Do Falcons Need Another #2 WR?

Time to Add Another Weapon?

One of Two Touchdowns (AP)

 There have been whispers the last few years regarding the Atlanta Falcons receiving corps. Thomas Dimitroff hasn’t added a new receiver through the draft or free agency since his very first days as General Manager when he added Harry Douglas in the third round and decided to re-up Michael Jenkins to a whopping 4 years deal worth $20 million dollars. Jenkins and Brian Finneran were holdovers from the previous regime and he recently drafted Kerry Meier in the 5th round only to see him go down with an ACL injury and be lost for the year. Eric Weems has solidified his spot on the team as an excellent special teams player and returner, but has had almost no impact in the passing game.

Roddy White doesn’t even merit mention in this conversation since he’s absolutely one of the best wide receivers in the National Football League, whose made the Pro Bowl two years in a row and just was named to his first All-Pro team. In theory, the Falcons won’t be adding any new receivers unless they take some away because the roster almost seems set in stone with Roddy White, Jenkins, Douglas, Meier, and Weems slated to fill the 5 spots when the 2011 season rolls around.

A High Need?

But anyone who has witnessed the last two Super Bowl Champion runs, the Saints and Packers, knows how important a deep and talented receiving corps can be. The 2010 playoffs should be fresh in the mind of Falcons fans where 3rd and 4th Green Bay receivers, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, torched the Birds up and down the field and looked as good or better than the Falcons starting receivers.

The running theme on the Falcons has been a prevalent and painful one: double cover Roddy White, bracket Tony Gonzalez, and the other receivers can’t beat you. How many times has that actually happened in the Mike Smith/Mike Mularkey Era? This is not a conversation, per se, about Matt Ryan, Mularkey, or the type of offense the Falcons run, just purely on the level of talent at receiver. Ryan has a long way to go on his deep balls and certainly needs to improve on his decision making and has almost no deep game.

He’s by far not elite or great yet, but he’s by far one of the best young QB’s in the league. The argument for Ryan vs. offense is for another time. This one is purely on the need, or lack thereof, to interject speed and youth on the receiving corps for the Atlanta Falcons. Are the Falcons perfectly fine with their current set of receivers? Or is it finally time to add a legit threat to help Roddy White out?

A Worthy 1st Round Pick?

A Game-Changing Mistake? (C.Compton/AJC)

Michael Jenkins has had an up-and-down career as an Atlanta Falcon. He was drafted in the first round by the Falcons when Rich McKay was the General Manager. In fact, McKay traded picks to get up into the end of the first round to get Jenkins at #27. The debate on whether Jenkins has lived up to his first round potential has been debated and rehashed to death. Most of that depends on what you think a #2 wide receiver should do in an offense. The part here is the thought that Jenkins was drafted to be a number 1 wide receiver, not a #2.

Roddy White was still in college when McKay pulled the trigger to get up and grab Jenkins. His physical tools are off the chart at 6’4, 217 and supposedly having speed to burn. His production, however, is another story altogether. His best year in terms of yards receiving was Matt Ryan’s rookie year with 777 yards, but his best year in terms of touchdowns was in 2006 with 7 TDs. Seemingly, the arrival of Tony Gonzalez has meant a decrease in production for Jenkins.

In 7 years as an Atlanta Falcon, he has only nabbed 20 total TDs and only hauled in 50 or more receptions 3 times, with 2 out of those three years being right at 50. Some believe that he plays the appropriate role for a 3rd target in an offense, since White is the #1 option and Gonzalez is the 2nd option. You can draw your own conclusions on if Jenkins is legit #2 receiver, but has Jenkins ever been the go-to guy when White and Gonzalez are double-covered? A list of true #2 wide receiver comparison has Jenkins ranked as follows (note: stats are done purely on the second most productive wide receiver for each team. If RB’s or TE’s were more productive or more targeted, for instance, they were not counted. This ranking also doesn’t take into account types of offense. Top five and bottom five are also given for reference):

#2 Wide Receiver Comparisons

Receptions – Yards

1) Desean Jackson – Eagles – 56 – 1,056

2) Mario Manningham – Giants – 60 – 944

3) Jabar Gaffney – Broncos – 65 – 875

4) Anthony Armstrong – Redskins – 44 – 871

5) Chad Ochocinco – Bengals – 67 – 831

23) Michael Jenkins – 41 – 505

28) Jacoby Ford – Raiders – 25 – 470

29) Arrelious Benn – Bucs – 25- 395

30) Chansi Stuckey – Browns – 40 – 346

31) Sidney Rice – Vikings – 17 – 280

32) Chris Chambers – Chiefs – 22 – 213

Touchdowns

1) Mario Manningham – Giants – 9

2) Lance Moore – Saints – 8

3) Derrick Mason – Ravens – 7

4) Mike Sims-Walker – Jaguars – 7

5) 6 Players Tied at 6 TDs including Davone Bess, Dez Bryant, and Nate Washington

T – 8th) Michael Jenkins – 2 (tied with Jacoby Ford, Arrelious Benn, 4 others)

T – 9th) Steve Breaston, Patrick Crayton, Chris Chambers

10th) Chansi Stuckey – 0

Obviously, there are a ton of variables that weren’t included in the preceding #2 wide receiver comparisons such as TE options, RB options, types of offense, and missed games, but some cold hard facts stick out. Even when compared to similar amount of receptions, Jenkins had 300 yards less than Anthony Armstrong and only had 30 more yards receiving than rookie Jacoby Ford with a full 15 more catches. An excuse of being productive for a 3rd option behind a strong wide receiver and tight end also falls flat. Brent Celek had over 500 yards with 42 receptions and 4 TDs and the Desean Jackson (1056) and Jeremy Maclin (70 – 964 – 10 TDs) still had plenty of touches, not even including Lesean McCoy with over 500 yards receiving himself.

The Chargers #1 receiver was a tight end in Antonio Gates and Jenkins still had fewer yards than Patrick Crayton as a #2 WR (25 rec – 514 yds). Another reason may be due to having a running back with tons of yards. That also is hard to defend when Arian Foster runs for over 1,600 yards and their #2 WR Kevin Walter still has 621 yards and 5 TDs. The Saints 3 tight ends (Shockey, Graham, Thomas) even combined for over 900 yards and their #3 receiver Robert Meachem had 638 yards, 5 TDs, and 5 TDs on 44 catches.

The yards aren’t even that bad, but the touchdowns are really painful to examine. Rookie Dez Bryant had triple the amount of TDs as Jenkins. Mario Manningham had triple the amount his TDs, and two other rookies had the same amount of touchdowns as Jenkins at 2 (Jacoby Ford, Arrelious Benn). Throw in the fact that Jenkins had less catches (41) than the backup running back (Jason Snelling – 44) and an argument could be made that an upgrade is needed at the #2 Wide Receiver position.

Free Agents

It’s doubtful that Dimitroff will go this route since there are so many other pressing needs such as defensive end, cornerback, and even the Falcons own free agents that have to be re-signed. Add to that the fact that receivers have shown a pretty remarkable ability of coming in and contributing right away in recent years and you get the feeling that this won’t be the direction they go, but you never know.

Malcom Floyd – 6’5 – 225 – Age: 29

A big deep threat that could be an amazing complement to Roddy White and a player that has proven he can be a vertical threat. Will probably looking for a huge deal since he’s nearing 30.

Sidney Rice – 6’4 – 201 – Age: 24

Southern product from South Carolina and USC is one of the youngest game-breakers in the game. Seemed to really blow-up last year while making the Pro Bowl before his hip injury sidelined him. Still managed same amount of TDs as Jenkins with only 17 catches. Can’t imagine Minnesota letting him go at just 24.

Other Notable Free Agent Receivers: Santonio Holmes, Steve Smith, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Lance Moore, James Jones

Draft a Wide Receiver Early

Good, Not Great Depth? (C.Compton/AJC)

While the Falcons don’t possess any gaping needs this off-season if everything goes according to Dimitroff’s plan, the Falcons may finally have the luxury of adding an immediate playmaker to the mix on offense either at wide receiver or running back. Dimitroff has only drafted a skill position on offense (WR, TE, RB) higher than the 5th round one time (Harry Douglas) since he’s been at the helm of the Falcons. Even though a first round draft pick of wide receiver may be a real option, choosing one in the second or third round has shown to give immediate impact at the #2 spot such as Jacoby Ford (3rd round) and Arrelious Benn (2nd round), and sometimes even as the #1 WR (fourth round). The Falcons have a good receiving corps, but lack a pure deep threat and there seem to be only a handful (AJ Green and Julio Jones not included due to high draft projection).

Torrey Smith – 6’1 – 205 – Forty: 4.40 – Maryland

Considered the next best receiver after the two big SEC boys AJ Green and Julio Jones get taken as expected early in the draft. One of the few top tier receivers that reportedly lacks deep threat speed. Coming out as a junior. Had over 800 yards receiving and 5 TDs as a sophomore and over a 1,000 yards with 12 TDs as a junior. Probably would have to be taken in the 1st because he likely wouldn’t last until Falcons draft in the 2nd round.

Titus Young – 5’11 – 170 – Forty: 4.47 – Boise State

Coming out as a true senior and was highly productive as a junior (79 catches, 1,041 yards, 10 TDs) and a senior (71 catches, 1,215 yards, 9 TDs). Is one of the biggest vertical threats of any of the wide receiver crop coming out in the draft. Draws comparisons to Mike Wallace of the Steelers. May not project as a true #2 receiver and probably could flourish more in the slot, but many said the same about Desean Jackson and Percy Harvin too. Likely around in the second round, but maybe not when Falcons draft.

Jernell Jernigan – 5’9 – 190 – Forty: 4.32 – Troy

May be the fastest prospect coming out in the draft. Blazing speed and the definition of a true deep threat that can stretch the field. In the right offense, may could be a #2 wide receiver, but not likely in the Falcons run first offense. Depending on his combine numbers, may go sooner than projected due to his pure speed. 1,101 yards receiving as a junior with a 15.2 yards per catch, but only nabbed 4 TDs. Production dropped off as senior taking in barley over 800 yards receiving and a fairly low 9.8 yards per catch, which is not great for a burner.

Other Notable Prospects: Randall Cobb – Kentucky, Edmond Gates – Abilene Christian, Niles Paul – Nebraska, Terrence Toliver – LSU, Darvin Adams – Auburn

So there you have it. Do the Falcons need an upgrade at the wide receiver position, specifically the #2 wideout spot? Another topic covering the #3, #4, and #5 receiver spots will be covered later at some point, but do the Falcons need another #2 wideout or is Jenkins just fine?

Plan the Wide Receivers (Your Turn)

-Simple to you: Do the Falcons need another #2 wide receiver?

-What’s your opinion of Jenkins?

-Is Jenkins production perfectly fine for you, given his targets?

-Has Jenkins lived up to his first round status?

-Are there simply more pressing needs than WR?

-In your opinion, who SHOULD be starting opposite Roddy in 2011?

-In your opinion, who WILL be starting opposite Roddy in 2011?

-Should the Falcons explore the free agent market for a wideout?

-Should the Birds consider a wideout in the first round?

-Who sticks out to you in the upcoming draft?

-Can the Falcons find a game-changer at WR later in the draft?

315 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

February 18th, 2011
11:33 am

Enter your comments here

D3

February 18th, 2011
11:38 am

Back up to speed here in The Cage. Sorry for the interruption. ENJOY!

Tad Tucker

February 18th, 2011
11:47 am

Give Kerry Meier a chance if he comes back healthy. I watched the kid play and he’s a winner.

waynester

February 18th, 2011
12:03 pm

Thanks for a great topic to head into the weekend…
YES, we need a game-changer at WR. We can carry another WR on the roster, especially if they’re adept at special teams, too.Due to the big $$ extension, Jenkins will probably get the job but the numbers don’t lie–he’s not lived up to his lofty draft status. Ryan’s 1st year looked really promising for Jenks and many of us thought he had turned the corner. He has improved in some areas but not enough. No one has to game plan for MJ. No one lives in fear of leaving him in single coverage while they double RW and TG. We need someone with ELITE speed. That’s one of the reasons I like J Jernigan from Troy. He can do lots of things in addition to receiving. Randall Cobb is another versatile guy. Both are short but incredibly athletic and most importantly, fast as the Flash. An added benefit is that both should still be available in the 2nd round. Again this draft, I hope we will find a trade partner and move out of the lower 1st, into the upper half of the 2nd, gaining additional future picks and leaving us with 2 2nd rounders as that’s where I believe the value is….

Hamad Meander

February 18th, 2011
12:24 pm

I know Michael Jenkins had elite speed when we drafted him, and from what I saw toward the end of the season, I am comfortable with him at #2. I feel like the stats you cite D3 are very misleading for several reasons: 1. Roddy White caught a crapload of balls. So did Tony G. There are just so many completions to to around. 2. When we are in the redzone, the Falcons tendencies are to run or look for Gonzalez. 3. A lot of the receivers that ‘outperformed’ Jenkins were on teams that were constantly playing from behind – thus more balls thrown. 4. Jenkins missed the first (5) games of the season – taking his stats out a full season (and including the GB game) he would be at 884 yards and 72 catches. I think that would be acceptable.

Mark it down: I am a Jenkins fan. If he is healthy next season and is still #2, I think ya’ll will be fine with him as well. You don’t get a lot of good blocking out of some of the speedier WR and he’s a total package that just doesn’t blow the stats board up.

Hamad Meander

February 18th, 2011
12:28 pm

Caveat: If Julio Jones falls in the draft, I would love to see him a Falcon – he is so big and strong and can block. It probably isn’t going to happen, but I would like that. He played through a lot of injuries and didn’t seem to be the diva he probably could have been based on his talent.

WR

February 18th, 2011
1:00 pm

D3 hope the little is doing better and great way to get us rebooted. As much as I have been on the WR bandwagon, and I mentioned this last night, I’m starting to look toward jumping off. Consider this:

Let’s say the Falcons draft Torrey Smith or Julio Jones for the sake of argument. Now either comes in and happens to be the player they were supposed to be, or at least hoped to be. Okay, the new WR gets a corner and safety help, White still gets a corner and safety help, Gonzo is now covered by an LB with LB help, and thats just in the Falcons base offense. Lets go three receiver, White remains the same, but with LB coverage underneath and CB coverage over the top, Gonzo is still bracketed with an two LBs, and the new WR is covered with a CB and Safety again, while the third receiver is covered one on one with a CB. What hasn’t changed, the LBs responsiblities, especially now in a 3-4 league, but also against a 4-3. The Falcons could add Desean Jackson and it wouldn’t change the dynamics of a good D’s approach to the Falcons.

But, a duel threat RB out of the backfield completely changes a Ds dynamics and means of attack. Whether zone or man to man and blitzing, two good to great receivers rarely change a thing as far as the D. They can account for it, they know and anticipate the route tree but thats not to say they can’t be fooled. On the other hand though, a duel threat RB completely changes everything, a duel threat RB can utilize a screen to take advantage of aggressive defenses, a duel threat RB will make LBs hold him accountable which holds an opposing DC accountable when considering a blitz package, with a duel threat RB a D has to consider covering him with an LB or CB, and lastly, even with a great DL, if their attacking the QB expecting a pass, a duel threat RB can run for quite some time if they catch the DL anticipating pass instead of run. To be Cont:

WR

February 18th, 2011
1:01 pm

GB has been used frequently as the example for teams to follow when exploiting a teams D, funny thing is that NE has been doing it for years, but recently their D has been subpar. What is the common theme, its not about the WRs, its about the RBs. Notice how GB suffered without Ryan Grant, yes Jackson and Kuhn got it done, but it was either one was good at running the ball or one was good at catching the ball, teams could prepare for that. It all changed when James Starks took over, with Starks the Packers could run at you, or had a major threat in the passing game, teams had to account for that, the same as they did with Grant in the lineup. A WR may change whether a team uses an additional safety, CB, or LB in coverage. But a duel threat RB changes whether a team uses an additional safety, CB, LB, go after the QB with all out pressure from the DL or LBs, blitz, or play coverage.

Lastly, and for example, the last past to Roddy White in the first half of the GB game, we all say it was predictable, it was easy for a CB to pick it because they knew it was coming. Lets say Jerry Rice was on the otherside, of course he commands respect and probably double coverage, but it doesn’t change the CB jumping that route to White, a duel threat RB does, because he changes responsiblities and the thinking process. Like it or not thats what Norwood provided when he was around, and it just so happens thats when Jenkins had his best season, yes considering the injury history Norwood should be gone, but at this time I don’t think replacing Jenkins is as important as finding a gamebreaking duel threat RB, they can completely change a game, far better then a shifty, speedy WR.

D3

February 18th, 2011
1:03 pm

Tad — Really looking forward to seeing Meier. It was really painful to see him get hurt. Unfortunately, I’ll have to say I’m not expecting too much after an ACL injury, much in the same regard as Harry Douglas this past year.

waynester — Thanks. Agreed. I think Jenkins can be apart of our offense in some regard, but he’s not a #2 receiver. How long do you get to prove it? He’s had 7 season, how many more does he need?

Hamad — We’ll just have to agree to disagree here. I researched every #2 Wide Receiver in the NFL and there’s simply no excuses anymore. I’m not saying get rid of him, but he’s not a #2. Sorry, we don’t pay guys $5 mill a year to be good blockers. He can’t do damage against good teams who shut down Roddy, Gonzo, and Turner. I’ll list all stats from all 32 teams below, but each excuse can be proven wrong.

1) Greg Jennings, Marques Colston, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Braylon Edwards, Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin, and Brandon Lloyd caught a bunch of balls too (just to name a few) and all of their #2 WR’s absolutely destroyed Jenkins in terms of production. Take a look at Philly’s completions to Jackson, Maclin, McCoy, and Celek if you don’t think there’s enough balls to go around.

2) No excuse on “looking elsewhere in the redzone.” How many times has he proven he’s not a redzone threat with his size? They don’t target him because he doesn’t deliver. Brian Finneran caught 3 TDS on 19 catches, every TD was in the redzone. Not true they don’t target WR’s in the redzone. Same goes for Roddy with some of his TDs being in the redzone.

3) I mean the playing from behind thing is so subjective. Philly, New Orleans, Indy, Baltimore, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, etc. weren’t known from playing too much from behind and they blistered Jenkins stats.

4) Granted, he missed 5 games and I’ll give you that one. But what was his excuse last year, or ‘05, or ‘06. Sidney Rice played in only 5 games and still had the same amount of TDs as Jenkins, not to mention the dysfunction junction going on with their team. Same with Chris Chambers (22) and Patrick Crayton (28) who both even managed 1 TD a piece. Two rookies, Jacoby Ford and Arrelious Benn, both had 2 TDs a piece as well. Is Jenkins really no better than a 2nd round and 3rd round rookie?

The blocking thing is red herring. We don’t pay an NFL 1st round pick $5 milllion to be a good blocker. It obviously didn’t translate into many huge runs with Turner anyway. If nothing else, I’ll take his yards and chain-moving ability, but he’s proven he can’t be a legit option if the other WR’s are shut down. Green Bay just won a Super Bowl because their #3 and #4 receivers in James Jones and Jordy Nelson delivered.

D3

February 18th, 2011
1:12 pm

WR — Very good points. I’m not saying we need to replace Jenkins, per se, but we have to get more speed and production out of the receiving corps besides just Roddy. You made my point better than any other: God forbid if Roddy gets hurt, do we feel comfortable with Jenkins and HD? Perhaps this is really a criticism more on HD than it is Jenkins, because HD was the vertical threat and could make things happen after the catch. My point is that we should invest in a speedy WR at least in the 2nd or 3rd. This could have all been solved if we would’ve taken Jacoby Ford. But then we wouldn’t have Peters so this is a circular argument. Final point is we desperately some speed, both at RB and WR.

D3

February 18th, 2011
1:16 pm

Here’s the complete listing of #2 WR stats…….

#2 WR’s from each NFL Team

Player – Receptions – Yards – TDs
(sorted by Yards Rec)

1 DeSean Jackson 47 1056 6
2 Mario Manningham 60 944 9
3 Jabar Gaffney 65 875 2
4 Anthony Armstrong 44 871 3
5 Chad Ocho 67 831 4
6 Davone Bess 79 820 5
7 Derrick Mason 61 802 7
8 Pierre Garcon 67 784 6
9 Lance Moore 66 763 8
10 Hines Ward 59 755 5
11 Santonio Holmes 52 746 6
12 Steve Breaston 47 718 1
13 Deion Branch 48 706 5
14 Josh Morgan 44 698 2
15 Nate Washington 42 687 6
16 James Jones 50 679 5
17 Nate Burleson 55 625 6
18 Kevin Walter 51 621 5
19 Brandon Gibson 53 620 2
20 Lee Evans 37 578 4
21 Earl Bennett 46 561 3
22 Dez Bryant 45 561 6
23 Mike Sims-Walker 43 561 7
24 Patrick Crayton 28 514 1
25 David Gettis 37 508 3
26 Michael Jenkins 41 505 2
27 Ben Obamanu 30 494 2
28 Jacoby Ford 25 470 2
29 Arrelious Benn 25 395 2
30 Chansi Stuckey 40 346 0
31 Sidney Rice 17 280 2
32 Chris Chambers 22 213 1

D3

February 18th, 2011
1:18 pm

Sorted by TDs

Player – Rec – Yards – TDs
1 Mario Manningham 60 944 9
2 Lance Moore 66 763 8
3 Derrick Mason 61 802 7
4 Mike Sims-Walker 43 561 7
5 DeSean Jackson 47 1056 6
6 Pierre Garcon 67 784 6
7 Santonio Holmes 52 746 6
8 Nate Washington 42 687 6
9 Nate Burleson 55 625 6
10 Dez Bryant (R) 45 561 6
11 Davone Bess 79 820 5
12 Hines Ward 59 755 5
13 Deion Branch 48 706 5
14 James Jones 50 679 5
15 Kevin Walter 51 621 5
16 Chad Ocho 67 831 4
17 Lee Evans 37 578 4
18 Anthony Armstrong 44 871 3
19 Earl Bennett 46 561 3
20 David Gettis 37 508 3
21 Jabar Gaffney 65 875 2
22 Josh Morgan 44 698 2
23 Brandon Gibson 53 620 2
24 Michael Jenkins 41 505 2
25 Ben Obamanu 30 494 2
26 Jacoby Ford (R) 25 470 2
27 Arrelious Benn (R) 25 395 2
28 Sidney Rice 17 280 2
29 Steve Breaston 47 718 1
30 Patrick Crayton 28 514 1
31 Chris Chambers 22 213 1
32 Chansi Stuckey 40 346 0

Sports Review

February 18th, 2011
1:20 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

waynester

February 18th, 2011
1:26 pm

WR
Has made a very sound argument for moving RB to the top of our wish-list. Can’t say I’m completely sold on taking one at #27, however, if we trade back into the upper 2nd the idea suddenly becomes very feasible. In fact, if we stay put at 27, Le Shoure may still be there. Upper 2nd Ryan Williams from Va Tech(yuchk)–bottom 2nd Demarco Murray(OK) Kendall Hunter(OK St) and Jaquizz Rogers(ORE St) all are solid pro prospects. Like the way you’re thinking outside the proverbial “box”,WR–thanks….

waynester

February 18th, 2011
1:29 pm

D3
24th and 26th in the league in the 2 vital categories you listed just ain’t cutting it. Even Jenkins greatest fans have to recognize this is a huge problem….

chickenman

February 18th, 2011
2:24 pm

-Simple to you: Do the Falcons need another #2 wide receiver? YES

-What’s your opinion of Jenkins? He is still inconsistent over the middle, and we need a deep threat to stretch the field and open running lanes

-Is Jenkins production perfectly fine for you, given his targets? Average, but lack of deep catches is cause for concern

-Has Jenkins lived up to his first round status? NO

-Are there simply more pressing needs than WR? An elite Pass rusher would help but i also think a speed tailback is an option as well

-In your opinion, who SHOULD be starting opposite Roddy in 2011? Deep threat like Randy Moss

-In your opinion, who WILL be starting opposite Roddy in 2011? Jenkins

-Should the Falcons explore the free agent market for a wideout? If the price is right

-Should the Birds consider a wideout in the first round? No unless they get AJ.. the rest are moderate talents

-Who sticks out to you in the upcoming draft? Nothing late in the draft really appeals to me. Most of the elite talent is stuffed in1-15.. hopefully a few players drop and a steal opens up. (Claybourne,ayers,heyward,even julio )

-Can the Falcons find a game-changer at WR later in the draft? Doubtful.. maybe the kid from troy but again i doubt we will see a jacoby ford this year

JeanE

February 18th, 2011
2:46 pm

No, Jenkins is not a great #2 receiver but he’s good enough. We have way more needs than another receiver. I really hope they bring Finn back another year. No way Kerry Meier is as good as Finn, especially coming off ACL injury. And Finn is awesome on special teams!! Plus, he’s a veteran team leader. Bring Finn back!!!!!!!

falCANTS4ever

February 18th, 2011
2:47 pm

Enter your comments here

DC DirtyBird

February 18th, 2011
2:57 pm

No way Finn should be back. Why would you carry an aging receiver who can’t beat single coverage anymore? Finn and Meier(no hard feelings but what can we expect coming off of ACL surgery) need to be given walking papers and Harry Douglas put on notice. Why not bring in young speed and size to develop. We really only have room for one more receiver assuming Finn is cut as Eric Weems is a special teamer but is on the roster as a WR. I’d take Harry over Meier simply because Harry at least has shown he belongs in the league.

ryan

February 18th, 2011
3:04 pm

I believe Syndey Rice is a FA we look at him and if you J. Jones we would have trade up and give away 2nd round pick

JB FALCON

February 18th, 2011
3:11 pm

WR & waynester, I’ve been leaning toward the same idea on the RB idea. Only thing is the draft is not polluted with RB’s this year. Ingram and LeShoure are both rated so high we’d be lucky to get either of them. Maybe TD can find a diamond in the rough.
D3, We’re probably stuck with Jenkins. It puzzles me why we even drafted Meier if he’s a HD clone. Could Meier be the WR we’re looking for?
So far if we can get Charles Johnson as a FA, and Meier is what he’s supposed to be, then pray for Ingram or Leshoure to drop. If they don’t I’d probably go with Torrey Smith.
Lot of ifs, and, and buts here, BUT the subject is deep and murky.

Arno

February 18th, 2011
3:17 pm

Stats and talent do not tell the story. The key is who Ryan WANTS as his targets. Ryan and White achieve pure mind meld. Ryan/Gonzalez and Ryan/Finn high levels of confidence. Ryan/Meier connection looked great until the injury. But Jenkins? Not so apparent. It did seem that the Ryan/Jenkins confidence level improved somewhat as last season wore on. Do we need another WR? Ryan said as much after the Probowl. That answers it for me.

JB FALCON

February 18th, 2011
3:18 pm

Also there’s Jon Baldwin 6′5″ out of Pittsburgh?

waynester

February 18th, 2011
3:31 pm

JBFalcon
Baldwin has all the measurables and will probably be a good pro player but he has issues off the field that will probably cause TD to exclude him from our “stacks”. Not too many teams have RB high on their needs list this draft and even fewer seem to need the change-up type back that we’re looking for.
Arno
touched on another clue and that’s the way Ryan gushed about the WRs at the probowl. I’d love to see us pick up someone who would be a #1 on most teams to go opposite RW. Whomever we get will have to be an unselfish, team-first guy as we want to distribute the ball around more widely and perhaps a rookie would best fill the bill as #2 with #1 talent….

sweet Old Buck

February 18th, 2011
3:48 pm

Since 2011 will be Tony’s last year, his stats need to be replaced. That means find a Nr. 2 receiver. The draft is the place to go. I don’t like any of the suggestions. I do like Titus Young from Boise State in the slot. Keep Jenkins on the outside.

Sweet Old Buck

February 18th, 2011
3:58 pm

Oh, by the way! Hary Douglas is not a keeper. Play Kerry Meier.

uga_b

February 18th, 2011
4:31 pm

I still think regardless of which position you need more, RB is the better, safer pick at # 27. Every first round RB from the last 5 years is still in the league. WRs have been good as of late, but I don’t see as much high-level depth this year.

As fair to middlin as Jenkins is, look at the other picks: Larry Fitzgerald; Roy Williams; Reggie Williams; Lee Evans; Michael Clayton; Michael Jenkins; Rashaun Woods.

Shoot, Roddy was taken AFTER: Braylon Edwards; Troy Williamson; Mike Williams; Matt Jones; and Mark Clayton.

This has the looks of one of thos bad WR drafts.

From what I am hearing about DE depth, I think that is the way we are going.

We need to upgrade Jenkins but it is not happening in the first round. Hopefully Weems can become more of a 4 instead of a 5. I have to imagine Douglas improves.

JB FALCON

February 18th, 2011
4:42 pm

uga_b, I agree, I threw Kerrigan’s name in here a while back, if we go DE in the draft, if we don’t buy Chs Johnson.

D3

February 18th, 2011
5:07 pm

Great Best Day of the Work Week Cage! — Back in swing after my buddy’s stomach bug. Knock on wood, it seems to have passed. Great convos in here.

Tad, chickenman, ryan, Old Buck, & DCDirtyBird — Glad to see you in The Cage. Welcome!

Arno, waynester, uga_b, Hamad, & WR — Great to see you fellers in here. Excellent commentary.

I didn’t mean to perform a hatchet job on one Mr. Jenkins, because he’s a class act, a great locker guys, a leader, and someone you want on your team. I think he’s an excellent option in our offense. Perhaps its more of an indictment on our slot WR’s, namely HD/Weems et al. With a speedy slot receiver who can make excellent runs after catch, Jenkins would be a in a perfect role. But without an effective slot, Jenkins is not a legit #2.

falcon21

February 18th, 2011
5:10 pm

WR, I kinda got a little lost with your first post but after re-reading it, it makes a lot of since. Very good points.

WR

February 18th, 2011
5:24 pm

Evening cage, like D3 mentioned great convo’s today. In reference to my earlier post, I’m not saying to go definite RB in the 1st but I do believe starting there opens up more options. Most of us agree the Falcons need an upgrade at WR and a speedy dual threat RB. Now as someone mentioned yesterday, if the Falcons can trade out of their 1st rd pick and pick up an additional 2nd and 3rd, thats two picks in the 2nd to address the RB and WR situation, plus two picks in the third for a potential OLB and a DE or OL pick. They could also go RB LB 2nd and WR with DE or OL in the 3rd, many ways to go. Why throw all your eggs in one basket if you don’t have to, in a draft that many consider a crap shoot, 4 good areas to pick in over 1 maybe 2 has better odds.

Probably out for the night, I’ll catch up with the cage more this weekend,

Oh yeah, by the way Truth, when I envisioned a massive DT Trey Lewis was the first guy to come to mine, then I woke up.lol

Hamad Meander

February 18th, 2011
6:30 pm

WR and Uga-B – I’m sold on a dual-purpose running back – one that can catch and really put the defense on their heels. I keep hoping Norwood would be that guy for us, but he is injured all the time. A healthy Norwood would fit that need, but it might be time to find one in the draft.

I feel that White, Jenkins, Douglas, Gonzalez, and Finneran make for a nice receiving corps. The problem of drafting a deep route speedster is that everything else must be solid for a player like that to be effective. I just don’t think our offensive line can protect long enough for a wide receiver to get 30-40 yards down the field for passes.

I prefer to see us draft a playmaker on defense that can put pressure on the opposing QB with our early picks. Linebackers and offensive linemen are the least riskiest early picks, while QBs and WRs and CBs are some of the riskiest.

D3

February 18th, 2011
6:31 pm

Well, I think I’ve been swayed over to the RB in the first round Train myself. Look, I would love to get a speedy, game-breaking WR, but I’m not saying we have to get him in the first round. Just that we address it at least in the 2nd or 3rd (preferably the 2nd). Maybe we would be fine with our current receivers as is, if only Smith would open up the offense (honestly, I’m blaming Smith at this point, because everything he touches reeks of conservatism). Still, just hoping that HD will get back to rookie form and hoping that Meier will magically come back to training camp form post-ACL is putting too much hope.

Sadly, this is a tough business. Injuries can derail careers and certainly opportunities. If hometown favorite DJ Shockley can’t make it as a 3rd string QB, than Meier and Douglas should definitely not be untouchable. Same goes for Weems. Sorry, but a Devin Hester he ain’t. And if he can’t contribute in the passing game, than he’s replaceable. Jenkins isn’t going anywhere, but that salary sure is hard to take right now for his production.

Question: What if LeShoure is gone, then what? Do we take Torrey Smith at WR? Do we take a ill-founded chance on “potential” like Allen Bailey at DE as DOL is recommeding? Do we potentially “reach” for a guy like Titus Young or DeMarco Murray? Do we take an OT that likely won’t help anymore than Garrett Reynolds would? Trading down would be amazing this year, but its never as easy as the Patriots make it look. It may be easier since we’re at the bottom of the first round, but TD seems to like his targeted strikes like Matt Ryan and Spoon (Jerry was a case of “falling” to us). This is the hardest draft to take an angle on in a while.

If LeShoure or Smith are there, I say pull the trigger. I know I’ll get torched for this, but I would be really happy with DeMarco Murray at #27. The dude could help transform our offense, IF he stays healthy. And therein lies your problem. We got burned with Jerry’s injury history, so will TD elect to do that again?

BobbyDawg

February 18th, 2011
7:00 pm

June Jones says Aldrick Robinson WR – SMU should be a first round pick rather than 5th to 7th as preicted. He’s got some outstanding stats and may be worth taking a look at for a later than 1, 2, or 3 round pick. At 5′10″ 182 lb. he seems a bit small to me. Clocks in at a 4.42 — 40. “GO FALCONS”!

JB FALCON

February 18th, 2011
7:14 pm

Question: What if LeShoure is gone, then what?
I think the draft is going to take place before we will know if we can get a FA. If we can’t/don’t get Chs Johnson, Kerrigan can step in with an immediate pass rush, now and when Abe leaves, assuming we are willing to accept our current receivers.
That still leaves us without a RB, soooo, never mind. I don’t have a clue.

Screen Pass

February 18th, 2011
7:27 pm

No reason to torch ya over D. Murray in the first D3. It is just how this draft is. M. Leshoure is pretty much the only 1st round value/need pick with most others being value reaches. Same on defense, P. Taylor is prolly the only true 1st value. It is why many here have discussed trading out of the first. M. Leshoure is not under the radar, he and Ingram are the focus of an NFL video emblazened on the front page of a certain “official” Falcon site at the moment. Many in the mock draft world have him rated higher than Ingram due to his freakish versatility. I doubt he is there when we pick more and more as time goes on. There was 3 teams that have a good chance of snagging him before us, now the Titans have announced they want to be a power-run first team. Wonder who bests fits that bill in the draft? I don’t. If Leshoure is gone, saying screw value and going after Gilbert, Torrey, or D. Murray isn’t the worst idea as trading down might not be possible. I don’t see getting more than a late fourth or earlier fifth for dropping down around 15 spots. Someone can look up the draft value charts for a better assessment as that is off the top of my head. Torrey and Gilbert could easily be gone by mid 2nd, D. Murray probaly not. Using our 1st 2nd round pick on Gilbert/Torrey/ Sands etc. and the later one on D. Murray would be a better value situation. Honestly, I would put getting what we need over value at this point as this draft is poor in too many areas to mess around and not get our guys.

Paddy O

February 18th, 2011
7:40 pm

Sadly, the comparison is not really effective – Jenkins was out at least 5 games, a wee bit in that sixth game. When you look at the explanation for our 2nd receiver not being that productive, I would say it has more to do with scheme & route. We saw in the GB game a more comprehensive pass attack in the 2nd half (Fin across the middle, more throws to Jenkins) But, a failure to utilize Gonzalez as much. Jenkins played mediocerly in the the last GB game – a questionable call on the out route, and the strip in the slot pass really dashed any hopes of an improbable come back. However, I think Jenkins is fairly productive. A lot of his years here were with Vick, who never developed a dependable passing rhythm (I believe Ryan’s 1st pass, a long TD, was to Jenkins). I guess the question I have: Is Leshoure a scat back type of guy? Excellent speed and good hands? IF so, I draft him & then Jernigan in the 2nd round, then a developmental DE and an LB. However, ledbetter has Houston, Paea & Pouncey still available at the 27 slot – I’d be interested in any of those 3 guys. If either of those 3 guys are available, I’d opt for Houston, then Jernigan in round 2 (assuming Torrey is gone), then the developmental DE and an O lineman. BUT, you would still need to sign a FA DE (Johnson is the consensus).

Screen Pass

February 18th, 2011
7:48 pm

One last point and them it is pizza time. M. Leshoure is and has been my first choice for a long time. If he is not available no doubt I would be disappointed, but it is not the end of the world. There is a later round guy that looks to be a pretty good “alternate” for the big power feature/ Turner back up/ replacement etc role. Syracuse RB D. Carter does not possess any where near the versatility or big play ability of Leshoure but he is a big tough power back that should be available in 3rd-later rounds. He does not truly fit the bill of what Leshoure would bring to our offense but he would be a perfect backup for Turner if Snelling gets big money/ feature opportunity and leaves the Falcons. Taking D. Murray early and Carter later still gives us pass catching feature and Turner back up, just not in one complete package like Leshoure. We then take Locke/ Vereen/ Rodgers as late round COP/scat back up for Murray, heck we could even wait to use one of our multiple 6th/7th picks to get one of the plethora of scats or even resign Norwood. Leshoure makes it pretty and easy, but it is far from the only alternative to getting us a versatile,speedy, dangerous backfield.

Paddy O

February 18th, 2011
7:51 pm

One of the key omission in the Falcon offensive repertoire (granted the TD pass to Roddy against I think the Ravens – a long slant pass – indicates we COULD do this), was passes over the middle, with a lot of YAK. We do a great job on 3rd down conversions – but, the receiver is essentially a yard past the 1st down marker & does not intend to gain additional yardage. We are addicted to the out pass – either deepish, short or mid – which is why MR2 was intercepted in GB – it was a very predictable play, and one which MR2 made a BAD pass (low by about 6 feet). In the GB game, Fin started going across, but that is not a great place for a tall guy – and after he got hammered the 2nd time, that play was not so frequent.

Paddy O

February 18th, 2011
8:03 pm

I think we resign Norwood – 2 years and cheap – if we get a better guy, we cut him.

falcon21

February 18th, 2011
8:25 pm

Paddy O, great points with your 7:51 post but as for Norwood I don’t think his skinny legs are going to hold up in the NFL. Love the guy but I don’t see resigning him. Just how cheap is cheap and should we chance it?

JB FALCON

February 18th, 2011
8:26 pm

PO, I heard KFC was interested in Norwood, they’re short on legs.

Paddy O

February 18th, 2011
8:45 pm

I’d say the league minimum with bonuses for games played or snaps taken.

Mike10

February 18th, 2011
8:47 pm

We need another receiver because I think Jenkins is not a true #2 reciever I would put him in the slot and go get somebody like Holmes,Floyd or Rice.

Paddy O

February 18th, 2011
8:47 pm

I think MR2 is good enough right now, with the offense we have, to repeat 2010 12 wins and division champs. But, without an upgrade on D, we still don’t make the SB. That is why I feel it is absolutely necessary to sign Johnson, and I would go for Bailey, but not at 10 mil a year, maybe 5 per for 2 years with a 6 mil signing bonus (if only that were my money!).

Paddy O

February 18th, 2011
8:48 pm

I’d shy away from Rice with the injury riddled 10 season. I am really leaning toward the Troy guy with his speed – can the guy elevate?

falcon21

February 18th, 2011
8:49 pm

That would be cheap, I think he had a total of one play last season.

Ken Strickland

February 18th, 2011
8:52 pm

It wouldn’t make much sense for us to draft or even have another speed WR if our OC won’t call the type of pass plays, or design the type of pass routes, that takes advantage of that speed. The truth is, we don’t take advantage of the speed we have. It’s not like MJenkins, HDouglas, EWeems and RWhite don’t have above average speed, we just don’t run the type of routes or call plays that takes advantage of the speed we have.

You can’t tell me that with the size and speed of our WR’s, they lack the capability of gaining more yds after the catch or more yds per catch. It’s because we seldom run quick slants, deep post, or stop and go routes, and we’re far too rigid and predictable in our play calling . The type of routes we run are mostly hooks, outs and ins, which are primarily possession routes.

PADDY O-If RB JNorwood stays healthy, we won’t find anything better.

Mike10

February 18th, 2011
9:00 pm

If we don’t attempt to upgrade the WR the offence is going to get so predictable,teams are going to take Rhoddy and Gonzo out of the game in the playoffs like Greenbay did.Who the hell are we going to,they need another threat.

falcon21

February 18th, 2011
9:07 pm

Ken, I am probably wrong again but I still think the play calling is to cover up for our poor pass protection. Ryan does not have the time to let his WR’s run a deeper route. I know that is not an answer for the quick slants though.