Rank Your Atlanta Falcons – Part 1

Make Some Tough Decisions of Your Own

Franchise QB (C.Compton/AJC)

To break up the off-season monotony a little, The Bird Cage decided to take a little break from the positional breakdowns and put a debate up that sure to stir some passion and heated discussions. We as fans may have some clue as to what Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith, and the Falcons front office have in store for us, but anyone watching last year’s draft knows that we’re only spectators and are just guessing in the dark after all. Anyone who guessed Joe Hawley, Kerry Meier, or Shann Schillinger would be wearing red and black before the draft began would be lying.

Try doing your best to rank your Atlanta Falcons on importance to the team and overall value to the team in future success. Some rankings will be tough, but this can also serve as a guidepost to the upcoming draft posts on truly what the Falcons need when late April rolls around. Make sure to give your own ranking and shoot plenty of holes in the authors. And of course ramp up the draft talk since it’s almost 50 days away.

The Bird Cage’s Poor Attempt

#1 – Matt Ryan – Franchise quarterback, who has led the Falcons to back-to-back-to-back winning seasons, won Rookie of the Year, made his first Pro Bowl, and tied Dan Marino’s record for most wins in first 3 years as a starter. Yes, he has a long ways to go and has yet to win a playoff game and the “great” talk shouldn’t be close yet, but they call it a franchise quarterback for a reason.

#2 – Roddy White – The guy is hands down one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and is just hitting his prime. He has gone to three consecutive Pro Bowls and made his first All-Pro team this year. He single-handedly carried the entire wide receiving corps and team many times throughout the season, with little help from the rest of the WR’s. The Falcons have proven they can win without Michael Turner (albeit tough), but they haven’t proven they can win without Roddy White, at least in the lineup.

#3 – Michael Turner – 2 Pro Bowls in three years and when Turner doesn’t go over at least 50 yards rushing, the Falcons simply don’t win. Maybe he’s lost a little burst from his first year, but the guy is still the main focus of a Mike Mularkey run offense. The Falcons seem to be hitching their wagon to Turner, even as he approaches the big 3-0.

Top DE's in the Game (C.Compton/AJC)

# 4 – John Abraham – Pretty much the only pass rush the Falcons have been able to generate for a long while at defensive end. After a dismal 5.5 sack effort in 2009, Abraham jumped right back to 13 sacks and made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team. One of the best DE’s in the game and fans tremble at the thought of him retiring from the game.

#5 – Jonathan Babineaux – Perhaps the biggest surprise so far, but no defensive lineman has been more consistent over the Smith Era as Jonathan Babineaux. He has proven to be one of the best and most consistent defenders on the team. Has not had a “down” year, as some other defenders have.

#6 – Todd McClure – Many will rank Clabo ahead of McClure in terms of the offensive line, but McClure has been the captain on the offensive line for a long, long time and is the model of consistency and leadership. Is a lifelong Falcon and his work ethic and toughness are paramount.

#7 – Curtis Lofton – The old-school tackling machine is the leader of the defense and one of the best tackling linebackers in the game. He even moved up his play-making ability this year with sacks and interceptions. Has been the equivalent to the defense that Ryan has been to the offense. If he can improve his coverage, he’ll be one of the best unquestioned LB’s in the game.

#8 – Tony Gonzalez – Not much needs to be said. Arguably the best tight end to ever play the game. Is nearing retirement and may have lost a step or two in stretching the field, but no one is better at coming up with a clutch 3rd down conversion catch or TD snag.

#9 – Tyson Clabo – Made his first Pro Bowl this year and has been arguably the best OL on a lunch-pail group of offensive linemen. Is a prototypical enormous NFL lineman and looks to cash in his efforts for a huge payday if and when free agency hits. Would be much higher if he were a Left Tackle.

#10 – Brent Grimes – One of the best stories in coming from tiny Shippensburg all the way to the Pro Bowl. Constantly questioned for his small size, but probably pound-for-pound the grittiest and most athletic player on the team. One of the most targeted CB’s in the game and came up with some of the most interceptions over last two years.

#11 – Harvey Dahl – Helped identify the offensive line as mean and nasty all by his lonesome. Is one of the toughest (and some say dirtiest) players in the game and maximizes his potential on almost every play. Another great story of practice squad player who found his groove when he came to Atlanta.

#12 – Thomas DeCoud – Yes, shockwaves are being felt after his somewhat subpar season last year, but coupled with a pretty excellent first year campaign, DeCoud is considered a veteran on an insanely young defense. Next year will tell the story with the free safety.

The Playmaker (AP)

#13 – Ovie Mughelli – One of the best fullbacks in the game got his first much deserved Pro Bowl as a Falcon and has been indispensable as a blocker for Michael Turner clearing holes and even showing he can catch the ball out of the backfield and is very versatile for a big man.

#14 – Jason Snelling – Has proven to be a legit #2 running back and one of the better backs catching the ball out of the backfield in the league. In fact, Snelling was third on the entire team in receptions behind only Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. Isn’t a great complement to Turner, but could even be a feature back here or elsewhere. Carried the team last year when Turner was hurt and Norwood was ineffective and hurt.

#15 – Stephen Nicholas – Some will also be shocked to see this one here as well, but if you think in terms of the entire Mike Smith Era, Nicholas has been the Falcons most consistent outside linebacker and notched more sacks (3) in one year than any other LB has since Smith got here. Needs work on his coverage for sure, but would leave Falcons scrambling if he leaves via free agency.

#16 – Justin Blalock – One of the only Falcons offensive lineman to be drafted and show improvement, despite some bad games here and there and especially considering he’s been playing next to Sam Baker since Mike Smith took over in 2008. Has started every game since becoming a Falcon except for two. Hard to believe that Blalock wouldn’t be a part of any reconfiguring of the OL with his youth, upside, and experience.

#17 – William Moore – Would be much, much higher if he hadn’t just finished his first year as a starter. In terms of pure ability and future core of the team, Moore is probably top 5, he just needs to prove more consistency by replicating it in year 2. DeCoud was the next best free safety in the NFL and hit a definite downturn of sorts in his second year.

#18 – Dunta Robinson – Very tough to gauge since he just completed his first year as the Falcons cornerstone defensive back and had mixed results at best. Dimitroff obviously saw something in him to grant him a $57 million dollar contract. Even though he had his lapses at times, he seemed to improve and definitely was targeted less than Grimes, perhaps for a reason. Will definitely move up with a great second year.

#19 – Kroy Biermann – The ultimate Atlanta Falcon. The guy is tough, a hard worker, a great leader, and possesses a tenacity that some other teammates can borrow from. Drafted in the 5th round out of Montana, the guy has done anything the Falcons have asked of him: defensive end, special teams ace, and even nailed a kickoff when forced to. Had very high hopes as a first year DE starter and the hopes still remain. Will jump up the board with a breakout year as a second-year starter.

DeCoud Ranked too High? (J.Getz/AJC)

#20 – Sam Baker – Everyone’s favorite OL to talk about. Many believe that Baker was taken too high and that he simply is not a franchise left tackle to protect your franchise quarterback’s blindside. After a rough and injury-laden rookie year, Baker seemed to make some strides this year and seemed to kick the injury bug hopefully for good. Still the biggest question mark on the offensive line and the best left tackles are of the highest value to their respective teams. Should he stay at LT or be moved elsewhere?

#21 – Matt Bryant – Is one of the biggest reasons the Falcons had the record they did in 2010. After worries in preseason, Bryant came on strong and was ice cold during the regular season, booting many game-winning kicks that could have gone the other way if he misses. Age is only reason he’s not higher.

#22 – Corey Peters – Came in a fairly unknown defensive tackle and supplanted Peria Jerry, Jamaal Anderson, Trey Lewis, and Vance Walker to become a starting DT next to Jonathan Babineaux as a rookie. Since Weatherspoon was injured, Peters looks like the best pick of the draft from 2010 so far for Dimitroff. With another year of work and experience, Peters looks to be a major part of the Falcons defensive unit for years to come.

So have at it. Send the arrows at these selections and come up with your own. Remember, this is just part 1 (otherwise we’re looking at a novel), and some very interesting names are absent. Feel free to disagree and try to balance your own picks with both potential, value, and consistency to the Atlanta Falcons. This also could be a great guidepost for what appears to be a very tricky draft.

You Set the Rankings

-Agree/Disagree with selections?

-Make sure to give your own.

-Can this be a valuable guide as the draft approaches?

-Who is ranked too high?

-Who is ranked too low?

-Who shouldn’t be in the top 22?

-Who should be in the top 22?

213 comments Add your comment

Reid Adair

March 8th, 2011
10:03 pm

My first thought after glancing over your list was, “Where is Mike Peterson?” But, after reading through it, I pretty much agree with your 22.

I think it would be interesting to have a pre-season top 22 and see how far Brent Grimes moved up the list.

dayoldfries

March 8th, 2011
11:46 pm

lofton-grimes-biermann-ovie: UP
snelling-dunta-baker: DOWN

Screen Pass

March 9th, 2011
1:09 am

Nice job on your mock BA. Maybe you could copy/paste onto this post so we can all discuss.

“Big Gilbert in the 4th would represent decent value but he’s strictly a RT.” – Waynester

Maybe you could break this down a little better. Where is anyone saying he is strictly a RT or decent 4th rnd value? The guy played LT for the SEC Gators the year they won it all if I’m not mistaken and will probaly be gone before our second pick. The guy is 330 pounds, can move well and play multiple positions. He would instantly be nearly if not our biggest lineman depending on who stays/ goes in FA and who else we draft.

Ed

March 9th, 2011
4:28 am

Interesting take on the Falcons D3…good stuff. Two things that jumped out at me were Baker being number 20 and our number one draft pick not making the list. Most important is our franchise QB being protected from a far less than frnachise LT. If at all possible, this needs to be changed. As far as Spoon is concerned, this is a repeat of past drafts where our number one pick gets injured and fails to have the expected year. Hopefully that trend doesn’t continue…

SeminoleWarrior

March 9th, 2011
6:18 am

Great post D3. This will be a fun one to work with. I’ll be back in the mix later this evening. Day three of the compliance inspection here.

Also, all, be vigiliant today. Heavy rains and some strong to severe storms possible across the region today today and tonight. Storms could contain/produce rainfall rates of up to an inch-plus per hour, winds to 60 mph, and isolated tornadoes. So please, please, please be safe out there today.

Have a blessed day and see ya on the other side!!

True Falcon Fan

March 9th, 2011
7:33 am

Imagine this if all 32 teams had the same ranking of their 22 best players and that’s all they can put on the feild. Now ask yourself this question “Can the Falcons win a SB with these 22 players”? Base being the same, my answer is “very possible”. We have maybe 2-3 of this 22 that we need to improve on? See Part II

Go Falcons!!!

Sgt. Pepper

March 9th, 2011
8:45 am

Good list so far. I’d move Gonzo up a bit. If he’s out of the game, defenses double White and there goes the passing game. Surprised Eric Weems isn’t in the top 15. I believe W.Moore will be higher this time next year. He has tons of potential when healthy. Oh , and if Baker is moved to guard his stock may rise too.

Bull Schmitt

March 9th, 2011
9:12 am

I agree with Sgt. Pepper. Eric Weems is a must on this list. I’m hopin’ Spoon and Sidbury storm up this list after next season.

CBrass

March 9th, 2011
9:13 am

D3,

I’m so glad that you brought this up. I will have my list out at some point today!!!! I’m sure that I will catch a lot of heat for my rankings.

uga_b

March 9th, 2011
10:12 am

Here is a quick stab subject to revision…

May be more importance than value…
I will limit this to in terms of 2011 otherwise it skews:
Matt Ryan – Most important position
John Abraham – Single Handed Pass Rush
Roddy White – Only WR
Curtis Lofton – Defensive captain/run stopper
Todd McClure – Offensive Captain
Michael Turner – When injured the Falcons don’t seem to miss much
Jason Snelling – Gives me everything the other guy does.
Jonathan Babineaux – Lots of pressure
Tyson Clabo* – I don’t think he will be here thus no value
Tony Gonzalez – Here more because of his red zone ability
Dunta Robinson – Helped rope off a side of the field and regained some burst
Brent Grimes – solid year hope he builds off it
William Moore – The man brings the pain and energy
Kroy Biermann – high motor; ups his stats.
Spoon – We need cover skills at LB
Stephen Nicholas* – I think he will be back.
Ovie Mughelli – feel like he should be higher but FBs are a dying breed
Sam Baker – Needs to continue to improve
Thomas DeCoud – improved coverage limits big plays.
Michael Jenkins – Both as a blocker and pass catcher
Matt Bryant – Very important but a kicker
Corey Peters – Biggest upside potential alongside Kroy
Eric Weems – Returns overshadow his excellent coverage skills

uga_b

March 9th, 2011
10:15 am

It is very hard to rate the offensive guys due to lack or WR production and the cutting of Finn. On the flipside only two OLs are slated to be back and one of those is probably retiring after this year. Kinda scary when you look at it since it is all Ryan, Roddy, and some RB.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 9th, 2011
10:26 am

SP – Thanks! SW put so much thoughtful work into his mock I wanted to toss my feeble attempt into the cage, albeit early in the process. It will likely change several times before the end of April, but I wanted to do one based on the premise that TD , AB, and Smitty were still smarting from the Green Bay loss and were lazer-beam focused on fixing what was exposed as being broke. Several mocks seem to be predicting JS or AW as the Falcons first pick, so I went with that and ran from there.

Just the way my luck has been going lately that I posted a very long set of posts explaining each pick just before D3 posted a new blog on an entirely different subject. Situation Normal these days.

I won’t waste the cage bandwidth with my first pass mock and explanations on a new blog, on a new subject, but I WILL try to respond to questions/comments if any to the mock at the end of the previous mock, if anyone is interested. It DID represent a change in my thinking, and took some time to get over the enormous barriers (in my mind) of the ghost of Jimmy Williams,and TD’s proclivity for picking late round DB’s (and I provided a mid round plan-B small school option there as well).

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 9th, 2011
10:28 am

Regards Gilbert, TD clearly likes him, and may well be available in the 4th depending on whose rankings you believe. He is huge value there, and allows the Falcons to bypass a 1st rounder on a LT that may or may not pan out in the future. The more I loked at him, the more I saw a TD kind of guy.

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 9th, 2011
11:08 am

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14788253/teams-looking-to-get-good-fast-should-heed-speed

Interesting story on the need for speed on teams, it refers to the Falcons specifically and quotes TD:

” Atlanta, which entered the playoffs as the top seed in the NFC, was another team undone by its lack of speed. Roddy White is a top-notch receiver, but he isn’t a burner. Michael Jenkins has speed, but doesn’t play to it.

In the Falcons’ 48-21 loss to the Packers in the divisional round, that lack of deep speed showed up. Matt Ryan’s longest pass play was 22 yards and White’s longest was 12.

The Green Bay corners, Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson, had a big night in shutting them down.

The 2010 playoffs taught us this is a speed and cover game now more than ever.

“I think so,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “I think athleticism, speed and urgency is big. This is a matchup league. If you can’t match up and run tit for tat with someone or a team, you will be left in the dust.”

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 9th, 2011
11:12 am

Micheal Jenkins,#2 WR, former #1, not on list
Peria Jerry – former #1, Not on the list
Spoon – former #1, Not on the list

There is a pattern here, methinks, but I don’t know what it is telling us.

waynester

March 9th, 2011
11:14 am

screen pass
Like BA noted above, Gilbert is frequently being mocked in the 4th rd. He’s the 11th ranked OT, having only played 1 year at OT(he was an OG before). His forte seems to be run blocking and his weight lends itself to ORT or OG. He was a team leader and can play multiple positions, so that puts him in TDs wheelhouse but I doubt he’ll go in the 2nd unless someone really reaches. He’s #73 on Drafttek’s “bigboard”, which puts him in rd 3. If we’re looking to replace Baker anytime soon, I believe we’d have better luck taking a pure OLT in the 1st.
D3
The very fact that Baker only ranks 20th on your list(and I agree with most of your selections) is quite telling. It seems to support my argument for moving on one of the elite OLT prospects in rd 1, rather than just taking depth in the later rounds. We’ve got a helluva OL coach who has proven he can do more with less–I want to see what he can do with MORE…..
BA
Thanks for the additional info on CB J Smith–sounds like he’s learning to act right but will having millions of $$ in the ATL’s atmosphere be too much for his maturity level to deal with? That’s my main beef with this kid as he certainly has the on-field skills….

CBrass

March 9th, 2011
11:16 am

This goes right along with my Love/Out of Love list that I made a couple of months ago.

1) Ice Man—Simply put someone has to throw Roddy the ball. Also have you seen him run the no huddle?
2) Roddy— Considering the number of times he was targeted he only dropped 3 or 4 passes.
3) Turner—He has been described as a bowling ball with spikes. Even though he’s lost some of his burst he still runs very well between the tackles and his pass protection is outstanding.
4) Abe—considering the number of double teams he draws he stay in the opposing teams backfield.
5) Babs—One of the most underrated players in the league.
6) Ovie—His blocking is outstanding and after that TD reception against Tampa we have to get him the ball more.
7) Mud Duck (McClure)—I’m still amazed that this guy hasn’t made the pro bowl yet. He’s the captain of the OL and you can count on him to play every game.
8) Gonzo—Do I really need to say anything? He has shown no signs of slowing down.
9) Grimes—He stepped up to the challenge last season. Hands down our best corner on the field. His ball skills are outstanding.
10) Clabo—He brings the nastiness to the OLine.
11) Dahl—He feeds off of Clabo.
12) Moore—We got a glimpse of what this guy can do. I look for him to really bring it next season.
13) Snelling—He has so much to offer and it up to MM to get him the ball more. I think every time we got him a ball on a screen he scored. Arizona and Baltimore comes to mind.
14) Nicholas—He made big strides last season. He was the best LB as far as coverage goes.
15) Lofton—The reason that I ranked him so low is because his pass coverage is simply horrible.
16) Blalock—he takes a lot of heat but if you go and look at film Turner really got rolling when we starting running behind him.
17) DeCoud—He did more dancing and missing assignment than covering receivers.
18) Biermann—he was making strides but got a little distracted when the media starting poking around in his personal life.
19) Robinson—I know I defended this guy saying that he “shut down” half the field. However, when QB did go after him they had successful. Also if you’re going to call you’re self a “shut down corner” you should always cover the opposing teams number one receiver and not be glued to one side of the field. Simply put he’s not worth the contract that he signed.
20) Peters—This guys is going to be a beast. Our best pass run came when he and Babs where playing next to each other.
21) Baker—I think Smitty quietly told him he had to step his game up. I will give him credit he did but he needs to be more consistent.
22) Bryant—He saved our butts about 4 times last season. He only had that one bad game up in a windy Heinz field.
23) Spoon.—To this day I believe that Spoon had his knee scoped. However, the first couple of games he did very well in coverage.

CBrass

March 9th, 2011
11:20 am

BA,

I get what you saying but Jenkins wasn’t drafted by TD and I think it’s a little early to really get a feel for Spoon since he was hurt. I think he will follow the same pattern as Moore. Hurt rookie season and really step his game up next season. As far as Jerry goes I think his knee injury was more than an ACL tear but with Smitty and Co we will never know.

El Bravo

March 9th, 2011
11:43 am

The list looks good with two caveats: I do believe Michael Turner is a tad high. He is getting up in years and he clogs the offense with his low yards-per-carry. In the modern NFL you need more explosiveness out of your offensive weapons and the burner no longer provides that. He may not even be on my top ten. The other change is William Moore, who should be in the top ten. The man may soon be our best defensive player…

The Real Falcon

March 9th, 2011
11:50 am

Dude, no D. Robinson, no Grimes in Pro Bowl. You can’t intercept
if they don’t throw the ball your way.
Sam Baker id NO#45

chelf

March 9th, 2011
11:51 am

digging the idea here. and already getting pretty ready for the draft. as for the list, yours is looking pretty good to me. id rate ovie higher, as i think his importance tends to get overlooked. but dude makes running backs look good more often than just about any other fb in the league. would we be talking about snelling as a productive nfl back without ovie? im not so sure. I’d also put william moore higher, simply on the basis of your “overall value to the team in future success” criteria. if he continues to develop and blow folks up on the regular, he should help anchor that defense with lofton and hopefully spoon for a long time to come.

and as i have made quite clear, im done with sam baker.

darrell starks

March 9th, 2011
11:57 am

Great post D3
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 9th, 2011
12:09 pm

MY TOP TEN
1. ICE MAN
2. ABRAHAM
3. WHITE
4. TURNER
5. LOFTON
6. CLABO
7. BABINEAUX
8. TONEY
9. MOORE
10. DECOUD
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coop

March 9th, 2011
12:10 pm

OK, I’ll definitely have somehting on this. I can’t wait, but gotta run do some Army business.

uga_b

March 9th, 2011
12:35 pm

Most valuable future players:
Matt Ryan
Roddy White
Lofton
Grimes
Spoon
Moore
Nicholas
Snelling
Decoud
Douglas
Weems
Owens

Shows how old the offense is. Hard to rank Reynolds, Hawley, Johnson, and Valdez. Same with Palmer and Meier who we didnt wee.

CBrass

March 9th, 2011
12:45 pm

Dang for got Weems!!! I bashed this guy so much at the beginning of last season. His kick off skills are outstanding. He also over kicks and punts and is usually the first player down field. That kick off return against Tampa was just him out giving up and simply stepping out of bounds.

Rikus

March 9th, 2011
12:58 pm

“Anyone who guessed Joe Hawley, Kerry Meier, or Shann Schillinger would be wearing red and black before the draft began would be lying.” …including Mike Smith, Thomas Dimitroff… look the truth is, even the team management doesn’t know who they’re going to draft in the later rounds. It all comes down to what players “fall” and fit the system and team needs. Conversely, we saw last year that it isn’t at all hard to predict what *positions* the Falcons will draft.

P.S. I think you mean to say “quintessential” or “prototypical”, instead of “penultimate.” Penultimate means the next-to-last. It doesn’t share the other meanings of the word “ultimate.”

Screen Pass

March 9th, 2011
1:32 pm

Gotta make this quick, hope to have a lil more time later;

BA – No problem, your thoughts are very close to mine. There are so many ways to go and without FA to clear up our own gains/losses much less to project other teams it is hard to say what round people will go. I like the fact you went after the “donut hole” in the defense.

Waynester – Your comment made me look around and I saw where Gilbert had fallen on alot of sites. The best I could tell his 40 time at the combine was resposible. It should be of note that Gilbert’s foot was in a cast until very recently so his slower than expected 40 time isn’t alarming to me at least. I don’t understand the big drop when one considers even hurt, his 40 time was better than alot of guys 30+ pounds lighter. Gilbert’s cone and shuttle times were apparently very good even with the foot issue. Make no mistake, he isn’t gonna be a Boselli/ Roaf “shutdown” LT but his lateral agility is outstanding for such a big guy so he at least has a realistic shot of performing the duties at a more than acceptable level. It would be taking a chance for sure, but at a minimum you get a guy that could be plugged in where necessary. I hope he does fall, don’t get me wrong, but I have to think plenty of other teams will be happy to take a chance on his potential given his built in “golden parachute”.

D3

March 9th, 2011
1:40 pm

Great Apex Day Cage Fam! — Hope the list and post has spurred some debate and it really does kind of give you a glimpse about where our strengths and weaknesses are.

A few things I didn’t have a chance to mention/clarify:

-The offensive lineman are really good as a unit, maybe if not as individual linemen. One reason for some of their high grades is the fact that they were so consistent. Most of them haven’t missed hardly any games over the Smith/Dimitroff Era. That being said, I don’t think that the we need to draft them, per se, because Johnson, Valdez, Hawley, and Reynolds could just as easily take their place (which appears likely).

-Even though Sam Baker is ranked so low, I still don’t see any of the lineman coming out in the first round being able to supplant him at LT, at least as a rookie.

-The fact that neither of the last two 1st round draft picks are on the top 22 says something about how little production we’ve gotten from those spots on defense. Spoon didn’t have an injury history (just like Meier), but Jerry’s injury history was well-documented. So far, it appears TD is better at mining later round talent than he is with 1st round talent. His 1st round picks so far (Ryan, Baker, Jerry, Spoon). Yikes.

-Not trying to hate on the receiving corps (well, actually I kinda am), but Roddy has literally gotten minimal help from that group. I get that HD was injured and that Jenks is a good blocker, but they aren’t giving Roddy very much help at all.

-Weems is a good-to-great returner and an excellent cover guy. But I’m sorry, if you don’t contribute whatsoever in the aerial attack (when there is an obvious need for speed), than you’re not a part of the main corps. Spare me the “he’s on so many cover teams argument” and he’s too tired. Desean Jackson and Devin Hester are the best returners in the game and they START wide receiver in addition to punt and kick return duties. They are on the field for a minimum of 3 downs every series and obviously tons more when they are on long drives.

More later………

waynester

March 9th, 2011
1:47 pm

D3
Sorry to harp on OLT, but I’m not envisioning that Baker would automatically lose his LT spot to a rookie. I want someone who will COMPETE immediately and supplant Baker either later in the year or next year. Believe me, I wish Baker would shock me or at a bare minimum that Valdez would make a real run at the job freeing us up to look another direction in rd1 but I have reasonable doubt that’ll happen. You win or lose on the lines…..

UGAlien

March 9th, 2011
1:50 pm

I like Grimes, he’ a good guy, a hard worker, and makes plays on the ball. But he also gets beaten more consistently than anyone else on our defense. His feel-good story causes people to overrate him. I’m still skeptical; let’s see if he’s still the opposing QB’s favorite target next season.

joewhite

March 9th, 2011
2:00 pm

We need a few more playmakers with this group and then we will win a superbowl.Go Falcons

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 9th, 2011
2:10 pm

Trades:

Some (including myself) have considered the possibility of trading down from 27. But, realistically,what would/could we get for that pick. We can look at trade charts, or look at how GM’s actually value the pick (what GM’s are willing to pay)

Looking back over the last 15 or so years, this is the actual value received for pick 27, as well as picks 26 and 28 for comparasion:

Trade Pick 26, get:

Trade A) 36, 87, 159
Trade B) 26 AND 162 for picks 41, 73, 83
Trade C) 42, 73

Trade pick 27, get:

Trade A) = 39, 70, 142
Trade B) 27 AND 159 = 40, 71, 103, 138

Trade pick 28, get:

Trade A) 110, next 1st
Trade B) = 31, 127
Trade C) = 41, 63

Thanks to the Adam, the comp pick guru, for this compilation.

just me

March 9th, 2011
2:33 pm

BA – I am still on the trade down bandwagon, if we can find someone who wants to trade up to pick a player then we will possibly get more than “GM value”. I feel that this is one of those draft years that your not really going to know what you get until a few years down the road. I see it as quantity is better than rated quality.

As for the OL situation I think/hope TD is talking to Boudreau about the OL prospects and who can be picked in the mid to late rounds that will develop into starting players. I wasn’t impressed enough by any of the OL prospects in this years draft to think they could come out and start for us in game one. I agree that Gilbert does fit the TD mold of a versitile OLman.

John Waynesworld

March 9th, 2011
2:44 pm

Thanks D3.

Wow, how can you not put #2 at #1. If we didn’t, we should be alot higher in the draft order. In fact I can’t name one team that made the playoffs that wouldn’t put their QB at the number one spot after last year. Even Flacco and Hassleback are light years better than their second stringers, and much more important to their teams than any RB or CB or DE. Don’t get me started on Cutler, although he is much more important than Peppers. The quarterback stirs the drink, unless the team is a juggernaut defensive team with a “Just Don’t F-Up” signal caller like the 2000 Ravens and Mr. Dilfer. Even the Titans’ RB Johnson or the Vikes’ Peterson couldn’t carry their teams to the playoffs. So…

1) Matt Ryan
2) Roddy White
3) Michael Turner
4) John Abraham
5) Jonathan Babineaux
6) Brent Grimes
7) Tony Gonzales
8) Curtis Lofton
9) Eric Weems
10) Sam Baker
11) Todd McClure
12) Tyson Clabo
13) Corey Peters
14) Dunta Robinson
15) Matt Bryant
16) Kroy Biermann
17) Harvey Dahl
18) William Moore
19) Sean Weatherspoon
20) Mike Peterson
21) Justin Anderson
22) Mike Jenkins
23) Thomas DeCoud
24) Jason Snelling
25) Michael Koenen
26) Will Svitek
27) Stephen Nicholas
28) Christopher Owens
29) Jamaal Anderson
30) Joe Zelenka

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 9th, 2011
2:49 pm

just me – I suspect that Denver is a potential trade partner, new GM (Elway), new Coach (Fox). Every mock/analysis I see of them has them picking a TE high, if they feel he won’t slip they could trade up to 27 to get their guy.

Denver is coming into this with the second overall pick that surely won’t be a TE. After that, they have two picks in he 2nd, one in the 3rd, and no picks after that until 6th:

1.2, 2.4, 2.14 (from MIA), 3.3, 6.28 (from NE), 7.2

They could conceivably trade a 2 and 3 to trade up to the late 1st to get Kyle Randolph. If they could pick up a 5th out of the deal it would be good for them, even if they need to give up a future pick (next year’s 4th, for example).

So, Denver has 1.2, 1.27, 2.14, 3.3, 5.27,6.28, and 7.2. They get their man and some pretty good talent to go along with Tebow and the new system, along with re-entering the 5th. They lose next year’s 4th (or trade 3rd rounders this year).

Atlanta loses their 1st, but walks away with 2.4, 2.27, 3.27, 4.27, 6.21, 6.27, 7.27, 2.28 and an extra 4th next year (or swap 3rd round picks this year). In Denvers’ situation, this is a possibility. Or Not

LRD

March 9th, 2011
2:54 pm

I would move Moore up just a slot or 2. Peters maybe 20 instead of 22….and DeCoud maybe a bit too high… but as I type that (and if we have a healthy Spoon) man do we have the base of a good D for a while.
Coulda Shoulda but Spoon healthy, Jerry living up to his 1 pick, Dunta, Grimes, Babs.. Cmon, that has such a potential for a such a dominating D.
Corny, but the #1 falcon… Thomas D. I truly believe without him we would not be sitting here after 3 years day dreaming of next year…even after this past season playoff debacle.

uga_b

March 9th, 2011
3:08 pm

Just for fun, here is a list of all kick returners. Desean only fields punts (20 on the year) and Hester only has 12 kick off returns but 33 punt returns. Most of these players do not contribute all that much on offense and defense save: Brad Smith, J. Ford, Danny Amendola, Percy Harvin, and E. Sanders…

LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI RB
Marc Mariani TEN WR
Leon Washington SEA RB
Stefan Logan DET WR
Brad Smith NYJ WR
Jacoby Ford OAK WR
Bernard Scott CIN RB
Darren Sproles SD
Deji Karim JAC RB
Brandon Banks WAS WR
Danny Amendola STL WR
Micheal Spurlock TB WR
Eric Weems ATL WR 40
Brandon Tate NE WR
Mike Goodson CAR RB
C.J. Spiller BUF RB
Ted Ginn SF WR
Percy Harvin MIN WR
Danieal Manning CHI SS
Josh Cribbs CLE
Courtney Roby NO WR
Steve Slaton HOU RB
Jorrick Calvin PHI DB
Nolan Carroll MIA CB
Emmanuel Sanders PIT WR
David Reed BAL WR
Jalen Parmele BAL RB
Tiquan Underwood JAC WR
Eric Decker DEN WR
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah DAL DB
Dexter McCluster KC WR
Javier Arenas KC DB
Bryan McCann DAL DB

John Waynesworld

March 9th, 2011
3:12 pm

BA, trading with Denver is right out of the Belichick handbook. It could be, but I am thinking TD knows we need a defensive end HUGE and this year’s class is loaded with them. Last year everybody knew we were looking DE first and OLB/pass rusher second so when the Eagles traded up to grab Graham and when the Giants and the Titans picked back-to-back DEs right before us, plan B went into action and we picked the OLB Spoon. I am hoping this time Dimitroff does act like Belichick and TRADE UP.

Brain surgery is like so overrated.

uga_b

March 9th, 2011
3:17 pm

*Kick returners over 500 yds. Really has become a specialist position and Weems is on cover teams unlike Desean and Hester. There is a reason Steve Smith only occasionally reutned kicks.

I am all for trading down and stockpiling picks we will just have to see if we have any suitors. Most playoff teams have less needs naturally and look to move back more often. There is tons of 2nd and 3rd round value.

waynester

March 9th, 2011
3:40 pm

BA
Don’t leave the Bills out of possible trade partners. They have lots of needs and also pick in the top of the 2nd. The Pats would probably trade too, but only if it’s a sweet deal–they’re going to own this draft, anyway with all their early-round picks….

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

March 9th, 2011
3:52 pm

Have a feeling P. Jerry might have suffered nerve damage along with the torn ACL, ala William Andrews..

Bangkapi Ajarn

March 9th, 2011
4:09 pm

waynester – good point, The Bills are another possible team that would want to jump to gram a specific player.

At this stage I would want an extra pick to drop, although there are at least three players that we could use in the first two rounds (all available in the 2nd I think), so I don’t know how that would work out.

LT

March 9th, 2011
5:09 pm

My Top Lists of Valuable Players;

1. Babineaux..Like to see him at DE/DT
2. Roddy White..Most throws were not accurate
3. Michael Jenkins.. Acknowledge his presence open the Offense after 4/5th Game
4. John Abraham ..Work hard every Game with Little Help
5. Brent Grimes.. I Didn’t believe, this Young Man Came Through
6. Curtis Lofton
7. Corey Peters..Outstanding performance all Season
8. Vance Walker..Play the Man
9. Thomas DeCoud…Improving
0. Michael Turner.. Second Team Needs to Come off the Bench
1. Justin Snelling.. He Opens the field Up
2. Tony Gonzales.. Not Enough Routes
3. Matt Ryan.. Will Hurt Team as Long as He Can’t Make all Throws Very Weak Arm!
We will Never Have a Deep Passing Game with Him
4. Justin Baylock.. Most Outstanding OL Player
5. Jamaal Anderson..Stopping the Run is a Must, He Does That Well

SeminoleWarrior

March 9th, 2011
6:45 pm

Cage Fam…

A very solid topic going here. Will chime in here with my list very shortly….

BA…..a very nice draft in the previous posting. Our thoughts are generally the same; defense is the issue of interest as well as the need to add a TRUE slot receiver. Locke is injury prone I understand an I would like to see a little bigger back. I see you are learning to mine those hidden waters (D-1AA App State) as well as the little guys (FVSU). Great work. There is a desk at TeePee Sports for you.
Cocoa Mel gives you a thumbs up if this was your first one!!

SeminoleWarrior

March 9th, 2011
7:09 pm

Cage…

Cocoa Mel (aka Seminole Warrior) and Tee Pee Sports Present the Atlanta Falcons Magnificent Seven.

John Abraham: How do you spell pass rush in the ATL? A-B-R-A-H-A-M. He is the heart of this defense. The rest of the defensive end corps can’t carry this guy jock strap.

Roddy White: The best WR in the NFC South and one of the best in the league. What could have been if only he had a mature quarterback during his first two years.

Matt Ryan: In the words of the late Grover Washington, Jr., the best is yet to come. This kid’s work ethic, confidence, and leadership WILL lead this franchise to the Promised Land.

Michael Turner: I love old school power running. And when the line is on its game, this man is one of the best in football.

J. Babineaux: Simply put, the most UNDERRATED defensive tackle in the NFL….PERIOD!! All he does is make plays and never quits.

Brent Grimes: Little guys like me now have a TRUE hero in the NFL. I loved this kid the first time I met him and he is my favorite DB. The BEST DAMNED defensive back on the ATL roster bar none!!!

Tony Gonzalez: Thanks to Tony, I love October and it has nothing to do with fall either…LOL. The absolute epitome of a professional, Tony is instrumental in the development and growth of MR2.

The collective soul of this football is found in these six players. Take any of them out to the mix for an extended period of time and this team SUFFERS immensely.

Honorable mention: Ovie, MClure, Bryant. Skill warriors that lead by example

Most Overrated: (Tie) Curtis Lofton, Thomas DeCoud, Duanta Robinson

Secret Weapons Primed to Explode in 2011: Biermann, Weatherspoon, Nicholas.

CBrass

March 9th, 2011
7:18 pm

SW,

I love your “Most Overrated” list!!! Question why no Snelling on your Secret Weapons list?

Paddy O

March 9th, 2011
7:19 pm

this is a fair list – remember the criteria for the list- most important to team – the top 3 are correct, I’d slide Tony G up to #5, and Weems up to #6, then keep going.I’d also slide Dunta Robinson & Kroy Bierman up, probably in the top 15. All else seems good.

Paddy O

March 9th, 2011
7:21 pm

BA: regarding your draft mock on the last topic, I disagree on the CB for nickel – I’d rather have Hankerson and sign somebody for the nickel slot. However, I would also draft Kerrigan, Houston and Pouncy before the CB.

Paddy O

March 9th, 2011
7:22 pm

But in reality, A great LT should be in the top 5, after the best sack master you have.