Archive for April, 2012

Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin visited Falcons

Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin during his stint with the 49ers. Paul Spinelli/The Associated Press

Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin during his stint with the 49ers. Paul Spinelli/The Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH – Veteran free-agent defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin visited the Falcons on Monday, according to his representatives.

Franklin, a nine-year veteran, has played with Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10) and last season with New Orleans. He was a fifth-round pick out of Tennessee in 2003 by the Ravens.

Franklin, 31, is 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds. He played for Falcons new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who was San Francisco’s head coach from 2005-08.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

Continue reading Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin visited Falcons »

Alge Crumpler to announce Falcons’ top pick

Tight end Alge Crumpler spikes the ball in the endzone celebrating his second 4th quarter touchdown against Seattle during the 2007 season. CURTIS COMPTON / AJC

Tight end Alge Crumpler spikes the ball in the endzone celebrating his second 4th quarter touchdown against Seattle during the 2007 season. CURTIS COMPTON / AJC

FLOWERY BRANCH — Former Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler will announce the Falcons’ second-round pick of the NFL draft on Friday.

The NFL draft starts on Thursday, but the Falcons traded away their first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns as part of the deal that helped them land wide receiver Julio Jones.

Crumpler was the team’s second-round pick (35 overall) in 2001. He went on to make four Pro Bowls and was named to the All-Pro team twice. He played for the Falcons from 2001 to 2007. He ended his career with the Tennessee Titans (2008-09) and the New England Patriots (2010).

This will be the second straight year that the league will have retired players announce the choices by their former teams in the second round.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at

Continue reading Alge Crumpler to announce Falcons’ top pick »

A study of Dimitroff’s last four drafts

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff could get "some bonus" to go shopping with. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff could get "some bonus" to go shopping with. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC).

 

FLOWERY BRANCH — Under the esteemed Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots have taken a hoarder approach to the NFL draft.

Over the past few years, he made moves to amass picks and used them to create depth and competition.

After four years of drafting, a picture of Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s draft approach has come into focus. The Belichick disciple has taken a different path.

Dimitroff is not a draft-pick hoarder. He looks at his potential picks as valuable chips to slide up and down the draft board to get targeted talent.

A study of his draft moves reveals that the Falcons likely will move around the draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday, at some point in order to address their needs. In each of the past four drafts, Dimitroff has made at least one trade.

Last season there was the 5-for-1 mega-deal …

Continue reading A study of Dimitroff’s last four drafts »

Grimes a no-show at start of offseason program

UPDATE: Cornerback Brent Grimes did not show up at the start of the offseason training program on Monday.

PREVIOUS POST:

FLOWERY BRANCH — Cornerback Brent Grimes is not expected to attend the start of the Falcons’ voluntary offseason training program which starts today.

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes intercepts Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes intercepts Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

“The workouts or phase one, will be voluntary and that’s something that we can’t control,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Obviously, we’d like to have him in the building, but those are voluntary.”

In early March, the Falcons placed the franchise tag on Grimes, which guaranteed that he’d make the salary of the top five cornerbacks in the league. That salary is $10.2 million.

Grimes was signed by the Falcons on May 16, 2006 after being undrafted out of Shippensburg. He has …

Continue reading Grimes a no-show at start of offseason program »

Q&A: Dimitroff discusses his plans for the draft

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith have been in nonstop meetings. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith have been in nonstop meetings. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Here’s the transcript from Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s press conference with the local media on Thursday. 

OPENING STATEMENT: “It’s been an eventful offseason for us. Contrary to what so many believe out in the fan base and the media, we have been very active in the offseason with 15 moves within our organization. We’ve been aggressive as far as taking care of what we needed to take care of, keeping our core together. Our focus is now on the Draft. Seven days away our focus is extremely acute in my mind and we are continuing to tweak our board as need be over the next few days. Our personnel department, led by Dave Caldwell, our new Director of Player Personnel and Lionel Vital, and the rest of the staff has been working diligently to continue to provide the information for myself and Smitty [head coach …

Continue reading Q&A: Dimitroff discusses his plans for the draft »

Falcons decline ‘Hard Knocks’ offer

UPDATE: The Falcons declined HBO’s offer to appear on the popular show Hard Knocks,  the team confirmed on Saturday.

As of late Thursday, the team was still considering the offer. Thomas Dimitroff, the team’s general manager, spoke about the offer on Thursday and stated that team needed to emphasis winning in order to improve their brand nationally.

PREVIOUS POST

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcon general manager Thomas Dimitroff did not shed any light on if the team will accept HBO’s offer to appear on the show “Hard Knocks.”

“ Right now, I have nothing to offer on that,” Dimitroff said on Thursday.

He noted that the football operations department has been preparing for the draft and that HBO will not be around to shoot any backup footage during the draft, which is set for April 26-28.

He has not talked to other teams who have appeared on the show.

“Like all of us, we’ve watched it over the years and there have been some highlights,” Dimitroff said. “There have …

Continue reading Falcons decline ‘Hard Knocks’ offer »

Video: Atlanta Falcons’ draft needs

The Atlanta Falcons’ first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft is not until the second round. CineSport’s Noah Coslov and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter discuss their draft plans.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Despite some cyberspace angst from the fan-base, Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff contended that franchise has been rather active this offseason leading into the draft.

He noted that the team has made 15 moves.

“We’ve been aggressive as far as taking care of what we needed to take care of, keeping our core together,” Dimitroff said. The team is now focused on the draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday in New York.

Here’s a position-by-position look at the team’s needs:

Quarterback: The Falcons re-signed Chris Redman to serve as Matt Ryan’s backup. Redman turns 35 in July and John Parker Wilson did not play well during the last exhibition season. The Falcons could take a quarterback in the seventh round to come in to challenge …

Continue reading Video: Atlanta Falcons’ draft needs »

Snelling rises up to help the Epilepsy Foundation

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) runs into the end zone past Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson for the first of two touchdowns during 2nd quarter action for a 17-7 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010.  (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) runs into the end zone past Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson for the first of two touchdowns during 2nd quarter action for a 17-7 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons running back Jason Snelling was recently featured in the Comcast On Demand series Rise Up: Role Models, and helped raise $5,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia.

Several players are featured on episodes of the show, which chronicles their involvement with various regional charities.

Snelling, who has epilepsy himself, focused his episode on his work with the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia and received the most unique views from fans. The station made the donation on his behalf.

 Fans can look at the full Snelling episode online on Comcast’s Get Local ATL Facebook page through April 25.

Fans can also enter a trivia contest based on the episode to win a Falcon’s helmet autographed …

Continue reading Snelling rises up to help the Epilepsy Foundation »

VIDEO: Who’s the top QB prospect?

Is RG3 a better prospect than Andrew Luck? CineSport’s Noah Coslov and Sporting News’ Russ Lande discuss this and where Nick Foles, Brock Osweiler and Brandon Weeden will fall in the draft.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

Continue reading VIDEO: Who’s the top QB prospect? »

Top 5 special teamers

Player                        Ht                   Wt                 School          Proj. Rd

1. Joe Adams             5-10                   179                Arkansas                 3rd/4th

Comment: He led the NCAA with four punt returns for touchdowns in 2011.

2. T.Y. Hilton             5-9                  183             Florida International   4th/5th

Comment: He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds and had six returns for touchdowns in his college career. The best combination kickoff and punt returner in the draft.

3. Drew Butler           6-1                 203               Georgia          5th/6th

Comment: Won the Ray Guy award, which goes to the nation’s top punter, after leading the nation with a 48.1 yard average after the 2009 …

Continue reading Top 5 special teamers »