It’s a matter of days now Ladies and Gentlemen….the NFL Draft is so very close. Graham? Weatherspoon? Pouncey? Trade Back? The 2nd Annual Bird Cage Mock Draft Competition is running strong and you still have plenty of time to get your mocks in before the deadline of 11:59 pm on Wednesday night.
NFL 1st Round Mocks: JohnWaynesWorld, Bangkapi Ajarn, Coop, Bill, Luladawg, Nookah, FalconsFan284, Ed, tyler.
Falcons Full Mocks: Marcus, Bill, Bangkapi Ajarn, darrell starks, Coop, JohnWaynesWorld, Unca’ Bob, marko, Nookah, FalconsFan284, tbhawksfan, tyler…If I’ve missed any, please let me know
After sharing my mocks, I decided to create a Falcons Expert Panel of sorts, including authors of some awesome Falcons websites. This can be a great forum and synergy for some excellent Falcons authors and fans alike. I asked some excellent Falcons and NFL writers to share their Falcons Full Mock as we approach the big day and also to help in putting together your own Mock Draft as the the draft approaches. And with that, the Falcons Experts weight in…..
Daniel is the creator and author of Atlanta Falcons Examiner. He is also an Atlanta-based freelance sports writer. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Daniel provides an independent look at the Atlanta Falcons. Daniel also writes for AtlantaFalcons.com
First thing to know about Odrick is the Falcons’ brass like him a lot. The entire cadre of decision makers was present at Penn State’s Pro Day in March. The second thing to know about the 6’5”, 304-pound lineman is he fits the Dimitroff-Smith-Falcons profile. He’s a three-year starter, whose college production culminated as the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year.
With the health of ’09 first-round DT Peria Jerry in limbo and the starter Jonathan Babineaux’ availability in question, Odrick could provide valuable snaps at a rotation-heavy position. His strength is stopping the run and he is versatile enough to bounce to end on running downs.
If you need a linebacker, getting one from “Linebacker U” isn’t such a bad idea. If the Falcons miss out on their weakside starter in Round One, Bowman could be the pick to step in in the third.
The 6’1”, 242-pound Bowman has put early career character concerns behind to become a very intelligent and well-liked player. Quick in pass coverage and a gifted, hard-hitting tackler (don’t forget how highly Mike Smith values sure tacklers), Bowman is a great fit to succeed Mike Peterson on Atlanta’s weak side.
A starting-caliber center in the third round is a much better value than one in the first and Walton brings that value. The 6’3”, 300-pound AP All-American has started every game at center since he was a sophomore at Baylor and his tough, physical, all-out style is the perfect fit for Todd McClure’s understudy.
Back-to-back offensive linemen won’t have the casual fan clapping, but these would be two solid picks. Newhouse, 6’4”, 319 pounds, was a three-year starter at left tackle for one of the nation’s top offenses. His strength and lack of top-end quickness makes him a better fit at guard in the NFL and with the jury still out on how long current starter Harvey Dahl will remain in Atlanta, he’s a great fit. His versatility was on display at the East-West Shrine Game when he played and impressed at every position except center.
The Falcons still need to continue to add depth to the cornerback ranks. In Stoudamire, a three-year starter, Atlanta gets a player with the potential to develop into a starter. Blessed with good size (5′11″, 206 pounds), good speed (40’s ranged from 4.43 to 4.52), and athleticism, he’s smooth and fluid in his backpedals and transitions down the sideline, but also plays with a physicality that Smith and Dimitroff will like.
If the Falcons go for a receiver in this draft, they will want someone with speed. Don’t fool yourself, they’ve got their starters, but having a guy around like Easley with the tools to be a solid No. 2 in the NFL isn’t a bad thing. The 6’3”, 210-pound receiver was a walk-on who exploded in 2009 with 48 receptions for 893 yards and eight touchdowns. Special teams contributor, strong hands, and 4.39 speed is a steal in the fifth round where he’s currently projected.
Just consider Karim the sixth-round version of Dexter McCluster. The 5’9”, 209-pound back had a highly productive senior season for small-school Southern Illinois, after losing his junior year to a knee injury. Strong, good speed (4.4 40 at his Pro Day), good hands as a receiver, and a good return man. Karim could be the change-of-pace back and x-factor type that Jerious Norwood has struggled to become.
Miles is just the kind of player Atlanta will be looking for in the later rounds to provide depth and special teams help. The 6’2”, 210-pound safety had a highly productive FCS career, runs a 4.45 40, is aggressive, and doesn’t lack ball skills. He was a team captain as a senior and an academic all-conference player as a junior and senior. Think he’ll pass the Falcons Filter?
1) Sean Weatherspoon – OLB
3) Riley Cooper – WR
3) Matt Tennant – C
4) Daniel Te’o-Neshiem – DE
5) Jeff Owens – DT
5) Marshall Newhouse – G/T
6) AJ Jefferson – CB
6) Colin Peek – TE
Falcons fan and lead writer at BloggingDirty.com. Also works as the Falcons beat writer for Rotowire.com.
(1-19) DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
There are some knocks about him being knowing gap assignments and understanding the intricacies of a defense, but the Falcons need a pass rush and no one doubts Pierre-Paul can put his hand on the ground rush the passer. A lot of mocks have him off the board before 19 but I like him in this spot.
(3-83) CB Dominique Franks, Oklahoma
Dunta Robinson’s acquisition, and to a lesser extent Matt Giordano’s, improve the secondary substantially but the Falcons will look to add depth with Franks in the 3rd round. He has terrific cover ability though occasional mental errors are a concern. He can also play special teams returning punts and kickoffs with Eric Weems.
(3-98) WR Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati
The Falcons need to add wide receiver depth and Gilyard would make a perfect slot receiver in this offense. A terrific blocker that fits in the Falcons run-first scheme.
(4-117) DT Geno Atkins, Georgia
The Falcons will stay focused on defense and Atkins adds strength to a defensive line rotation (with the return of Peria Jerry) that will see improvement in 2010.
(5-149) TE Andrew Quarless, Penn State
Tony Gonzalez is 34 years old and Justin Peelle doesn’t exactly keep defensive coordinators awake at night. A senior who excels at pass-catching, he could step in for #88 in 2011.
(5-165) OLB Arthur Moats, James Madison
He’s drawn comparisons to Colts OLB Clint Session and he could be the future replacement for 34-year old Mike Peterson.
(6-171) OG Ciron Black, Louisiana State
He can play Tackle or Guard and adds depth to a Falcons offensive line that could see major upheaval over the next few seasons.
(6-189) K Leigh Tiffin, Alabama
Tiffin will send Matt Bryant packing and take over place-kicking duties while Michael Koenen will continue to handle kickoffs and punts.
Scott Carasik is the founder and lead editor of ScarDraft.com. He has been scouting players and evaluating the NFL draft since 2003. Scott also writes for Drafttek and West Sports Report as an analyst for both.
1st round – #19 overall – OLB Sean Weatherspoon, University of Missouri
Atlanta has a huge need for Outside Linebacker and Defensive End. I really think Weatherspoon is the pick after all the interest the Falcons have shown in him. He is smart, fast, and strong. He has great size and is an excellent fit for the defense at the WLB and SLB spots. Weatherspoon is also a fiery leader type and will bring a positive effect to the lockerroom with his Ray Lewis-style personality. On and Off the field Weatherspoon just screams that he is a Falcon.
3rd round – #83 overall – WR Andre Roberts, The Citadel
Andre Roberts is a hell of a player in the college game. He fits the Falcons offense as both a slot and a #2 WR. He is quick, very slight in his cuts and will draw comparisons to Hines Ward once he earns the starting spot in a few years. He is a fast player and will start out as a #4 WR and a possible punt returner. Roberts will help the Falcons in multiple ways as both a receiver and a Special Teams Ace.
3rd round – #98 overall – DE Jermaine Cunningham, University of Florida
Jermaine Cunningham is one of the most underrated prospects in the college game. He really fits the LDE role in the Falcons defense well and with his size and speed will prove to the world that he was the underrated one of the pairing between Carlos Dunlap and him. Cunningham controls his end in the running game and gets pressure in the passing game. He will be a great compliment to Abraham and should fit in well with Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury in the DE rotation.
4th round – #117 overall – C J.D. Walton, Baylor University
Walton is a mauler and a brilliant mind and leader to be the center for the Atlanta Falcons for the next decade. He reminds me of Todd McClure coming out of college as a hungry, physical, nasty player who wants to make an impact at the next level. He has all the makings of a top NFL center and a great fit for the Falcons scheme.
5th round – #149 overall – TE Ed Dickson, University of Oregon
Ed Dickson fills the need at TE for the Falcons as the future of the TE spot. He has the size, and the blocking ability to make an instant impact. He also has the body control to really learn how to be the same level Tight End that Gonzalez was early in his career. Tony Gonzalez is one of the best teachers and should allow Dickson to be a better fit for the Falcons as a long term option after his mentoring.
5th round – #165 overall – DT Jeff Owens, University of Georgia
Jeff Owens is a penetrating 1-tech NT. People will love to see a UGA boy going to Atlanta, but I really think that Owens will be the best fit for Atlanta at this pick. They need someone who can really impact in the defensive line rotation without making too big of an investment. Owens is a leader at UGA and should be an excellent fit for the Falcons rotation.
6th round – #171 overall – OT Kyle Jolly, University of North Carolina
Atlanta loves to use late round picks on offensive lineman. Jolly is just another one of those. He has the power, explosion and technique to be a great fit for the RT role in the future. We did just draft Garrett Reynolds last year, but I think Reynolds is a better fit at RG. The Reynolds-Jolly pairing could be a long term solution for the Falcons and could really solidify the offensive line for years.
6th round – #189 overall – K Leigh Tiffin, University of Alabama
Atlanta needs a kicker in the worst way. Matt Bryant isn’t the long term solution for the Falcons and Tiffin is the best kicker in the draft. Tiffin will give the Falcons a reliable kicker to lean on for years and shouldn’t give them the scares that Jason Elam used to give. With a better kicker in 2009, Atlanta would have been an 11-5 team
Adam writes for The Falcoholic and is a “season tix holder, freelance writer, computer nerd, metal head, husband. That just about covers it.”
1st rd, pick #19 – Brandon Graham: I don’t care what Dimitroff said to the press, he wants Graham. Brandon’s got a versatility that could play well into keeping offenses guessing. He can rush, he can cover underneath, and seeing as VanGorder had a habit of putting Abraham into coverage last year, Graham may be a much better fit to such madness.
3rd rd, pick #83 – Jordan Shipley: The Falcons need a reliable number two receiver. Right now, Jenkins isn’t the solution. Shipley was very consistent in college and a comfort blanket for McCoy; just what Ryan needs with Gonzalez’ career in its twilight.
3rd rd, pick #98 – Javier Arenas: Why not? He showed decent coverage skills throughout his tenure with Alabama and was one of the most electrifying punt/kick returners in the SEC. The key here is versatility; say he doesn’t burst his way high on the CB depth chart. If he’s returning kicks for huge hunks of yards and/or touchdowns, where’s the downside?
4th rd, pick #117 – Eric Olsen: The Falcons want a center. It’s obvious, seeing as they worked out so dang many. Todd McClure isn’t getting any younger and when he goes down, we’ve only got one other man to cover the job. Depth may be the deciding factor here, but why shouldn’t they go for a guy who’s 6’4 and 306? He’s the largest of the top-rated centers up for grabs and may still be available at this point.
5th rd, pick #149 – Marshall Newhouse: Dimitroff and company want Mike Iupati. They won’t get him. Instead, they should go after Newhouse, who helped anchor a solid TCU OL. He’s also big, so that’s a plus.
5th rd, pick #165 – Mike Neal: By now, most of the great DTs will be gone, but if the Falcons want a little insurance, they can pick up Neal whose pass rush skills could come in handy. He’s speedy and very athletic. The Falcons need speed in the explosion off the line and Neal would likely answer that call given time to develop.
6th rd, pick #171 – Nate Byham: An unselfish blocking TE with consistency on third down projected in the 6th? Yeah, Mularkey wants this kid.
6th rd, pick #189 – Kevin Basped: With Basped’s pass pressure abilities and his speed, I’m surprised he’s projected this late. Anyway, he’d be a good boon to our lackluster rush and could perhaps light a fire under our current DL.
Dave is better known as Dave the Falconer and writes for The Falcoholic. A self-admitted “Falcoholic”
#19: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
So there you have it. Much appreciation to my fellow Falcons writers for sharing their thoughts and picks on the upcoming draft and please check out their excellent websites, all of which have been added to the blog roll over on the right hand side.
Come give your 1st Round NFL Mock Draft as well as your Falcons Full Mock Draft as we approach the final descent towards The Big Day. Feel free to post your mock drafts in this new posting.
#189: David Pender, CB, Purdue