a proven GREAT corner for depth against the 4 and 5 receiver sets from the big boys
- In spite of no first round pick, we manged to get Konz, one of the top O-linement out there AND at a position of dire need for next year.
- We got a great future fullback in Ewing. What is a fullback on the Falcons if not a blocker? This guy is a blocker who can catch the ball. I love and respect Ovie and wish him all the best but his time has come. He costs too much, has to recover from a terrible injury and is getting old.
- Some of the rest will push their respective positions and I suspect two or three of them will make the team which is pretty good considering that this is already a highly competitive team.

cwltank

April 29th, 2012
10:19 am

OMG I just watched Chad Faulcon highlights. I will bet anyone & everything I own, that this Safety make the roster. I am speechless on why he went undrafted. Hell, Ipray they sign him 5 years lol

Jeff

April 29th, 2012
10:20 am

The #1 problem last year was the Offensive line. This draft should help with the first picks designed to bring more power & depth to the line / blocking FB.

Also, team captain was a criteria – good decision –

Grade = A

Larry

April 29th, 2012
10:25 am

When you give up your 27th pick last season, and 22nd this season, and come away with the draft’s best receiver last season and best Center this season, that’s a solid “A” in anyone’s book.

In one year this team has added Julio Jones, JaQuiz Rogers, Ray Edwards, Asante Samuel, Peter Konz, a lot of good picks below them, a new Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line Coach, and one of the very best Defensive Coordinators (with Head Coaching skill and experiance) in Nolan.

By anyone’s measurement…that’s getting it done!

thejama

April 29th, 2012
10:27 am

Without a 1st rd pick and no real need for WR’s & RB’s I thought TD did a good job filling “core” positions. I think we were fortunate that the #1 Center fell to us, although any team who got to pick in the top 5 in rounds 1 & 2 were very fortunate. I really like getting the FB but it will make Ovie a cap casualty. The draft will yield several players that will be starters immediately and in a year or two. Grade B-