Yes, its at last come, the NFL Draft is only hours away at this point. It’s been a long time since the Falcons beat the Bucs in Tampa Bay to end the ridiculous curse of not having back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. Considering there was no postseason, it was a great way to end the season and left fans wanting more about what the possibilities hold in the future. The conversations immediately turned an eye towards the 2010 NFL Draft and what the Falcons would need and who would be the best fit come April.
After tons of scenarios, possibilities, and analyzing hundreds of players, the Big Day has finally arrived. The NFL Draft will try its hand at primetime, surely gaining the much wanted high TV ratings, but also rubbing some draft enthusiasts the wrong way by holding it during the week. The 2010 NFL Draft is finally upon us Ladies and Gentleman, so get your grill fired up and ready to go or head on down to your preferred watering hole and get ready for some fun!
With the First Round of 2010 NFL Draft only hours away, The Bird Cage will do perform closing arguments on the likeliest picks for the Atlanta Falcons at #19 (or later). Here goes………..
Punch the Ticket – Weatherspoon has become a favorite among Falcons fans for a long time now. Spoon adds the perfect to probably the biggest and most immediate needs on the Falcons roster: OLB. The linebacker from Missouri is a prototypical weakside linebacker that has everything the Falcons look for in a player: toughness, speed, a ferocity, and plays with a non-stop motor. He was a tackling machine at Missouri, racking over 100+ tackles each season with a high of 157 as a junior. He can rush the passer, is superb in coverage, and adds the much needed playmaking ability to the Falcons LB corps.
Pass the Buck – Even though Weatherspoon is a fan favorite, do the Falcons need to spend a first round pick on an OLB when the class is so immensely deep with linebacker prospects? Many feel he may already be maxed out and has rubbed some people the wrong way with his intense attitude. Many question whether he represents true value at #19 in the draft.
unch the Ticket – Although Weatherspoon has been the early favorite, Graham has been gaining momentum and favor the more people have noticed him and he really skyrocketed after his dominating MVP performance at the Senior Bowl. He hails as one of the most productive college players at any position (almost 50 tackles for loss, and almost 30 sacks in 3 years). He absolutely would upgrade the defensive line and immediately add a much needed pass rush to one of the Falcons biggest weaknesses. Graham would finally reset the mistake of drafting taking Jamaal Anderson at DE in 2007. Likely gone by #19. Tough, hard-nosed football player that would look great in a Falcons uniform.
Pass the Buck – Many believe that Graham has hit his ceiling and can’t improve anymore. Although Graham was extremely productive, what’s to say that he wouldn’t follow the path of so many other first round defensive ends and make little to no impact in his rookie year? Ranked as only the 3rd best DE prospect by many draft experts. Why would the Falcons draft Graham, which would block the development of Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury Jr., both who have shown great promise?
Punch the Ticket – Pouncey has created quite a stir among Falcons fans since AJC Falcons Beat Writer D.Orlando Ledbetter promoted the idea of the Falcons bolstering their OL with the proven and versatile center. Pouncey was the heart and soul of a Gators team that won a National Championship and came very close to winning another. Pouncey has an amazing skill set and prototypical size that looks to translate extremely well to either center or guard. Extremely smart, strong, and a very hard worker that looks to be a top offensive lineman and can add an immediate impact. The Falcons run game suffered tremendously in 2009 and some of the weakest spots came where the guards had issues on the line and Todd McClure is likely nearing retirement very soon. Would solidify the OL for years to come.
Pass the Buck – Even though Pouncey could add needed depth and upgrade the OL for the future, its very hard to argue that he could immediately replace Harvey Dahl or Justin Blalock at guard and he certainly wouldn’t start over Todd McClure at center, one of the consummate pro’s on the Falcons roster. For all his high ratings and praises, Pouncey worked exclusively out of the shotgun at Florida and led an offensive line that had very little effectiveness with the inside running game. Is a guard or center in the first really the Falcons biggest priority with all 5 starters coming back from two consecutive years?
Punch the Ticket – After taking Peria Jerry with the 24th overall pick last year in the first round, the idea of taking another defensive tackle with Jonathan Babineaux on the roster seems outlandish at first glance. But after examining the DT situation more closely, picking a stud defensive tackle like Jared Odrick makes complete sense. Odrick is big, tough, and has an amazing motor that led to 20 tackles for loss in and over 11 sacks in 2 years at the defensive tackle position. Jonathan Babineaux is facing imminent suspension (likely between 2 to 6 games) and Peria Jerry’s injury last year brings back old questions about being very injury prone. Who knows where Jamaal Anderson’s permanent home is and Vance Walker and Thomas Johnson are good, but can they be counted on to start? DT would quickly become the strength of the team.
Pass the Buck – Even though the situations with Babineaux and Jerry are tentative, if Odrick were to be the pick, than Dimitroff would invest top round money in 3 defensive tackles, when only two can be on the field at one time. Odrick has similar size to Jamaal Anderson and it wouldn’t seem to make sense to draft another D-Tackle until something is finally decided about Anderson. Vance Walker and Thomas Johnson may not be on a Pro-Bowl level, but they played really well at the end of the season and provided amazing depth at DT.
Punch the Ticket – The Falcons don’t own a second round pick and this draft has been described by many pundits as one of the deepest drafts in memory at pretty much all positions. The Falcons could add one quality player with immediate starting potential, or they could trade back, still pick up a great player, and add another possible starter somewhere in the second round. Its hard to imagine that many teams would want to trade up, but a few teams with multiple picks may want or need several impact players instead of adding tons of depth. It would be much better to pick up multiple picks, rather than reach for a player based purely on a need.
Pass the Buck – The idea of trading back is tempting, but finding teams that will want to give away picks in such a deep draft should prove to be pretty difficult. There are few teams like New England and Philadelphia, but most teams will covet their first and second round selections in a very concentrated draft. The likeliest scenario would be moving out of the 1st round completely and taking two second round picks, and even though it is a deep draft, the level of impact will diminish from the first round to the second at least somewhat.
So there you have it Cagers, the final arguments have been made for the likeliest picks around 9 or 9:30 pm tomorrow night. The Big Day has finally, finally arrived and the excitement is palpable.
Simply put, who should the Falcons take @ #19 and give your closing arguments
Why should the Falcons NOT select the other candidates?
Nightmare Scenario: who would you take if all 5 options are gone?
What’s your Draft Party plans?
What’s your opinion of the new draft format: “nice change” or “it ruined my normal Saturday Draft Ritual”