Atlanta Falcons: Prof. Led’s first quarter Rookie grades




061912 FLOWERY BRANCH:  Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM



FLOWERY BRANCH — The rookie draft class has 11 practices under their belts, that about the equivalent of the first quarter of training camp.

Here’s a look at how the rookie draft picks have performed through the first 11 practices, from the perspectives of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Also, Professor Led checks in with his grades:

Koetter on Peter Konz (second round, 55th overall): Konz had a strong showing in the physical short-yardage drill at the close of practice Tuesday. He cleared paths for running back Dimitri Nance to score from 1 yard and 2 yards out. 

“He’s doing well,” Koetter said. “He’s played both right guard and center and is doing a good job at both spots.” Professor Led’s Grade: A. I did see him get knocked back on one block, but he recovered and finished his block. The competition along the offensive line is going to pick up over the next 10 days. The lineup for the third exhibition game will be your projected starters.

On tackle Lamar Holmes (third round, 91st): He has been limited in camp after recovering from a foot injury. Koetter elected not to give an evaluation on him since he’s not fully participating in practice. Professor Led’s grade: Incomplete. We’ll keep an eye on the big guy and let you know when he’s a full participant. I can’t wait to see him get after it.

On Bradie Ewing (fifth round, 157th overall): He’s attempting to beat out Mike Cox and replace Ovie Mughelli, who recently signed with the St. Louis Rams.

“He’s a fast learner,” Koetter said. “He’s obviously well-prepared coming out of his college. It’s a good battle with him and Mike Cox at fullback right now.” Professor Led’s Grade: B. He’s moving around well. Coach Gerald Brown has done a nice job getting him ready so fast.

Like Koetter, Nolan has three draft picks on defense.

Nolan on defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi (fifth round, 164th): He has drawn the ire of defensive line coach Ray Hamilton in the early practices. One day, Hamilton threatened to decrease his reps if he didn’t start following directions.

“He’s very talented and very raw,” Nolan said. “He has a lot to learn, but is very talented. He’s very explosive and will flash often. Sometimes doing his job; sometimes not. I think we are all excited about the potential that he has. He’ll just have to continue to mature, but he’s a good prospect.” Professor Led’s Grade: B. He’ll figure things out and know what Hamilton demands as camp progresses.

On safety Charles Mitchell (sixth round, 192nd): He is looking good in the special-teams drills, while he’s finding his way in the secondary.

“Mitchell is a guy that we are working at the safety position,” Nolan said. “He needs to give us some depth there. We hope that he does and also helps us in the special-teams area. With the signing of Chris Hope, it’s a little tougher on him to get into that second group. At the same time, he’s a guy that we are counting on, if not to play some regularly, be a special teams guys.

“He’s a very bright guy. He’s a very hard-working guy. A very conscientious player and he has responded well to the things we are doing.” Professor Led’s Grade: A. He is very athletic and we like the smart guys who pick things up fast. That will allow him to play at his top speed early.

On defensive tackle Travian Robertson (seventh round, 249th): With starting defensive tackle Corey Peters out with a foot injury, he is getting more repetitions at nose tackle.

“He’s a big strong guy that has a lot to learn as far as techniques go, but again he’s a big strong guy,” Nolan said. “We’ll just see how it goes when we get the pads on full time. For the linemen it’s really too early to tell. … Running around in their underwear is not really too impressive.” Professor Led’s Grade: B. He’s a big and sturdy kid. Guards will have trouble pushing him around. I want to see how he holds up in the scrimmage and ing the first exhibition game against Baltimore on Thursday at the Georgia Dome.


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Professor Ledbetter hands out first quarter training-camp grades for the rookies

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–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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56 comments Add your comment


August 2nd, 2012
5:16 am


August 2nd, 2012
5:26 am

Good morning Falcon fans. Good to read prospects making positive strides in camp. Dled, hope I get a chance to visit camp soon, what’s your take on the player’s/team’s commitment and enthusiasm toward this season and getting deep into the playoffs? Are they being positively receptive and adapting to the new Coordinators and respective schemes? Go Falcons!


August 2nd, 2012
5:30 am

Thursday. Ravens. Sounds good.

J-Man Falcon Fan

August 2nd, 2012
5:52 am

D-Led, your grades are very generous, where were you when I was in school!!!


August 2nd, 2012
6:23 am

The Charles Mitchell analysis was the most interesting, as we have heard so little about him up to this point. Nice report DOL.

The Real Falcon

August 2nd, 2012
6:50 am

Seems like a lot o grading on the curve. How can Konz and Massaquoi have the same grade? One coach praises and the other’s says he doesn’t listen.
I know it’s early but really can we get more realistic?


August 2nd, 2012
7:16 am

Yea those grades do seem a bit genorous….but i guess it’s still early….i saw konz last week…and was shocked at how big this guy really is……and how well he moved…..Im betting he starts at rg on opening day….he needs to be on the field

Cleveland Ave. Turk

August 2nd, 2012
7:32 am

I wonder how bad corey peters injury “really” is??…..I wuz up a flowery branch this weekend and Lamar holmes is HUGE!!! Boy i hope he can start soon.

Rick (the other Rick)

August 2nd, 2012
7:33 am

No curves on the grades, I think the professor is a tough assessor and just does not pass out easy grades. I like what I hear and I cant wait to see more! Reading the blogs over the last week it sure sounds like this D has a chip on their shoulder and that they are trging to prove something. Next Thursday cant get here fast enough!

Chub Rock

August 2nd, 2012
8:00 am

Now that’s more like it D. Preciate the insight!


August 2nd, 2012
8:02 am

Agree Cleveland Holmes is also huge! Can’t wait for him to get out therr


August 2nd, 2012
8:03 am

Great Reporting D-Led! If I wasn’t excited about this season, am sure I am now…….we have depth in just about every position to include some cross training that will benefit the dirty birds in the long run this season. like I said before “we don’t care about a 12-4 season. THIS IS SUPER BOWL OR BUST” you hear that coach Smith we all know your Job is on the line. Now let’s go get me my super bowl ring. GO DIRTY!


August 2nd, 2012
8:35 am

Thanks much DLED for giving us an update on the rookie progress. It amazes me how they can find talent into the seventh round to satisfy team needs and displace other good players. They are getting better from the bottom up and establishing great depth and that is what you need to do. Way to go Falcons! RISE UP! Can’t wait to get up and see them in person but sure appreciate seeing them through your eyes DLED!

Hey man

August 2nd, 2012
9:29 am

Take your sissy griping back to community college. This is a Falcons football blog.


August 2nd, 2012
9:30 am

I like the Undrafted free agents this year. I like to hear about their development. Charles Mitchell is impressive. I can see him playing alot on Nolans defense. Preseason will give a better look at the rookies.

Hey man

August 2nd, 2012
9:32 am

By the way, you don’t need a comma after “why”, genius.


August 2nd, 2012
9:40 am

The star rookie so far sounds like it could be UDFA LB Jerrell Harris.


August 2nd, 2012
9:43 am

Great report D-Led………Been waiting to hear some news on Mitchell and Robertson. Good to hear that they are progressing and may provide depth on the team for this season.

Keep up the good reporting.

Big Crimson 75

August 2nd, 2012
9:50 am

Good Stuff.
The Whisky boys will be helping this Team the most – this Year.
They are by far, the most prepared for the NFL, along with Mitchell.
Sounds like the coaches favor both over current starters.
We’ll find out a bunch about all of them in 1 Week!!


August 2nd, 2012
10:19 am

If i was being graded and got a “D” i would think that was awesome coming from “D”-Led.

course that makes the A that much better.

Chub Rock

August 2nd, 2012
10:41 am

@Hey man- LMAO!!

buckhead benny

August 2nd, 2012
10:55 am


How did Lamar Holmes break his toes?? No one has ever acknolwedged how this injury happened unconeniently right after we drafted him which makes me think he did something stupid like drop something on his foot…

You don’t just break your toes as a mammoth 350 pound supposed left tackle in the league without being drunk or having a car run over your foot…

The fact that the coaching staff has kept it so quit lends credence to this dude having some type of bs
off the field issues.

Dude had to be held out all of mini camp and another month with a walking boot and you guys in the press don’t report how it happened? What are you guys in collusion now with hiding injuries with Falcons brass so they can avoid the embarrassment of picking Lamar Holmes in the 3rd round instead of the DT everyone wanted?

This guy can’t even compete at full speed because of his bad toes as a 350 pound dude in the NFL? Damn what a wasted pick that was.

I just wish you guys had the balls to report the truth on how it happened- I bet it makes dimitroff or the Falcons look stupid is the reason its not. The guy was such a reach is why I want to know.

I want my Falcons to do well this year, but Dimitroff you can tell likes to show off drafting and show us how smart he is over us average folks and this one I hope I am wrong but he needs to be called out on it…


August 2nd, 2012
11:01 am

@Cleveland Ave Turk Whats up sir?! They said Peters was in a boot last week…..never a good sign. Hopefully he can get in there soon. We need him on the line. Not too impressed with Peria Jerry. Kinda the Sam Baker of the D right


August 2nd, 2012
11:05 am

Appreciate it! Nice story.

Birdman of Falcatraz

August 2nd, 2012
11:26 am

DLed, good work on grading the rooks. How about grading the progress of the previously underachieving high draft picks that can make or break this season. Specifically, Perrier Jerry and Sam Baker. Are they showing something not seen before. Will they start in your opinion?

SeenThis B4

August 2nd, 2012
12:15 pm

I know the coaches are evaluating the lack of talent and lack of skill these falcan’t rooks bring to the table, but to be posting grades on them this early is kinda premature, that should be done after the first preseason game at the earliest.


August 2nd, 2012
12:27 pm


who cares what you think!! D-Led is giving his readers what they want. Go to a Saints board and talk up your beloved team and leave us Falcons fans to ours!


August 2nd, 2012
12:29 pm

Rookie class for the Falcants will be equal to their free agent moves = TURRIBLE…

You should just concede the season, Falcants, and get a new coach and GM….you have no chance this year…

Saints rule….fact…stay classy…


August 2nd, 2012
12:31 pm

Kontz will live up to his billing an Ewing will also, the others on defense have a big learning curve, compare this to D-Leds evalueation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


August 2nd, 2012
12:34 pm

Question here? How can you go to a Saints board when all they have to talk about is Bounty Gate and Brees’s bruised ego after he came out in defense of his criminals and had to back off of his statement about the Commish !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


August 2nd, 2012
12:39 pm

What exactly do the Saints rule? Besides being The King of Bounties, nothing I say………

The Real Falcon

August 2nd, 2012
1:02 pm

Konz is running second team behind a guy who lost his job last year.


August 2nd, 2012
1:05 pm

Yep! It’s official! (inject applause and cheering here), the sAints’ SB win will have an asterisk (*) placed by it!


August 2nd, 2012
1:14 pm

You saints fans are pathetic! You thug around, brag about it, and then have the nerve to talk about other fans! Listen, just relax, and enjoy yuour tarnished superbowl win, and your upcoming 7 and 9 season! Ps Your qb will be out for the season by week four, cuz paybacks are a real b!


August 2nd, 2012
1:18 pm

Remember your disgraced former cordinator’s comments, “Affect the head, continue to hit the head!” That’s gonna come back to bite ya!


August 2nd, 2012
1:58 pm

For some of you bloggers here, Jesus Christ could not please you. DLEd is doing a good job. I see nothing wrong with what he does.
Some of you need too get a life . This is a football blog. not a grammer class.


August 2nd, 2012
3:17 pm

i’d have to say that they are right on par with the veteran players at this point—none of them has a playoff victory in recent memory !


August 2nd, 2012
3:53 pm

re: Lamar Holmes….

Holmes was most definitely a reach pick. TD passed on some pretty good players (DT Brandon Thompson, TE Ladarius Green/Orson Charles, RB Lamar Miller, QB Kirk Cousins, OT Bobbie Massie/Brandon Mosley etc) who could also fill long-term needs for us for a guy who is at best a long-term project.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 2nd, 2012
5:41 pm

buckhead benny – We think he did it while he was running or jogging after the draft. But he has not and the team has not confirmed that. We know he did it after the draft. But not how.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 2nd, 2012
5:48 pm

WS – It wasn’t even a grammar deal. It was “ow” on allow. Thanks for helping out.

buckhead benny

August 2nd, 2012
5:52 pm

Thanks D Orlando for the follow up on that- I think you would agree if that is the case and he broke his toes running after the draft I call bulls*t on that. You break your toes either by dropping something heavy on your toes, getting your toes run over by a car, or jumping from somewhere high. Not an Orthopedic surgeon but enough of a former college athlete to know bs when I see it. In addition, even if that was the case and that is the truth he broke his toes jogging this guys life span in the NFL is about as long as that guy Dan Reeves drafted from Indiana Nathan Davis in the 2nd round the DT- he had sorry written all over him and was injured just like this starting camp-

I don’t like the lack of transparency on behalf of Dimitroff and Smith- Wreaks of something shady and not letting your ego get in the way of saying we may have made a mistake here… I know its early, but can you or have you guys pressed them on when this injury happened?

I think it is a very important question for such a high 3rd round pick to understand exactly when it happened. This isn’t the CIA where national security is at stake….


just me

August 2nd, 2012
11:48 pm

DOL – what about the undrafted rookies? How are they doing? Do any of them have a shot at the 53 man roster? Which ones might be on the PS?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 3rd, 2012
12:13 am

buckhead benny – We know when it happened. (After the draft). We don’t know how it happened. I understand your angst, but Jwe have done a lot of digging on this.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 3rd, 2012
12:23 am

Just me — Did a story on Jerrell Harris and had a note on Dominique Davis.

[...] Professor Ledbetter hands out first quarter training-camp grades for the rookies [...]

[...] Professor Ledbetter hands out first quarter training-camp grades for the rookies [...]

buckhead benny

August 3rd, 2012
8:00 am

I understanding its frustrating because I think we could have used a DT in round 3 you get a starter or quick contributor and this was universally a panned pick by everyone including falcons fans.

I don’t like how shady the falcons are with this- Hell, he is a 3rd round pick that everyone laughed at you at- they should at least be honest about what happened to it to cause this much time off…

This guy is a minimum a year away it appears. If they are good with that so be it, but I hope he proves me wrong with this-

why doesn’t someone just ask Lamar Holmes how he hurt his foot? I am assuming from your responses they don’t allow you guys to speak to these rookies very often? If this was the Dallas Cowboys they would know exactly how a 3rd round pick hurt his foot that was just coming in especially after just being drafted.

In addition, I challenge your grade and would suggest an “F” was necessary so far- an incomplete is way to kind…

[...] Professor Ledbetter hands out first quarter training-camp grades for the rookies [...]


August 3rd, 2012
6:39 pm

Professor? Adjunct?

[...] Professor Ledbetter hands out first quarter training-camp grades for the rookies [...]