Could the Falcons Make a Surprise Pick in the 1st Round?

Although Highly Unlikely, Could a Shock Be in Order? 

As the 2010 NFL Draft closes in on being under a month away, many draft experts and fans alike have begun to coalesce on a small number of possibilities that could take place with their respective teams first round pick. The majority of big events are over including roster moves, cuts, free agency, and the scouting combine. Granted, free agency continues well into August and all the way through the year, but the big moves that would severely affect draft boards have already taken place. There are pro days for sure, but those usually will only confirm or deny the beliefs already held by the scouts. Mostly, its just a waiting game at this point (a very excruciating one for fans).

After ranging between anywhere from 5 to 8 different prospects, most mock draft experts and their according mocks have been whittled down to 3 to 4 possibilities. Mocks before free agency and the scouting combine any number of the following players: CB Kyle Wilson, CB Donovan Warren, CB Dominique Franks, DE Brandon Graham, DE Everson Griffen, DE Carlos Dunlap, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, OLB Sean Weatherspoon, OLB Sergio Kindle, OLB Navorro Bowman, and many others. Even though the pool has since dwindled down to Graham, Weatherspoon, and Kindle, a few even had the Birds drafting RB CJ Spiller and WR Golden Tate. Which leads into today’s topic: Could the Falcons pull a big surprise with their #19 pick? Meaning would they take a prospect that plays a position of relative strength on their roster? The reality is that this won’t happen in all likelihood, but the question is more aimed to stir the debate on whether it could or should happen. A look at some potential surprise picks @ #19 (or later if they trade back):

CJ Spiller – Running Back – Clemson

5’11 – 196 – 4.27 Forty Time – 18 Bench Reps – 1,212 Rush Yds – 12 TDs – 503 Rec Yds – 4 Rec TDs – 5 KR TDs

Spiller has been one of brought up many times by fans and media alike in Atlanta. Ranked pretty unanimously as the highest rated running back in this years class, Spiller is a legitimate homerun threat every time he touches the ball. In his career at Clemson, Spiller rushed for over 3,500 yards, 32 rushing TDs, 1,420 receiving yards, 11 receiving TDs, and broke 31 records at Clemson. In a league constantly looking for the next best playmaker, hard to believe that he’ll even be close to #19, but stranger things have happened. The idea seems ludicrous on the surface since the Falcons have Michael Turner and have tendered both Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling for second round picks. Running back seems to be one of the Falcons greatest strengths and there are many other glaring weaknesses abound including a starting outside linebacker/defensive end and depth at OL/WR/CB. But what if Dimitroff traded either Norwood or Snelling away for a second rounder and Spiller fell to Atlanta? The Saints and Colts proved that a great offense can carry you just as far as an excellent defense. Mel Kiper had Spiller going to Atlanta in his latest mock draft.

Golden Tate – Wide Receiver – Notre Dame

5’10 – 199 – 4.42 Forty Time – 17 Bench Reps – 1,496 Yds – 15 TDs

Tate is an outstanding athlete who had consecutive years of over 1,000 yards receiving and 10+ touchdowns at Notre Dame. Decided to forgo his senior season due to likelihood of being a first round pick. Tate doesn’t fit the mold of big receiver that the NFL has been trending towards, but Tate plays well above his 5’10 size with superb leaping ability, body control, and good ball skills. Golden Tate also brings much versatility on special teams as well. As with most of these prospects, its highly doubtful that the Birds go wide receiver with their first overall pick, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered. Roddy White’s one of the best in the game and……….well, let’s stop there. Harry Douglas was out for the year and the WR corps took an assumed hit, but Jenkins had an average to poor year on the other side. Marty Booker and Eric Weems offered very little to the rest of the roster. There’s little doubt the Falcons will upgrade their receiving corps, but would they pull the trigger at #19 or later if they were to trade back?

Demaryius Thomas – Wide Receiver – Georgia Tech

6’3 – 224 – 4.59 Forty Time – Injured Foot Prior to Combine – 1,154 yards – 8 TDs

Thomas is a local favorite that would immediately upgrade the Falcons receiving corps. It’s a testament to Thomas that he was able to accomplish what he did in a run-option offense. Even though there would be some adjustment to the pro-style offense, Thomas possesses the ideal combination of size and speed most all NFL teams are looking to add. Broke his foot right before the combine and it may have caused his stock to drop some, but most draft experts still believe he will be taken in the first round. Thomas is rated as the 3rd best WR by NFLDraftScout.com and the number 5 wideout by DraftCountdown.com. The Falcons could obviously trade back and pick up Thomas later in the first round or possibly even into the second.

Arrelious Benn – Wide Receiver – Illinois

6’1 – 219 – 4.57 – 20 Bench Reps – 490 Yards – 2 TDs

Benn’s draft status varies widely according to what draft site you visit. Benn is the 3rd best wideout according to DraftCountdown, but is slotted as the 7th best receiver according to NFLDraftScout and is slotted to go in the second round and possibly even the third. Even though he was hampered by an ankle injury in 2009, Benn had extremely poor production with less than 500 yards and only 2 TDs. Benn probably got little help from other teammates at Illinois. The Falcons would only consider Benn if they dropped way back, probably in the second round.

Jermaine Gresham – Tight End – Oklahoma

6’5 – 261 – 4.72 Forty Time – 20 Bench Reps – 950 yards – 14 TDs (2008 Stats)

Gresham turned down what was sure to be a first round selection after his junior year and elected to come back for his senior year at Oklahoma. The tight end tore ligaments in his knee in preseason and didn’t play a snap, but his upside is tremendous and could have a great pro career if he’s able to come back from his injury. Gresham had over 1,500 yards receiving and 25 touchdowns in only two years. In an analysis of unlikely prospects, this would be the biggest reach, but the Falcons have to seriously consider drafting Gonzalez’s replacement because some signs point to this being his last year. Some draft experts have Gresham slotted in the first 20 picks, while others have him going in the second round. If at all a possibility, this one would be another trade back.

This is just a topic to stir the debate and not a confirmation that the Falcons will or should consider taking any of these prospects over the ones that are more likely or probable. In a league that’s increasingly becoming offensive-minded, taking a look at rare possibilities can at least be considered.

Your Turn

Any way the Falcons shock the NFL and take one of the above prospects?

Enjoy and Go Falcons!!!!!!!!!…………………..

 

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249 comments Add your comment

ATLJBO

March 21st, 2010
11:24 pm

I just don’t see a surprise happening.

D3

March 21st, 2010
11:36 pm

ATLJBO – Me either. But if Spiller were to drop to us and we were able to trade Norwood or Snelling for a second round pick, I would seriously consider. How about the following:

1 – CJ Spiller – RB
2 – Daryl Washington – OLB
3 – Brandon Lang – DE

Creek Johnson

March 21st, 2010
11:44 pm

D3, I like that scenario. Apparently Snelling has been drawing some interest so if we can get a second round pick for him and get CJ Spiller, I’d call that a good day. Is Hughes supposed to be gone by the second? From what I’ve read, he sounds more appealing than Washington.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 21st, 2010
11:46 pm

IF they can trade one of their RB’s Spiller would rise to the top of the wish list perhaps, then go for OLB in the 2nd or 3rd (assuming the trade nets a 2nd rounder.

Anything is possible, but I think if they don’t get an attractive trade offer and Spoon is still there, he is the guy. The intangibles are all there.

Sarah B

March 21st, 2010
11:50 pm

I’ll say it again we need to keep Snelling!

Box

March 22nd, 2010
12:02 am

Sarah,

I agree. Dump, I mean, package Norwood for a trade scenario.

D3

March 22nd, 2010
12:03 am

Creek – Never been a proponent of a crazy 1st pick, but like you, if we could trade either Norwood or Snelling for a second rounder, than this draft is so deep we could add an OLB/DE/WR in top 3 rounds to make us ready to roll.

Bangkapi – Doubt Spiller drops that far and I would think that anyone interested in Snelling or Norwood would have already made the draft, but you never know. Having Spiller in the backfield pair with Turner would be pretty amazing.

Sarah B. – I wouldn’t worry too much, because I don’t see it happening, but you wouldn’t trade Snelling for a 2nd rounder to get Spiller?

Finally breaking out you all, have a great night and good start to the week!

Ed

March 22nd, 2010
12:06 am

Great work D3, and without a doubt if Spiller is there you have to take him. He had 5 returns of kicks (last year alone) for TD’s along with his running and receiving stats. I feel he could also line up at WR, really anywhere just to get him on the field. Also, this draft is so deep I’d part with Norwood for a third easily, and would hope someone gives us as second for Snelling. The talent available is far better than either player. Golden Tate would be a great pickup if we traded back into the lower part of the first round. His overall value doesn’t equal that of Spiller’s, but he would be a tremendous help to Ryan and give him that third option to go to regularly.

Sarah B

March 22nd, 2010
12:57 am

Off Topic: Cool show on Discovery – Life on Sundays at 8.

NoSurprisesHere

March 22nd, 2010
1:03 am

1st: Sean Witherspoon OLB Missouri
3rd: Brandon Lang DE Troy
3rd: Matt Tennant C Boston College
4th: Jimmy Graham TE Miami
5th: John Jerry G Ole Miss
5th: Myron Lewis CB Vanderbilt
6th: Jacoby Ford WR Clemson
6th: Brandon James KR Florida

SeminoleWarrior

March 22nd, 2010
6:30 am

Good early morning Cage…Daybeat time once again.

Quick take. More later this evening from TeePee Sports Central.

I do forsee any surprises BUT if it was to occur, I think that the surprise would be Gresham. The continuity between MR2 and TG88 is incredible considering the short time they had together before the start of last season. The Falcons understand that continuity and its vital importance. There is no better TE in this draft than Gresham but that knee would have be checked extensively.

But enough there. The pick will be a defensive player. The pick is in. And if you do not have a ticket on the Express, your time is about to run out. Rolling on towards Radio City Music Hall and a date with our destiny, baby!!

Have a great day Cage…see you on the other side. Breaking right.

SeminoleWarrior

March 22nd, 2010
6:31 am

Send TipToe on his way. Snelling is a keeper!! You tell ‘em Sarah!!

theriddler

March 22nd, 2010
6:50 am

I’d be happy with a 5th for Norwood. A 2nd or 3rd is very unlikely.

The Real Falcon

March 22nd, 2010
6:58 am

No surprise and please NO SPILLER!

Unca' Bob

March 22nd, 2010
7:07 am

With Spoon gone, Spiller at #19, and a team picks up one of our RB’s for an early second round pick? Pull the trigger!! Spiller would bring a lot to the on offense and ST. Draft J Hughes, DE TCU, move him to OLB. Draft a WR in our third and continue to up grade our O-Line and D-Line.

The Real Falcon

March 22nd, 2010
7:13 am

So we pick Spiller and do what with Turner and the large contract we signed him to?
How does that help the defense which was the problem last year.
Who are these people who do NOT what our team to be winners and in the playoffs?

WalterEgo

March 22nd, 2010
7:51 am

I wouldn’t expect a 2nd for Norwood. I would trade Norwood and a 3rd Rder (should we get a conditional 3rd) for a high 2nd rder. After Spiller go defensive except a WR and/or TE, both ONLY if a value presents itself.

The Real Falcon

March 22nd, 2010
8:31 am

I am glad as s season ticket holder that TD makes drafting decisions and not bloggers!

waynester

March 22nd, 2010
8:50 am

G’Day everyone–
If another team matches our asking price, I’d let one of these guys(probably Jerious) move on and pick up a change of pace back in the draft( McClusters is my fave).
I aver that there is great potential and value in trading down and I’ve got a new one:
IF SPOON IS ON THE BOARD:
AZ gets #19(’spoon) and #81 TOTAL 1050pts ATL gets #26, 58, 185 & 217 TOTAL 1044pts
IF KYLE WILSON IS STILL ON THE BOARD AT #26:
DET gets #26(wilson) & 185 TOTAL 718.4pts ATL gets # 34,97 & 130 TOTAL 714pts.
We lose 10 pts overall( a late 6th in value) to gain several extra picks at key points in the draft.
ATL’s #’s 34,58,66,81,97,COMP,117,130,148,COMP,167,229,COMP,UDFA’s That’s a lot of value for getting just outside the 1st rd. Sure, it’s dependant on ‘Spoon & Wilson being in those spots, but I believe that they’ll both go around these spots. Unlikely? Maybe.Desirable? Heck yeah! Isee us (and everyone else but Al Davis ) having an awesome draft this year, even without any trades; but we could really clean house with a couple of downward moves…..

black falcon

March 22nd, 2010
9:09 am

That first pick needs to be on the most glaring need, which is on DE or OLB.Please no surprises with this pick.

surfdawg

March 22nd, 2010
9:26 am

Snelling nor Norwood are never going to get it done, especially Norwood. How can you pass up a 4.27 forty people.

jkos

March 22nd, 2010
9:46 am

with everyone we have discussed from Pouncey to Spiller no one would surprise me at this point. Yasinkas on ESPN is now chirping about how we like Odrick from Penn State… so who knows?

CBrass

March 22nd, 2010
9:46 am

D3,

As always great post. I hope there is no surprise at 19. OLB is the need. Point blank. We are fine at DE with Biermann and Sid!!!

CBrass

March 22nd, 2010
10:25 am

Ken Strickland

March 22nd, 2010
10:45 am

Before all of you CJ Spiller fanatics gets all caught up in trading RB’s JSnelling or JNorwood for the chance to draft him, consider this. Any team interested in Norwood or Snelling and willing to pay the price of their tenders can simply sign them to a FA contract. If no one signs them to a FA contract, it means there’s very little likelihood of us being able to trade either of them, unless it’s for less than the tenders.

Why should we spend our #19 pick on Spiller, or any RB, just because of his speed? After all, didn’t we sign Norwood because of his speed? Now, if it was me, I’d take a chance on trying to trade our starting FS EColeman for a 2nd rd pick. With projected future starter WMoore returning from IR, along with AHarris and JFudge still available, and the recent signing of FS MGiordano, it might be worth the risk. At any rate, if Moore beats Coleman out during training camp, we might see him traded for a player or future pick anyway.

Falkor

March 22nd, 2010
11:02 am

The top ranked LB’s are usually the safest picks in the draft. I don’t mind considering trade options that will land us a 2nd round pick, but I think Weatherspoon would be a great addition and fills a huge need. Getting too cute in the draft can be very costly. If the ‘Spoon is there then take him!

JJ

March 22nd, 2010
11:10 am

Spoon should be the pick!

blord

March 22nd, 2010
11:22 am

I would love Spiller but doubt it happens. I however wouldn’t be surprised if we do not go defense in the first.

blord

March 22nd, 2010
11:25 am

I would be happy with Spoon at 19 but i was listening to Mel Kiper on the radio on Sat. and he has him valued as a late first or second round guy. Now he is wrong often but that did make me pause a little and think about other options at 19. Man I wish we had a second.

waynester

March 22nd, 2010
12:09 pm

Falkor
I have to agree that many draft-day trades are too clever by half,; I just like the mental exercise of contingency planning and maneuvering around to get the players I like. It’s virtually impossible to know what YOUR team is going to do much less our opponents but it’s fun to make educated guesses….

CBrass

March 22nd, 2010
12:11 pm

Spikes only ran a 5.01 in the 40?!?!?! Seriously? I’m faster than that. Well at least I think I am.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3-vKVByQwo

CBrass

March 22nd, 2010
12:15 pm

darrell starks

March 22nd, 2010
12:23 pm

Trading norwood or snelling would be perfect for falcons if its a second round you can’t beat that.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 22nd, 2010
12:33 pm

IF THE TRADE DO HAPPEN YOU WILL HAVE 9PICKS.
1ST
2ND
3RD
3RD
4TH
5TH
5TH
6TH
6TH
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

Yoda

March 22nd, 2010
12:35 pm

Wasn’t Jamal “I Can’t Rush Passer” Anderson a surprise Pick in Rd 1

darrell starks

March 22nd, 2010
1:07 pm

MY FALCONS 2010 MOCK DRAFT.
1ST BRANDON GRAHAM DE
2ND TAYLOR MAYS OLB
3RD DAMIAN WILLIAM WR
3RD CHRIS HALL C
4TH JEROME MURPHY CB
5TH BEN TATE RB
5TH SELVISH CAPERS OT
6TH ED DICKSON TE
6TH RONNIE CURRY OLB
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 22nd, 2010
1:32 pm

MY FALCONS MOCK DRAFT
1ST BRANDON GRAHAM DE
2ND TAYLOR MAYS OLB
3RD DAMIAN WILLIAM WR
3RD CHRIS HALL C
4TH JEROME MURPHY CB
5TH BEN TATE RB
5TH SELVISH CAPERS OT
6TH RONNIE CURRY OLB
6TH ED DICKERSON TE
GO FALCONS!!!!

FDB

March 22nd, 2010
1:51 pm

Norwood would not be enough for a 2nd rounder, I agree. It will take throw-ins. I would think about Turner if Snelling is the real deal. If Turner is the best option for the next five years, then think about moving Snelling plus parts. But would rather do it for Norwood, throwing in Jenkins and a 5th round pick. I understand we might have to give up the later 3rd round pick to get it done — which would be giving up a lot. Norwood plus a 3rd for their 2nd?

PlanB

March 22nd, 2010
2:32 pm

I would like to see us trade #19 (875 pts) to New England for #44 & #47 (890 pts) or Detroits #34 & #66 (820 pts)plus our 5th round back (34 pts) = 854 pts. #1s are great but 2 #2s are usually good solid picks. Kiper has spoon going much later than #19.

tyger

March 22nd, 2010
2:45 pm

Falcoons Easy Button 1.0

1.19 Golden Tate, WR, ND
3.81 John Jerry, OL, Ole Miss
3.97 Jimmy Graham, TE, Mia
4. 115 Brandon Lang, DE/OLB, Troy
5. 130 Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
5. 161 Danario Alexander, WR, Mizz
6. 163 Myron Lewis, CB, Vandy

waynester

March 22nd, 2010
3:28 pm

PlanB
I like the way you’re thinkin’. I doubt, however, that ‘Spoon will last beyond N.O. So if ”’Spoon is your guy, it’ll take a deal with S.D. if you aren’t willing to take him at 19. I don’t think anyone else would want to move up to our slot unless there was a guy that unexpectedly falls like a Haden, Spiller etc. That’s a realistic possibility but not one you could bank on when planning your draft.

D3

March 22nd, 2010
3:36 pm

tyger – Like your Easy Button quite a bit. Several teams appear to be interested in Myron Lewis so he might be moving up some draft boards with his size and speed. Would love to get a hold of Jimmy Graham AND Brandon Lang, but not sure Lang lasts into the 4th round (at least according to NFLDraftScout). Overall very good mock!

Excellent Convo’s Cagers! – Pretty divided on whether to take on a “surprise” or not (currently 45% No Way! to 35% Spiller). I will have to be honest, Spiller sure is an intriguing prospect, but only if we could deal Norwood or Snelling for a second round. The only reason is b/c the draft is so very deep this year, where we could add 1)Spiller, 2)Daryl Washington-OLB, 3)Brandon Lang-DE, & 3b)Riley Cooper and be ready to roll. JMHO

Heading into the “No-Tech” night tonight, but keep the excellent convo’s going!

Betme

March 22nd, 2010
3:40 pm

If Spiller is available the Falcons will take him. He is that good and has the head and the heart. He fills 3 needs in one pick and will open up the offense. He would play alongside Turner not as a fill in or special situation player since he can line up almost anywhere. He will demand attention at all times opening up plays elsewhere. The excitement level will go up as soon as he walks on the field. I just bet he will not be gone by 19.

south ga boy

March 22nd, 2010
4:56 pm

People, people get a grip and come back to reality. We have a 34 yr old OLB with no quality backups and a shaky pass rush from the D-line. Everybody looks at these skill people like they are shiny fishing lures and they want to take a bite and put the hook in their belly. We cant use a No.l pick on a change of pace RB. if we could get McCluster from Ole Miss in the 3rd rd that would be different. Where would Thomas or any other WR fit in with the current team. We have a NO. 1 WR that is getting 9 mil. a yr and is a pro bowl rec that will get the ball 90-100 times a yr. At least for a couple more yrs, we have a Hall of Fame TE that will get 80-90 rec. per yr, and we have a slot rec in Harry Douglas that is poised to have a breakout yr. So we are left with jenkins, who I admit I can get frustrated with from time to time, but he basically does about what a 3rd choice WR would do for any team. He makes about 50-60 catches a yr and, oh by the way, we have committed around 5 mil a yr to him. So if we draft a WR in rd. 1, he would have to take Jenkins place and we would have to eat some salary and cap money long term, and for what. There is only 1 ball guys and only so many receptions to go around, especially with a team that wants to establish the power running game and then throw the ball. It would be a wasted draft pick to get a G Tate with a 1st rounder so he could get 5-10 more catches a yr than Jenkins. Its a poor use of money and draft picks, especailly with no 2nd round pick. I know a OLB or DE is not as sexy a pick as a skill player but we have Douglas coming back and Matty Ice has another yr of experience under his belt. We have a No. 1 Corner now, Jerry and Moore healthy, and we need Spoon in Rd. 1. Dont overthink this folks. I have supreme confidence that TD will do the right thing.

FDB

March 22nd, 2010
4:59 pm

I
Rd 1: Spiller/ Clemson
Trade Norwood and 2010 3rd round pick for 2010 2nd Rd pick
Rd 2: DE Ricky Sapp / Clemson
Rd 3a: CB Brandon Ghee Wake Forest
Rd 3b: WR Carlton Mitchell / S. Florida
Rd 4: OLB Jason Worilds / Va Tech or TE Jimmy Graham / Miami
Rd 5a: OLB Jamar Chaney / MS State or TE Garrett Graham
Rd 5b: DT Jeff Owens / Georgia
Rd 6a:CB Myron Lewis / Vandy
Rd 6b: C Ted Larsen / NC State

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 22nd, 2010
5:08 pm

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 22nd, 2010
5:09 pm

“ORLANDO, Fla. — The NFL hasn’t made the official announcement on compensatory draft picks yet, but I’ve got the list for the NFC South, courtesy of a league source.

The Falcons have added a third-round pick and a fifth-round choice. The Panthers have added two sixth-round choices and one seventh-round pick.

Tampa Bay picked up a seventh-round pick. New Orleans did not receive any compensatory picks.”

By Pat Yasinskas, ESPN

JJ

March 22nd, 2010
6:07 pm

BA, tks for update. Hoping for more but it is what it is.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 22nd, 2010
6:08 pm

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 22nd, 2010
6:15 pm

JJ, was hoping for a third pick, but that would have been a late 7th, and likely very marginal prospects to make the team. No big loss.

Cincinnati got two picks as well, a 3 and a 4.

The 5th should have been a 4th if the stars had aligned correctly, but what is, is, as you said. The 3rd is the key, the 5th gravy (just above the 6th we got for Houston).

Only one fourth awarded, to Cinn., and only 3 3’s were handed out so we did ok quality wise on comp picks in the big picture. NE got 4 picks, but 1 6th and 3 7th round won’t really help them reshape their roster, especially with all the high picks they already have (3 in the 2nd round).