Continuing our series on who the Falcons and their top brass might have their eye on come April 22nd, is there any possibility of the Birds selecting a defensive tackle for the second year in a row? Another way to look at it is, should the Falcons look hard at taking another defensive tackle @ #19? Not the most glamorous position in the world, but it has become a high commodity of late and two of the draft prospects, Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, look to be taken in the first three picks, and possibly even the first two. One of the goals in our analysis running up to the draft isn’t necessarily to insist the Falcons will take any of these prospects, but to take a closer look at many of the names called come April.
The possibility seems silly thinking that Thomas Dimitroff would draft defensive tackles two years in a row and want to put 1st round type money into 3 D-Tackles, when only 2 can be on the field at one time. However, the injury history to Peria Jerry and the likely 4 game suspension of Jonathan Babineaux makes the argument not so crazy all of a sudden. The Falcons have many needs up and down the roster: outside linebacker, offensive line, wide receiver, and defensive end to name a few. The probable thinking is that Jerry will come back from injury and provide the pass rush needed, but that’s a fairly big risk at this point. Jamaal Anderson has seemingly moved to DT permanently and does provide good depth against the run, even though his pass rushing skills are low. Vance Walker proved to be a great surprise and likely cemented himself in the solid 4 man DT rotation. Thomas Johnson played well in relief, particularly against the run, but had issues rushing the passer. Trey Lewis did come back with out injury, but will be fighting for a spot. Drafting a defensive tackle will probably happen, but later in the draft. But should the Falcons at least keep their options open @ #19?
Not a chance in the blue sky that the Falcons will have a shot at either Suh or McCoy as they’re almost guaranteed to go in the top 5 picks. Suh looks to be a fantastic pro, and could very well be the first player taken in the draft, depending if the Rams go for a quarterback or not. Falcon fans should hope that he or McCoy don’t fall to the Bucs at #3. Suh has more versatility in he could play a DT in the 4-3 or DEnd in the 3-4 scheme.
The difference between McCoy and Suh is razor thin according to many draft experts and looks promising to get snatched up by the Rams, Lions, or hard to believe he would slip past the Bucs at #3. Excellent pass rusher and, like Suh, looks to be a franchise defensive tackle for many, many years. Slotted as a pure defensive tackle in the 4-3 scheme and likely not big enough to play nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme, but one of the best prospects overall in the draft. No chance in Hades the Falcons have a chance at either.
Bench Reps: 27 – 40 Time: 5.16 – Tackles for Loss: 9 – Sacks: 2.5 – Tackles: 70
Has risen up the draft boards in a hurry in a year that doesn’t have a plethora of big DT’s that can play nose tackle in the extremely popular 3-4 defense, 14 teams expecting to run the 3-4 in 2010. Excellent run-stuffer with a great first step and has played in one of the best conferences in the SEC. Can often be inconsistent. Would finally add the big body that Falcons fans want on the DL. May prosper from lack of big nose tackles. Slotted by most draft experts in the 1st round. Miami is a favorite choice to many.
Bench Reps: 26 – 40 Time: 5.06 – Tackles for Loss: 11 – Sacks: 7 – Tackles: 43
Offers great pass rushing skills and had fantastic numbers as a defensive tackle, collaring 7 sacks which equals many or more sacks than most defensive ends. Excellent point of attack and burst and offers a lot in terms of rushing the passer. Terrific athlete, but may need some work in the run game. Many draft experts disagree on where he will go. Most believe that the Colts will have a keen eye on Odrick, but some have him slotted for the second round. Too similar to Jamaal Anderson in terms of frame?
Bench Reps: DNP – 40 Time: 5.72 – Tackles for Loss: 6 – Sacks: 0 – Tackles: 28
Mount Cody, as he’s nicknamed by some, was thought to be a possible top 10 pick when Alabama was in the middle of their SEC and National Championship run, but weight and work ethic concerns have caused Cody to drop completely out of the first round. He will be coveted by many 3-4 teams who crave a big-bodied DT to stuff the run and occupy multiple blockers in the blitz heavy scheme. Many Falcons fans would love the bulk and size that would allow Babineaux, Abraham, Sidbury Jr., and company to rush the QB. Will many teams spend a 1st round pick essentially on a 2-down player?
Bench Reps: 34 – 40 Time: 5.15 – Tackles for Loss: 23.5 – Sacks: 7 – Tackles: 48
Majority of draftniks believe that Price will be a second round pick, but he could be a great steal for someone that will either take a first round risk on him or a team lucky enough to grab him in the second round. His numbers were off the chart in terms of sacks, but particularly in terms of 23.5 tackles for a loss, which is outstanding for a defensive tackle. Anyway he could slide to 3rd or the Falcons take him @ #19? Doubtful, but he’ll probably be a good player.
News that Tye Hill was released wasn’t so much a shock to many fans, as it was to what it made the current depth at cornerback look like. The Hill release surprised many in that most believed he would have at least one full off-season to come in and compete for a spot in the cornerback rotation, particularly after Chris Houston was traded to the Lions. Houston and Hill would have been owed over $1 million and its tough to justify that as a #4 cornerback (Robinson, Owens, and Grimes appear to be 1-3). The release does create a dangerously thin roster at CB. Dunta Robinson, Chris Owens, Brent Grimes, Chevis Jackson, and Brian Williams (who is still rehabbing from a major knee injury). Looks like cornerback made a quick return to the needs list come the draft in April.