Falcons Interior OL Draft Targets

Mid and Late Round Guard and Center Prospects

The 2010 NFL Draft is barely over the horizon and will officially be three weeks away as of Thursday. Fans and draftniks alike have settled around defensive end and outside linebacker as the two biggest options for the Falcons at #19. Brandon Graham and Sean Weatherspoon are the two favorites among the media and Bird fans alike. The possibility of both players being gone has definitely entered the mock draft projections recently. Many believe that Thomas Dimitroff and Company may elect to go center or guard at #19. The idea makes many fans happy since the offensive line situation is very vulnerable heading into this season, with Tyson Clabo, Harvey Dahl, and Justin Blalock all entering their last year of their contract and Todd McClure may retire at any time.

It’s almost a certainty that the Falcons will draft at least one or more offensive lineman, but the big mystery remains on when and where the Birds will elect to pick their O-Lineman. Although a few names like Florida center Markice Pouncey and Idaho guard Mike Iupati have made the most headlines, there are many prospects who can be taken later in the draft and offer almost as much upside, even if not as NFL ready. A look at some of the targets the Falcons may have their eye on:

Special thanks to DraftCountdown.com and NFLDraftScout.com for their superior draft analysis and prospect rankings

*Prospects considered to be taken in the second round or higher weren’t included since the Falcons don’t own a second round pick

Centers

Matt Tennant – 6’5 – 300 – Boston College

27 Bench Reps – 5.15 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

One of the smartest and more athletic centers in the draft this year. Very quick and tough, and finishes blocks off very well in the passing game. Has a nasty streak that Coach Boudreau covets. Good worth ethic and proven leader. Connection to Matt Ryan can’t be denied. Finalist for top center award in the country. Some liability in the run game and not the biggest center in the world. Slotted as the second best center by NFLDraftScout and number 3 center by DraftCountdown. Projected to go anywhere between 2nd and 4th round.

JD Walton – 6’3 – 300 – Baylor

24 Bench Reps – 5.19 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Walton took home 1st Team All-America honors at center in 2009 and has the non-stop motor that Coach Smith likes in his players. Extremely productive in the run game and can get to the second level on linebackers. Can be very stout at point of attack. Has some issues in quickness and agility, particularly in the run game. Listed as 2nd best center by DraftCountdown and slotted to go in the 2nd or 3rd round. Listed as the 3rd best center by NFLDraftScout and projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round.

Eric Olsen – 6’4 – 306 – Notre Dame

35 Bench Reps – 5.25 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter (2 guard, 1 center)

Olsen was called the heart and soul of the offensive line by former coach Charlie Weis. Olsen started in the middle of his sophomore year and junior year at guard before moving over to center in his senior year. Allowed only one sack in 450 pass attempts. Has a great punch but struggles in recovery. Extremely strong and powerful in run game with a good drive. Rated as the 4th best center in the draft by NFLDraftScout and projected to go in the 4th or 5th round. Has the ability to play multiple positions on the OL, something that Coach Smith and Coach Boudreau train their lineman to do.

Ted Larsen – 6’3 – 304 – NC State

26 Bench Reps – 5.19 Forty Time – 2 Year Starter

Larsen is a former defensive tackle who moved over from the defensive line to center after his sophomore year. Good strength and balance in pass blocking, but hasn’t perfected his shotgun snap. Has a lot of power to knock defenders to the ground in pancake fashion and displays a nasty streak at times. High intensity player. Slotted by NFLDraftScout to go somewhere in the 5th or 6th round.

John Estes – 6’2 – 295 – Hawaii

Bench Reps N/A – 5.22 Forty Time – 4 Year Starter

Estes leaves Hawaii with an NCAA record 54 consecutive starts on the offensive line. Started at guard his freshman year before moving over to center. Played in a spread offense, so his transition to a pro-style might be a big question mark concerning teams drafting him. Lacks the bulk and physical nature that many teams desire, particularly in the run game. Good pass blocking, but struggles against big defensive tackles, a new trend in the NFL. Slotted to be taken in the 6th or 7th round by NFLDraftScout. Listed way down as #8 center by DraftCountdown.com

John Hawley – 6’3 – 297 – UNLV

35 Bench Reps – 5.21 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Hawley has played several positions on the offensive line including guard and center. Only allowed one QB sack in his senior year. Slotted as a late, 7th round draftee, but the Falcons have reportedly scheduled a private workout with Hawley.

Guards

Jon Asamoah – 6’4 – 305 – Illinois

Bench Reps N/A – 5.08 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Asamoah has very good size and speed that projects to either guard position. Had 267 career pancakes according to the Illinois coaching staff. Only allowed four QB sacks and 4 pressures over his final two seasons. Has a nasty streak and is an excellent locker room presence. Very agile and quick in pass blocking. Superb run blocker in short situations and can easily move big nose tackles out of the way. Academic All-American who is ranked as the #2 guard to go in round 2, but is slotted as #4 guard by DraftCountdown to go somewhere in 4th round or after.

Mike Johnson – 6’5 – 312 – Alabama

Bench Reps N/A – 5.37 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Johnson has amazing pedigree as the unquestioned leader of Alabama’s drive to the National Championship and leading Mark Ingram to the 2009 Heisman Trophy. Started 41 consecutive games, including 2 seasons in which they only lost 2 games. Quite possibly the most versatile linemen in the entire draft, making 26 starts at left guard, 10 at right tackle, three at right guard, and two at left guard. Excellent upper-body strength and good balance to protect the quarterback in the pass game. Amazing versatiliy that screams for Coach Smith and Coach Boudreau to take a look at him. Ranked as the #5 guard by DraftCountdown and slotted for the 4th round or later. NFLDraftScout has Johnson as #3 guard and to go in the 3rd or 4th round. Premiere college lineage in SEC.

Zane Beadles – 6’5 – 310 – Utah

27 Bench Reps – 5.28 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Beadles drew comparisons to former Utah All-American Jordan Gross. Has played both tackle and guard and matches up very well against opposing defensive ends and outside linebackers, rarely getting beat on the outside. Ran a spread offense, which will have issues for some teams in converting to a pro-style offense, particularly in the run game. Rated as the #5 OG by NFLDraftScout and slotted for the 4th round or later.

Marshall Newhouse – 6’4 – 319 – TCU

25 Bench Reps – 4.99 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Started for the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs in 2009 until loss in Fiesta Bowl. Named All-Conference in each of his three years as starter at left tackle. Projects inside as a guard and has shown the ability to play all OL positions except center. Not experienced as a pulling or trapping guard and may have some issues in transitioning to guard from tackle. Very strong and good run blocker and lateral quickness may change over well to guard. Slotted as 6th best OG prospect and projected to go in the 5th round.

Shawn Lauvao – 6’3 – 315 – Arizona State

33 Bench Reps – 5.22 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Very versatile lineman who has started at left tackle, left guard, and right tackle. Has potential to be a future NFL starter with superior work ethic and good size for a guard. Has good initial punch and possesses ability to get to the next level on linebackers. Projected to go somewhere in the 5th round or after.

Ciron Black – 6’5 – 327 – LSU

23 Bench Reps – 5.53 Forty Time – 4 Year Starter

Possibly would have been an early selection if he had come out after his junior year. After starting entire career at left tackle, Black was moved inside to guard at the NFL Scouting Combine. Has a very good drive in run-blocking and should translate pretty well to guard since he started his entire career at left tackle in the SEC. Has superb size, but very low bench reps and slow forty time. Lacks versatility that Falcons crave. Slotted to go somewhere between 5th and 6th round.

Chris Scott – 6’5 – 320 – Tennessee

19 Bench Reps – 5.52 Forty Time – 3 Year Starter

Scott possesses good adaptability starting at both right guard and left tackle. Very athletic for a big man and proved it on the field in the SEC, allowing only 3 sacks in 519 passing attempts. Scott has good hand control and shows good shuffling of his feet. Has ability to ride defenders out of the entire play. Weight might be an issue, but the transition to guard from tackle might be an extremely good smart fit. Extremely good run blocker and may be a steal for a team willing to take a chance on him. Slotted for 6th or 7th round by NFLDraftScout.

*Several draft sites didn’t include offensive tackles that may project to guard such as John Jerry and Roger Saffold to name a few.

No one has much of an idea on what direction that Dimitroff plans to go in terms of the offensive line. Surely he has some sort of idea on who he wants to keep on the current O-Line. All 3 guards are set to become unrestricted free agents after the 2010 season, so its hard to imagine TD won’t draft an OL, especially one who is versatile. Another big question is whether the Falcons will draft a center this year to groom for the future. Brett Romberg likely won’t give up a spot without a fight, but much will be known on where the Falcons take their O-Lineman come draft day.

Your Turn

-Should the Falcons take both a center and a guard?

-What center should the Falcons take and when?

-What guard should the Falcons take and when?

Enjoy and Go Falcons!………………………….

 

Who's It Gonna Be?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

190 comments Add your comment

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 29th, 2010
11:18 pm

I like Tennant in the 3rd, intangibles can’t be overlooked.

I didn’t see Jerry, I thought he was slotted in the 3rd?

Sarah B

March 29th, 2010
11:21 pm

Damn BA beat me… at least you didn’t say “first” I hate that.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 29th, 2010
11:21 pm

If Jerry isn’t an option for OG, on Jon Asamoah seems to have the intangibles and skills TD and Smitty likes.

But, on the negative side, it gives us another JA :-)

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 29th, 2010
11:26 pm

Hi Sarah, just signed on and saw the new post. Yes, this blog seems to have a better class of regulars, this “first” obsession doesn’t seem to be such a big thing here. More folks here seem to work on “Best” instead, a really good thing. First for me is more of a function of time zones, anyway.

If :typing first was THAT big a deal, perhaps D3 would do it at the end of each post :-) .

Sarah B

March 29th, 2010
11:27 pm

Funny BA! I love a good sense of humor.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 29th, 2010
11:28 pm

By the way, regards a center in the 1st, Path to the draft made their projections this evening for Pittsburg’s 18th pick (I time shifted the show) and their projections were –wait for it— POUNCY at 18, or one of the CB’s Robinson or the kid from out west.

jae008

March 29th, 2010
11:35 pm

Mock Draft

1st- Taylor Mays,Spoon
3rd- Jordan Shipley
3rd- Matt Tennant
4th- Graham, Jimmy
5th- Lewis, Myron
5th-Selvish Capers
6th- Clifton Geathers
6th- Tiffin, Leigh

Sarah B

March 29th, 2010
11:39 pm

The Steelers may have to take a QB if Big Ben keeps it up.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 29th, 2010
11:44 pm

“Keeps it up” – that one had me laughing!

Time for bed

Sarah B

March 29th, 2010
11:53 pm

Unintentional comedy, BA but you’re right that was funny as Hell!!!

Ken Strickland

March 29th, 2010
11:55 pm

I would draft Pouncey at @19, since he can play both OC and OG, and then draft either Shaun Lauvao or Chris Scott in the later rds. That would leave us with OT’s SBaker, GReynolds, JValdez and Wstivek, OC MPouncey and OG/T Chris Scott or Shaun Lauvao under contract if OC TMcClure decides to retire and when TClabo, HDahl, JBlalock and QOjinnaka become FA’s.

With the potential for us to lose 5 of our top 6 OLinemen after this season, including 4 starters, our OL could very easily go from sugar to you know what if we don’t address this issue now. A stronger OL leads to fewer sacks, more time for our QB to go through his read progressions, receivers to complete their routes, and more potential pass completions. It also leads to better run blocking, clock control, scoring opportunities and fewer 3rd and/or 4th and longs. No QB, WR, TE or RB is any better than the OL that provides the necessary time and protection needed to allow them to properly excute.

NO WR OR RB CAN COMPENSATE FOR A POOR OL, JUST ASK THE RAIDERS AND LIONS.

tyler

March 30th, 2010
12:35 am

While it is difficult to rely on Jerry, due to his injury history, I think the Falcons must pursue their draft as if he will return and be productive as a first round talent. Also plagueing the Falcons is the obvious bust of J. Anderson. However, if the front office has faith in the future of Bierman and Sidbury…and the depth available in OLB in this years draft.

I agree with Ken. We should take a top offensive lineman talent in the first round, followed by another OL pick in round five.

Pouncey in the first, and Johnson or Beadles in the fifth.

Other picks should include WR/returner in the third. OLB in the third. CB in the fourth.

Big Ray

March 30th, 2010
2:32 am

Ugh. Well, if we’re not talking OL in the first round (again….ugghhhh), then I say draft in both the third and fifth rounds. One center, one guard.

darrell starks

March 30th, 2010
5:55 am

BIG RAY your right in the early rounds the falcons need play makers, and drafting a OL in the early round would my opinion be a waste when you can build your OL in the later rounds.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 30th, 2010
5:59 am

My board i have the falcons taking eric olsen in the 4th.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 30th, 2010
6:14 am

D3 i would like 2 make a change on my draft board, before i had patrick robinson going in the 3round but i dont see him going past the second, so i would like 2 replace him with jerome murphy CB from southern florida and 2 be truthful he may be the second best corner in the draft behind haden.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

Unca' Bob

March 30th, 2010
6:26 am

Good read by Pat Y. A Coach Smith interview that confirms what we have been saying all along. A bit off O-Line topic, but pretty good.

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/9206/falcons-still-high-on-abraham

Unca' Bob

March 30th, 2010
6:41 am

The Real Falcon

March 30th, 2010
8:05 am

Where’s my main man Pouncey? He belongs here!

The Real Falcon

March 30th, 2010
8:07 am

19 Bench reps for an OL? No thanks.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 30th, 2010
9:25 am

Unca’Bob – thanks for the links – I had a shudder when Smitty said he still plans to keep JA at DE for most of his snaps.

At the end of the day, our opinions are only stray electrons floating thru the ether. Smitty and TD have the only opinions that count.

D3

March 30th, 2010
10:22 am

Losing a Respect Notch from Smitty on this One -“I thought Jamaal made big strides in terms of defensive end play in our base defense,’’ Smith said. “Then, he moved inside the majority of the time in our sub packages. That’s the plan right now to have him play left defensive end in our base package and then to move him inside in our sub package. He ended up playing about half his snaps last year reduced down in playing three technique.’’

Coop

March 30th, 2010
10:25 am

As much as I’d like to grab a DT, I’m just about convinced that we draft OL in the 1st. If Trent Williams (OT) was somehow available, grab him and then look at Reynolds to play guard. If not, and likely he won’t be, take Pouncey then Jerry in the 3rd. If Pouncey is gone, then take Iupati then Tennant in the 3rd.

Grab your OLB in the 3rd, DT in the 4th, then WRs in the 5th and 6th.

Of course, you all knew I would say this.

Coop

March 30th, 2010
10:27 am

D3 – The only thing I’d say is it might be a smoke screen if we’re planning to draft Graham. But is you take TD and Smitty at their word, OLB or OL will be the first pick. All they keep saying is that our DL is solid. I don’t agree.

D3

March 30th, 2010
11:28 am

Let the Great OL Debate Begin – This one is sure to fire up the fan base, so let’s get to it………..

We carried 9 offensive linemen on our active roster last year (Clabo, Dahl, McClure, Blalock, Baker, Svitek, Reynolds, and Ojinnaka) and we theoretically could carry 10 OL next year, but that would take away from a special teams player, which Coach Smith is high on.

Reynolds and Baker are locked in for sure. Blalock, Dahl, Clabo, and Ojinnaka are all due to become UFA’s after this season. TD went out and spend money on Romberg and Svitek as free agents last year. Was it for depth or some long term plans. Coach Smith and Coach Boudreau are big on “resurrecting careers” from players that have been overlooked (see Clabo and Dahl). That’s how good Coach Boudreau is.

My questions are these:

1) – Do we really expect TD to let all 4 OL walk after this year?

2) – Do we expect TD to let Dahl and Clabo both walk, after being a part of the better side of the OL for the last two years?

3) – If we draft an OL in the first round, who does he replace?

4) – Romberg played very well in relief, would this new center we draft automatically be assured a spot over Romberg? Particularly if we draft a center only, who has not played guard.

5) – Should we expect the Birds to draft a Guard before the 5th round since they tendered Ojinnaka as a 5th round compensation?

6) – Should we discount injuries to the O-Line (Dahl, Baker) and the fact that players came in relief (Ojinnaka, Svitek) and did well down the successful final stretch?

7) – If we draft an OG or C first, who does he replace and when?

8) – Do we dismiss the extremely predictable and generally awful play-calling by Mularkey this past year? (how many PA-1 option-rollouts did we see?)

9 – Do we discount the fact that we had no playmakers on offense outside of Roddy and Gonzo?

10) – Finally, does one subpar year erase the fact that the exact same Falcons OL had provided the #2 rushing offense in the league, helped produce two offensive Pro Bowlers (Turner,White), and the Offensive Rookie of the Year?

Take your time on the questions because I’m honestly all ears. I have my own opinion, but your informed and excellent opinions can definitely sway me. (Don’t think we should take an OL before the 4th or 5th round, at least not this year), and I’ll admit I’m of the “we have so few playmakers on offense” bias, not including the fact that 2 of our WRs are coming back from major knee surgery.

Ultimately, I will be happy with whoever we choose in the first round because I have (at least to this point) blind faith in TD and Smitty. But I seriously have my doubts that we spend an early draft pick on guard or center, unless we were able to trade back and acquire more picks.

Headed to do some Guard/Center research………..

what

March 30th, 2010
11:28 am

We need OL in a bad way. First 3 picks should be the best OL avalible at that time.

darrell starks

March 30th, 2010
11:48 am

Coop i don’t no how much of a smoke screen it will be on not taking graham, but it will be a big mistake if the falcons didn’t take him at 19# if he where there, graham change the hole outlook of your defense and with him and abraham on the edge there will be no double teaming on oneside of the line. drafting graham a guy who is good against the run and dominate against the past will make the LB, AND DB better.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

D3

March 30th, 2010
11:50 am

Bangkapi – As you’ll see in just a minute, I’m starting to warm to drafting an OL first, kicking and screaming the whole way.

jae008 – Superb Mock. Really like the Shipley, Tennant, and Mays pick.

Ken Strickland – I can’t believe that I’m actually coming over to drafting a C/G side, but its happening I believe. Still have some doubts about Pouncey. After watching the Gators a good bit, they couldn’t run the football inside to save their lives.

tyler – I am warming to taking an OL first, but if we do that, we do not need to add another one, in my opinion at least, but if we do, than I would be happy with a 1st and 5th round pick.

Big Ray – I still have the fence in my mind that is stopping me from coming over to the OL 1st side, but after doing some research, I’m beginning to understand. That being said, Pouncey or Iupati better damn well be the next Steve Hutchison or Alan Faneca.

darrell starks – You have plenty of time to practice and finalize your mocks. Don’t see Jerome Murphy coming to Atlanta after he showed up for interviews wearing his white gold grills. Nothing wrong with having them, but to a job interview?

Coop – Starting to warm to your argument on taking an OL first, but definitely can’t agree on using our first two picks on OL. As long as you give me two WRs than we’re good, but we have to address OLB, WR, and evidently DT. Barring a smokescreen, the quotes by Coach Smith lend credence to us drafting a DT first. What’s your thoughts on Jared Odrick?

Research to follow…………

The Real Falcon – I just went through guards and centers that are projected for the 3rd round or later. Pouncey and Iupati will be profiled soon.

Seminole Warrior

March 30th, 2010
11:57 am

What’s up Cage. A working vacation this week as we discuss hurricanes in the beauty of Orlando.
I will stay with my mid round OL picks of Newhouse, Black, and Olsen.

Will check in later…breaking right now.

D3

March 30th, 2010
12:01 pm

Pro Bowl Guards and Centers Since 2007 – I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong and the research says that I’m wrong on drafting guards in the first round, centers not so much. But here are the results kicking and screaming:

Guards
Logan Mankins – 1st rd-32nd
Alan Faneca (2) – 1st rd-26th
Kris Dielman – UDFA
Steven Hutchison (3) – 1st rd-17th
Chris Snee (2) – 2nd rd-34th
Leonard Davis (2) – 1st rd-2nd
Davin Joseph – 1st rd-23rd
Shawn Andrews (2) – 1st rd/16th
Will Shields – 3rd-74th
Brian Waters – UDFA
Ruben Brown – 1st-14th
Larry Allen 2nd rd-46th

Centers
Shaun O’Hara (2) – UDFA
Ryan Kalil – 2nd rd-54th
Kevin Mawae – 2nd-36th
Nick Mangold – 1st-29th
Andre Gurode (3) – 2nd-37th
Matt Birk (2) – 6th-173rd
Jeff Saturday – UDFA
Nick Hardwick – 3rd-66th
Olin Kreutz – 3rd-64th

Final Question: Is Iupati and/or Pouncey on this level?

darrell starks

March 30th, 2010
12:22 pm

D3 thats what i like about jerome murphy is the swag he bring and the toughness mind set he have, we need some cockness with a little bit swag on this team.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!

Seminole Warrior

March 30th, 2010
1:31 pm

There is no way that Smitty can be serious about starting JA98 on the left side at defensive end. If he is, then the Brandon Graham movement just took a huge hit.

As far as the offensive line goes, the Falcons can address it with quality picks in this draft. We nned to also have to make decisions now about Clabo and Dahl. Where do they fit? IMHO, I still believe that they can be major contributors. I still think that they can be coached up in the passing game to support the solid skills they have in the run game.

Can Dahl move over to challenge Blalock at LG? Can Clabo move inside to play RG with Reynolds at the RT position. My mid round pick, Marshall Newhouse, could provide the needed fire to push Sam Baker.

Lots of options. But lots of quality depth to address them. The Process can not panic now. Nor should the Falcons over-reach out of fear. That would be a dangerous move.

Laters…back to the working vacation.

WR

March 30th, 2010
1:40 pm

Afternoon cage, as I read more and more of Smith’s analysis of the current team, and the tenders to players on the current team, unless a trade is made, I’m starting to think the Falcons go WR in the first round, or they try to trade out of the 19th selection to pick up a second and an additional third to go with the two they already have. Most of us see a glaring weakness in the pass rush, so do most analysis, but so far it hasn’t appeared that the Falcons feel the same way. As for JA#98, if he were not a 1st round pick, honestly I believe most could see value in keeping him around, yes he is a 1st round pick but that contract is just about played out, so he adds alot of value to the team overall when considering what it will cost the Falcons to renew based on his production.(I’ll take crab legs for my last meal when most consider the aforementioned comments). If a Trent Williams falls to the Falcons of course they take him, but along the OL not even Pouncey is worth the selection at number 19, not when you can get a Tennant in later rounds. As for Spoon, if not gone, he could be a valuable selection, one that I would be pleased with, he also covers the rule of thumb in today’s NFL, meaning he can make plays in space. I also like Mays here, as a potential OLB, it might be trying to put a square peg in a round hole but it worked well for Thomas Davis in Carolina, who’s to say it couldn’t work for the Falcons, if not, the Falcons have expendable good talent at safety, =value, if it does, the Falcons instantly become one of the fastest defenses in the league.

Honestly I continue to believe that Spiller will slip to the Falcons at 19, I also believe a WR at 19 will be hard to take, but both improve the chances for Ryan and ultimately the offense, so does a Trent Williams. Once again I’m all for improving the D, but the Falcons have a 3rd year QB that needs the opportunity and players around him to grow, its not about the points, its about the marathon, the Falcons could sprint by improving the D, they could run a marathon by improving and building the confidence around their young QB. If Ryan shines this year and the D falters, we continue to have hope, if the D shines and Ryan falters we start to look for luck. WR is definitely not out of the question in the first, I’m a bit skeptical about that kind of selection, but at the same time its not as if it wouldn’t make sense.

keep it real

March 30th, 2010
1:49 pm

Falcons have 8 picks. they should draft 1WR, 2OL, 2LB, 1DT, 1RB, & 1CB.
so OL should not be drafted until the 3rd round to the back half of the draft. you should draft for the best value for a given need. The defense and the receiving corps need a desparate boost. First three picks should be a WR and a LB(maybe 2) and/ or a DT. Whether Jerry comes back healthly or not, we still don’t know what kind of player that he’ll truly become. If Babs isn’t killing dogs or selling pot, he would be alright. We need a space-eater to go along with Jerry and to add depth.

Seminole Warrior

March 30th, 2010
1:53 pm

The Spoon Express rolls on here.

WR, if they go with a receiver in the first, then the Process will have suffered a scud missile attack in my opinion.

Seminole Warrior

March 30th, 2010
1:57 pm

Keep it real…we see eye to eye in most of this situation.
Great points.

Coop

March 30th, 2010
3:00 pm

D3 – You know I’ve been harping about a DT since the season ended. I think we need a space eater and insurance for Babs suspension and Jerry injury. But as I’ve started these mocks, I’ve changed my mind. I think there is too much drop off in OL if we wait till the late to mid rounds. I also think there is much more success from RB, WR in mid to late rounds than linemen. I like your research above on OG and OC.

I’d prefer Dan williams at 19 and Tennant at 83 (if he lasts), but I’m not sure we can go lower than Tennant. I don’t see Eric Olsen being any better than romberg, so what’s the point. I’m not of the mind that this current line is good enough, quite the opposite. So mid to late round selections is a waste to me. That adds depth to a line full of depth guys. Shouldn’t we expect at least one pro-bowler form our OL? None of these guys will ever make the probowl.

So I changed when I started to think about losing 3 of our 5 linemen (I doubt Blalock goes anywhere). We have to grab a OC in the first 3 selections. I’d prefer 2 OL in first 3 selections. If you get a Pouncey and John Jerry, you got the makings of something powerful on the line. That could pay dividends for a decade or more.

Let’s stop asking our lines to overachieve and put studs in there who’ll free up space and time for our playmakers to do what we think they can’t. What if we draft Tate and Ryan still can’t get him the ball because of poor line play? Do we blame Tate then? Maybe, but let’s get solid line play so we know it’s not them.

Again, if Dan Williams and Pouncey are both there, I’m torn. I think Jerry will come back at DT and improve that line, do DT is not as important and I’d lean toward Owens in mid rounds. So that leaves me taking Pouncey at 19, Jerry at 83, Dekoda Watson at 117 (gotta get that OLB). Sorry, but 4th round is the first I can look at WR.

Back to the spoon express. We may draft him, and if we do, I’ll support him like any other Falcon, but I’m convinced I’d rather have Mays to play OLB. If they do go DT or OLB at 19, I’ll be praying for a OC at 83. Pass there too and I’ll start to question TD and Smitty.

Coop

March 30th, 2010
3:03 pm

D3 – One more point. you asked if Pouncey or Iupati are pro-bowl cliber. That’s the key question for any pick. I can only say what I read on the internet and most sites say Pouncey has the potential to be a perennial guy.

Coop

March 30th, 2010
3:08 pm

1. Pouncey OC
2. Jerry OG/T
3. Watson OLB
4. Roberts WR
5. Joseph DT
5. Jefferosn CB
6. Peek TE
6. Easley WR

truth

March 30th, 2010
4:08 pm

We need OL. What point would it be to have a good QB, good RB and good WRs if we don’t have the line to give them a chance to use their skills. I say with their first 3 picks they should go after the best OL players left and then look at the defensive side of the ball and a another WR.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 30th, 2010
4:13 pm

D3. Interesting questions, I DO think TD will let at least 3 of the OL walk, in return for comp picks in 2012. Value – he gets long term fresh talent on the OL AND mid to low picks in 2012, in return for highish picks this tear

IF he goes Pouncy in the 1st (a move I disagree with still) then he may well let McClure go one way or the other, since he still has some trade value and Romberg can provide a long term solution for depth at the position. The same scenario could play out if he picks Tennant in the 3rd.

I understand that Pouncy or Tennant could play G for a year, but there is that value question – McClure has value in this league still as a starting, quality veteran center for a team with perhaps a new QB now, but none if we squeeze one more year out of him and let him retire. Depends if there is a market for McClure.

I DO expect a G to be drafted earlier than later, perhaps in the 3rd – 4th latest. Ojinnaka was tendered at 5th round level, so IF someone offers him a contract TD gets a pick (provides him options, leading to opportunities). If he turns out to be low man on the totem pole depending on how the draft shakes out, he still isn’t guaranteed a roster spot (or could go to taxi squad if injuries hit).

Regards one subpar year, this ill-informed fan from afar is thinking that 1) Douglas being hurt affected the run game – he wasn’t stretching the field to open the running game, 2) injuries to 1st and 2nd string RB’s didn’t help, 3) The OL performance is clearly deteriorating simply because of injuries that are piling up on their resumes. Those injuries will remain a potential factor the rest of their careers, slow them down, more susceptible to more injuries, lose “quality snaps”, etc.

Regards playmakers, we Do need to upgrade WR, but this is lower priority than the OL I believe, more value in later rounds (5&6).

I still believe that the first 4 picks of this draft should be expected to significantly contribute the first year – I go for OLB, OC, OG, and special teams guru (CB or WR, I’m thinking CB). Personally, I think OLB in 1st, the two linemen in the 3rd, and ST in the 4th but the positioning of the OL and ST players could swap around depending on how the draft plays out.

Last 4 picks, depth and development (and special packages) would be possession WR, big body possession TE (possible replacement for aging and oft injured Finneran), DT (depth for Babs suspension, insurance for Jerry and possible replacement for Jefferson), and either DE or CB (if not taken as ST superstar). This assumes JA is primarily a DG but can play DT in special packages, such as short yardage/goalline D.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 30th, 2010
4:26 pm

Coop, interesting mock, looks at the possibilities of Pouncy/Watson or Spoon/Tennant as the two high picks for two of the highest need positions.

I could certainly live with either scenario, but kinna prefer the Spoon/Tennant combo if possible as Tennant and Ryan already have developed a rapport.

If you look strictly at the grades from some of the sites, your Pouncy/Watson picks gives more value

P/W= 7.5+ ???
S/T= 6.6 +6.9
http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/front-office-total-access-projections.html&position=c

Ken Strickland

March 30th, 2010
5:04 pm

D3-we had playmakers, we just didn’t put them in positions to make plays. We can draft as many playmaking RB as we want, if we insist on running them between the tackles and don’t call plays that will isolate them on LB’s out in space, we limit their playmaking ability and increase their potential for injuries.

Suppose you were a DEF coordinator and you saw RB JNorwood enter the gm, and you knew the Falcons loved to isolate him outside on LB’s as a pass receiver. Would you play your regular DEF, or make certain adjustments or changes to protect yourself against his dynamic speed and open field running ability?

If Mularkey used Norwood properly, just his presence in the lineup would force DEF changes and/or adjustments. Now, imagine you’re the DEF coordinator and the Falcons have Norwood and Turner in the gm, and you know the Falcons like to use both RB’s in their passing OFF and isolate them on LB’s in space.

NOW TELL ME THAT MOVE ALONE WOULDN’T FORCE TEAMS TO PROTECT THE FLATS AND OPEN UP THE MIDDLE OF THE DEF FOR US TO RUN MORE EFFECTIVELY BETWEEN THE TACKLES. The only thing better than a good solid block is to completely remove a DEF player out of the area of the play.

Ree Roe

March 30th, 2010
7:26 pm

D3, you have my respect for presenting a balanced & fair perspective on us possibly taking a C/G in the first round. Although I am still vehemently opposed to it & would be extremely disappointed if it happened, you at least created & generated discussion on both sides. Kudos to you.

Here’s my thing: Draft experts & NFL insiders alike are calling this one of the deepest drafts in recent history…with our 8 picks I don’t understand why we can’t get a quality C or G in the 3rd or 4th round. There will be depth at the position in the middle rounds so reaching to get a C like Pouncey at #19 wouldn’t seem to benefit the team a whole lot goin into next yr.

I also feel that our lack of playmakers on D & offense was the reason we were just a 9-7 team, moreso than our injury problems. We weren’t dynamic in the passing game (outside of Roddy & Tony) & struggled running the ball early in the yr. If Spoon or Graham isn’t the pick at #19, I say we get an offensive playmaker (WR or RB) to give us a boost on offense. Remember folks, in today’s NFL offense >>> defense & if we wanna compete with the Saints & Vikings we have to outscore them. Ask yourselves this, can this team as presently constructed do that? Honestly I don’t kno…

-REElated to Roe!!!

WR

March 30th, 2010
8:11 pm

SW, I don’t see it being a scud to the process with the selection of a WR, now if he turns out to be a bust then thats another story, but thats true of the selection made at any position. The process will continue no matter the selection, unless the Falcons select a MLB or Safety, then one would have to wonder what the H is going on. Nothing against Spoon, everyone knows where I stand with Spiller and Mays, but those guys are my glamor picks, if somehow Williams slips to 19 the Falcons can’t pass him up. The trenches back if possible is the key, if not, best available to help the team now as well as in the future.

Coop

March 30th, 2010
8:40 pm

I love the folks who say don’t “reach” on Pouncey, but then say we should draft Spoon. This is arguably the weakest LB class in recetn memory. Spoon may be the best OLB in this draft, but he is not a 1st rounder. Put him in last years class and he’s a 3rd rounder at best. That’s a reach. Plus, his biggest knock is that he has trouble dropping into coverage… which is exactly what folks say we need an OLB for.

I respect everyone’s opinions, but I just think you guys are looking at our biggest CURRENT need and trying to fix it. Spoon is not a more valuable pick than Graham, D. Williams, Pouncey, Iupati, or Spiller.

We reached on Baker 2 years ago and most of us have complained since.

Sarah B

March 30th, 2010
9:14 pm

Coop – what?

Coop

March 30th, 2010
9:18 pm

Sarah – What what?

falcon21

March 30th, 2010
9:37 pm

Coop, you could not have said it better. Spoon would be a good draft pick in the 2nd round if that was our biggest need but I don’t see OLB as our biggest need. The OL needs attention now. RB no, WR, later rounds. Give Ryan a little more time to find a reciever and Turner a few more holes to run through and we will win more games. The Birds have many picks so we should be able to find an OLB with 2, 3 or 4.

Sarah B

March 30th, 2010
9:40 pm

Coop – Just I would love Graham too. But we need a linebacker bad.