The 2010 Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft is in the books and the reviews have certainly been mixed at best from many fans examining the newest Falcons. Thomas Dimitroff has been marveled as a top general manager and talent evaluator in the National Football League, but this draft in particular wasn’t the homerun that many fans think the previous ones may have been. TD has always been very loyal to his “needs-based” approach to filling out the Falcons roster through the draft and has hit some major homeruns in his time as GM, with only a few players (3 out of 19 to be exact) that are not either a part of the active roster or on the practice squad. So without further ado, meet the newest Atlanta Falcons and give your grades accordingly.
((((Editor’s Note)))) – In an effort to spread out the draft evaluation, have plenty of football to discuss in the upcoming “dark-cloud-no-football” period, and get some much needed down time, the posts will be somewhat shorter in the near future.
One of the biggest favorites for a long time with local fans in Atlanta. Weatherspoon was a target early and often for Dimtroff and Co., working him out several times after having an amazingly productive career at Missouri. Fills a perfect need at outside linebacker and adds much needed speed, athleticism, and fire to the LB corps. Has superb coverage skills, an excellent tackler, and can rush the passer at any given time. Has an awesome work ethic and infectious attitude that should pair well with Curtis Lofton and Stephen Nicholas for years to come. After Brandon Graham was taken @ #12 by the Philadelphia Eagles and Derrick Morgan was nabbed by the Tennessee Titans @ #16, it seemed like a given that Spoon was headed for the ATL.
Grade – A
Let the questions begin at this point. Many fans knew that defensive tackle would be addressed at some point in the draft, but taking a DT with the 83rd pick in the third round was a little surprising, and when the name was called it was even more of a shock. Peters was originally slotted to go in the later rounds by some draft sites, but shot up the boards with good workouts, and most importantly to Dimitroff, an extremely productive college career in arguably the toughest conference in the nation: the SEC. Had better production in his senior year than many of the tackles even taken before him (12 Tackles for Loss, 4 Sacks) including Dan Williams (1st round) and many others. With all that being said, many fans are upset with this pick after taking a relative unknown player, which many consider a major reach.
Grade – B-
Although many may not be happy taking two consecutive interior line picks in a row, Johnson was one of the best and most productive offensive linemen in the draft. Johnson broke the record for most games ever started by any Alabama player in their rich history. Johnson is a mauler who has played almost every position on the offensive line and paved the way for Mark Ingram to win the Heisman Trophy, as well as Alabama winning the SEC and National Championship. Gives magnificent insurance to Justin Blalock and Harvey Dahl entering their final years of their contracts. Most likely will work his way into the starting lineup at some point in the future.
Grade – B+
Absolutely one of the biggest stunners of the whole draft. Fans knew that center would most likely be addressed at some point, but the name was the most shocking. After having so many names on the board in the fourth round still available, and other highly ranked centers such as Eric Olsen, Matt Tennant, and Ted Larsen available, Dimitroff picked Hawley which was highly panned by fans and critics alike. Is a player with a major nasty streak and had great college production, but this one will be closely monitored by fans.
Grade – C
Might be the pick of the draft by Dimitroff. Franks was scouted to have 2nd or 3rd round grades by many draft experts and dropped all the way to the fifth round. Dimitroff saw Franks was in contention so he traded with the St. Louis Rams to nab him in the fifth round. Franks immediately adds speed, agility, and much needed size to the secondary that has already significantly been upgraded with the addition of Dunta Robinson and strong play of Chris Owens and Brent Grimes. Also adds much needed special teams ability and will look to be a contributor right away. Once an enormous weakness, the secondary looks to be one of the strongest positions on the team.
Grade – A+
Quite another shock when Meier’s name scrolled across the board. A relatively unknown wide receiver who was a converted quarterback at Kansas. Other big names were on the board throughout the draft and the Falcons passed again and again to end up with Meier. After the initial disbelief, Meier might be a steal in the fifth round and perfect fit to the Falcons offense. Has good size, runs superb routes, and most importantly catches everything thrown his way. Set the record for most all-time receptions at Kansas. Had amazing production at Kansas clipping almost 2,000 yards receiving and 16 TDs in his final two years.
Grade – B-
Still the biggest head-scratcher to this moment. Its well known that Coach Smith and Thomas Dimitroff put a heavy emphasis on special teams, but drafting another safety seems to be a very surprising move when their were so many other players at different positions they could take a flier on. The Falcons have Thomas DeCoud, William Moore, Erik Coleman, Matt Giordano, and Antoine Harris, so safety seems to be an area of strength. Schillinger may turn out to add excellent depth, speed, and versatility, but this might be the most surprising of the bunch.
Grade – D
Thomas Dimitroff certainly filled a lot of needs in terms of depth, but only a few players stick out as having an immediate impact (Weatherspoon, Franks). TD didn’t go for the flashiest names and was criticized by many fans and experts alike, but he gets the benefit of the doubt and this Falcons team doesn’t need the marquee names that it used to and is committed to building a well-rounded, tough, intelligent team with high character and excellent work ethic. Did many fans hear of Kroy Biermann, Chris Owens, or Thomas DeCoud at the time?
Much more analysis to come on each player, their potential impact on the team, and how they fit into the current roster over the next several weeks.
2nd Annual Bird Cage Mock Draft Competition Update – Submitted mock drafts will be scored over the next few days and winners will be announced this week. Thanks for all our fans that participated in the fun and friendly competition.
-Give your overall draft grade for Dimitroff and the Falcons
-Assign a grade to each player and give a description of your thoughts on each
-What was the Falcons best pick?
-What was the Falcons worst pick?
-How does this draft compare to Dimitroff’s other two drafts?
-What players should have TD taken instead?