Should Falcons Go LT @ #55?

Would LT Be a Wise Choice?

Will Baker Get Competition? (AJC)

It’s been a hot topic even since Sam Baker was first drafted. It’s a little unfair to call Baker a bust since he was very productive for 2 seasons, including one of the best years in franchise history going 13-3 and claiming the NFC’s #1 seed.

That being said, however, it’s not a stretch to say that Baker is not a franchise left tackle gping forward. Will Svitek proved to be capable in Baker’s absence, but he’s not a long-term answer either.

Thomas Dimitroff said there would be an open competition for all OL positions and he followed though on that promise for right guard (Mike Johnson, Andrew Jackson, Vince Manuwai) and center (Joe Hawley & Todd McClure). But the same can’t really be said for left tackle. If fans feel that Baker or Svitek legitimately win the job, most wouldn’t have an issue. But not adding at least one more player to the competition won’t inspire confidence in most.

That leads many to believe the Falcons top brass may finally have a left tackle in their sights as the draft approaches. A look at some of the candidates in various rounds:

Thanks to the following sites for excellent draft scouting and information:

CBS NFL Draft Scout


NFL Draft Scout


Pro Football Weekly

Round 2

Mike Adams

Ohio State – 6’7 – 323

Arms: 34 inches – Hands: 10’7/8 – Forty Time: 5.40 – Bench: 19

Adams is considered by most draftniks to be the 4th tackle taken after the big three of Matt Kalil, Riley Reiff, and Jonathan Martin, who all are expected to go in the first round. Adams surely has the size, frame, and weight to be a prototypical left tackle. He is very strong in pass blocking and can get to the next level on defenders. Adams shows flashes of a nasty streak that teams want. The Ohio State tackle lacks superb technique, but has the tools. Some even consider him a 1st round selection. Has had major injury concerns including missing a ton of games due to shoulder surgery, a season-ending left foot injury, and knee injury. He’s also had some off-the-field concerns as well including being a part of the infamous tattoo parlor scandal. Adams could be an option, but the Falcons already have had issues with high draft picks and injuries (Baker, Jerry).

Zebrie Sanders

Florida State – 6’6 – 320

Arms: 35 inches – Hands: 10’7/8 – Forty Time: 5.41 – Bench: 28

Sanders is becoming an early favorite of Falcons fans including our very own Seminole Warrior. An excellent run blocker that hits high grades in every aspect of blocking. Sanders possesses a perfect frame and weight for a franchise left tackle and is a very agile pass protector with good hand placement. Sanders ranks very high in the area of intangibles including high character, durability, and work ethic. The former Seminole played in a zone pass protection that some believe the offensive line may be going towards. Sanders did have trouble with one-on-one speed rushers and will need to add bulk to be a franchise left tackle and deal with the big boys of the NFL. Sanders may not even be around by the time the Falcons draft, but its hard to think this wouldn’t be a great pick if he’s there.

3rd Round

Mitchell Schwartz

California – 6’5 – 318

Arms: 33’1/2 inches – Hands: 10 – Forty Time: 5.45 – Bench: 23

Schwartz was the model of consistency at Cal starting 51 games at left tackle and 16 at right tackle for the Golden Bears. Doesn’t have superior strength, but has good agility and technique to go along with a high motor. Some scouts believe him to be a right tackle prospect, but after a good showing at the Senior Bowl where he held his own with some of the country’s best pass rushers, many think is a good prospect that could eventually be developed into a left tackle in the NFL. Schwartz could be a good pick if the Falcons want to develop a left tackle to take over down the road as opposed to wanting immediate help.

Matt McCants

UAB – 6’6 – 308

Arms: 35’3/8 inches – Hands: 9’1/4 – Forty Time: 5.52 – Bench: 17

McCants represents another tackle that has potential, but would be a major project to develop if the Falcons drafted him. McCants was late to football, joining his high school team as a senior. Started left tackle as a true freshman and went on to start 42 games for the Blazers. McCants was named first team All-Conference USA. Has good height, but doesn’t have much power or strength and has smaller hands for a left tackle. Would definitely be a major project and wouldn’t be expected to contribute right away.

Jeff Allen

Illinois – 6’4 – 307

Arms: 33’1/2 inches – Hands: 10 – Forty Time: 5.28 – Bench: 26

Allen seems to be a potential reach in the 3rd round and would really be better suited for a 4th round pick. He garnered 47 starts while at Illinois in the Big Ten and matched up pretty well with some of the better edge rushers. Many scouts believe him to be better suited for a guard position or right tackle candidate more than a left tackle project.

5th Round

Tom Compton

South Dakota – 6’5 – 314

Arms: 34 inches – Hands: 10 – Forty Time: 5.11 – Bench: 20

If the Falcons decide to pass on a tackle prospect in the earlier rounds, a prospect like Compton could be appealing. Unlike Garrett Reynolds, Compton could develop into a left tackle starter at some point. He has a nice size and frame for the position and dominated on lower competition in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Compton has excellent power and decent lateral agility. Some believe he will struggle against the top-level competition in the NFL, especially on the blind side.

Andrew Datko

Florida State – 6’6 – 315

Arms: 33’7/8 inches – Hands: 10 – Forty Time: 5.32

Datko has a lot of potential as a developmental blocker on the blindside, but he has been hampered by injuries dating throughout his college career and all the way back to high school. Datko is very fluid for a big man and could be a major asset in a zone-blocking scheme.

Lamar Holmes

Southern Mississippi – 6’5 – 323

Arms: 35’1/4 inches – Hands: 9’5/8 – Forty Time: 5.41 – Bench: 22

Holmes seems to have a ton of upside, but is very, very raw. Has many of the tools that many look for in a left tackle. Good mirroring technique, but is not explosive in any aspect. His tools could be developed, but Holmes would at least be one year away from contributing if not more.

6th Round and Later

Donald Stephenson

Oklahoma – 6’6 – 312

Arms: 34’7/8 inches – Hands: 9’7/8 – Forty Time: 4.94 – Bench: 19

Has raw tools that could develop into a left tackle one day, but needs a lot of learning. Nice long arms and very athletic for an offensive tackle, being one of the only prospects to run under 5.0 in the forty yard dash. Stephenson has a wide base and can mirror well, but possesses bad habits and would take a lot of development.

Marcel Jones

Nebraska – 6’6 – 320

Arms: 33’5/8 inches – Hands: 10’1/8 – Forty Time: 5.67 – Bench: 13


Levy Adcock

Oklahoma State – 6’5 – 322

Forty Time: 5.21 – Bench: 23

Bird Cage Faithful’s Turn

1) Should Falcons go LT @ #55?

2) Which of the prospects would you like?

3) Is LT a good choice in second round?

4) Are you comfortable with only Baker and Svitek @ LT?

5) What priority is LT on your list?

476 comments Add your comment


April 8th, 2012
2:43 pm

Happy Easter Everyone!

Enjoy the new post and I’ll be back later. But really quickly, NO, I don’t think going LT is the best option. I really don’t like going only with Svitek and Baker, but taking an LT in the 2nd has very low value. The only guy I would like is Zebrie Sanders after the big 3, and the rest you might as well pass on.


April 8th, 2012
2:44 pm

Happy Easter cage family!

D3, no on LT at 55. Prefer a big NCB to cover these huge TE’s on 3rd downs.

Masters sunday, my fav. sporting event of the yr, falcons included.
Oh the blasphemy!!!


April 8th, 2012
2:48 pm

If TD is going to keep is word about having competition at each position, he almost has to get a LT.
At the least get the best one available and build him up to be “the” left tackle of the future.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
2:55 pm

No to LT, poor value. I agree with JJ on NCB for the new D!!

I was working on a post for the last blog, but it wouldn’t let me post. I will pop it on this one in a bit. What positions I think TD will target. Logic, proof (after a fashion, Colombo style).

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:02 pm

NOT comfortable with Baker/Svitek, but maybe a late round developmental Pat Hill protegee would be best.

If I had to choose, I would go Jeff Allen (6-5, 315 Illinois) in the third (team captain, versatile) or Bryce Harris (6-6 300 Fresno State) in the 7th

I DO want a LT but just no value at 55.

The Real Falcon

April 8th, 2012
3:06 pm

Absolutely not! TE is where we need help. There is no help at LT in the 2nd round. Unless we want someone eho should have be taken not in the first round, like Baker

The Real Falcon

April 8th, 2012
3:08 pm

Also we season ticket holders should be asked if we want an open-air or retractable roof stadium. The owner sits in a booth and does not care.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:09 pm

Looking at who TD/Smitty allowed to walk after the roster review, by position, may give some indication of what their plans are for the draft (or not, but this is all we have).

OG (replaced by Vince Manuwai)
LB (2) One replaced by Lofa Tatupu)
WR (ST ace)

So, 6 vacated spots on the roster (not counting offseason roster filler), and 6 draft picks.

Coincidence, or planning by TD??

Lost from Roster:
Hayden, Kelvin
Lofton, Curtis U/NO
Sanders, James
Weems, Eric WR/ST

Thanks to:

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:11 pm

Just looking at the depth chart, and had a couple of thoughts.

First, I am feeling a bit conflicted about the assumption that we will draft our TE of the future this year. Looking at what TD has done so far this offseason:

A) Looked at the debris after last year’s trade to **(give Mularkey enough rope to hang himself) – uhh, make that give Matty Ice more long term tools to help the offense become more explosive – It appears that we are a bit lean on draft picks.

B) Signed 4, count em, 4 TE’s that are now on the roster as well as one more yet unsigned (Reggie Kelly).

C) Paid TG 7 million out of a tight salary cap piggy bank to play another year.

It would appear that he may be making sure we have TE covered this year so we can use the picks in areas of greater need (areas where he loses talent to other teams).

I am thinking that he does NOT intend to draft a TE this year. Look at the past two years where “experts” had him penciled in to pick the TE of the future high to allow TG a chance to train them. We pulled in a couple UDFA’s and kept the best (Palmer).

I think TD has other things in mind this year than TE.


April 8th, 2012
3:13 pm

No at 55. Sanders in the 3rd yes, maybe to Schwartz-not sure yet. Not happy with just Baker and Svitek either. We got to have another body there. 55 has to be an immediate contributor and since our off is set except for OL 55 has to be a def pick. I’m hoping S/NB or NT. Remember we have a first next year and there is going to be 13 FA tackles next year too. I guess the question is where do we get some LT competition, FA if possible or late in the draft or Sanders if he falls to us in the 3rd. LT at 55 is a mistake I hope we don’t make.

steven a smith

April 8th, 2012
3:19 pm

HAPPY EASTER BOYS…Mike Adams sadly will not be around at pick 55……


April 8th, 2012
3:25 pm

F3, as per your chart of lost players what position do you believe is the most important to fill with an impact player?

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:27 pm

Roster spots, continued.

So, we are left with 6 roster spots that are open for competition by FA’s and draft picks if we follow that logic:

TE (4 on the roster already though)
WR/ST (Weems role)


Note that there are No openings on the DL. WE currently have 4 DT’s on the roster so no camp competition), and 5 DE’s. stability, and no openings.

O-Line we have 2 C’s, 4T’s and 5 G’s under contract, with a C that has stated he will retire after this year if I recall.

If we use our 6 picks on S, CB, LB, OC, TE (so many on the roster already though), and WR what order do we pick them?

Does that order change if we skip TE this year, and go for a T for competition?

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:28 pm

Sorry this is offtopic, prepared it for the last blog a tad late, still wanted to get it in.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:29 pm

Chris; I think s/cb, no depth after Moore, and he gets hurt a lot. We need someone that can contribute immediately, and that is 2nd round.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:38 pm

If we pay TG 7 million so we can wait until 2013 for our TE of the future, will the choices be better? I have to think TD is already thinking at least that far ahead, and he will have more choices next year to play with and go after who he really likes.
Who might he like?
Joseph Fauria, 6’7” 252 UCLA
Jake Stoneburner, 6’5”, 245
Michael Williams, 6’6” 270
Reid Fragel, 6’7” 280

All of these are likely better than what is available this year. Think TD has checked this out already??

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:47 pm

So, bottom line, I think TD is working off a carefully researched long term script that he worked out with the coaching staff and Mr. Blank that incorporates Salary Cap concerns, free agency, the draft, and coaching reviews of everyone on the staff with a bias towards continuity (per AB’s interview).

I think we will target:

S, CB, WR, LB, T, and C in the draft this year.
Order depends on who is available when, board ranking, etc.

Possible Depth DT to allow scheme flexibility but I am not sure there will be room on the roster, maybe a practice squad DT off someone else’s waiver wire in case Jerry is hurt again.

Or, TD will draft 6 long snappers, I really have no clue.


April 8th, 2012
3:53 pm

I agree F3, so is that Boykin or Johnson or someone else? Is there anyone else that some think will be gone that might fall? S is the last line of def and think of most good defs have a great S, Polamalu….Reed.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
3:59 pm


I am an ignoramous that knows diddlysquat, but I happen to still like George Iloka from Boise State, 6′4″ 225. FS/SS/CB/LB.

His size and skills would turn a weakness into a strength, I think, and he should be there at 55. I am looking for a TALL NCB, and while I love Boykin, he is short and has some Falcon Filter issues.


April 8th, 2012
4:10 pm

F3, time for you to start the Iloka train, rock (my dog) and I are on board!!!
Need a starter/contributer playmaker with our 55.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
4:25 pm

JJ – I posted Iloka last week as my pick, now you and Rock, and now— Falcoholic just jumped on board!!


April 8th, 2012
4:25 pm

F3 & JJ, count me in with lloka. I keep seeing another Spoon and I do not regret riding on that train at all. I believe the FO are pretty well settled at our core players and may add a FA tackle but we need to shore up our D backfield a lot. Those 3rd and longs killeded us in a big way last year.


April 8th, 2012
4:28 pm

JJ, Elvis also gave lloka a paws up! Dogs have that sense, ya’ know.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
4:31 pm

JB, Welcome on board. Here are some more comments on him:

“I picked Greg Cosell’s brain. Cosell is with NFL Films. He’s studied and analized most of the draft-eligible prospects.”
“Cosell seemed genuinely enthused about was Boise State’s George Iloka.
He clocked the fastest short shuttle time (4.03) at the combine for safeties, and with his size (6-3, 225) and ability to cover tight ends, Cosell finds him an intriguing prospect.

”He’s a big, athletic guy,” Cosell said. ”He’s to me, one of those guys that has a lot of versatility, and Bill normally likes guys like that. But to me, the kid’s a real intriguing prospect. He’s got a multiple skill set, and on film, he showed excellent movement. He’s got quick feet, I think he’s a smooth athlete. I think he’s one of those guys with an excellent size-speed combination and position versatility.”

This season, Iloka played the first 10 games at safety, his normal position, and the final two at corner due to an injury to another player. Just someone to keep an eye on.”


April 8th, 2012
4:32 pm

JB, Dogs rule but Im still hoping kuchar can sneak out a green jacket!


April 8th, 2012
4:39 pm

Great, just gave kuchar the jinks of a 3 putt within 5yds. So now, time for Bubbamania!
Dont let those euros take our masters!!!


April 8th, 2012
4:42 pm

I realy like Iloka too but I’m afraid we’d pass on him if he’s there because of trying to maximize value due to lack of picks. Its a hard choice to make….Iloka,Boykin etc but that’s why I’m a roofer and not a GM. Anybody notice Albert Haynesworth on the mkt. Has a lot to reprove and would possibly take a minimum deal to get to play again. Probably not a good idea just thinking aloud. Maybe after we see if we get Sanders in the 3rd or not to decide to pick up McNeil or not.


April 8th, 2012
4:44 pm

Elvis, shrubs and bushes buddy and dont eat the green poo, its not ripe yet.


April 8th, 2012
4:51 pm

I’m off to evening service cagers, gonna check back in when I return, looking forward to all the good combo and link reading. Man I can almost smell the hotwings that accompany me and my couch on draft day.

tic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
4:53 pm

A bit more on Iloka then I am out:

Just searching on Iloka, a lot of mocks by fans are taking him in the 3rd, seems a lot of folks like him. Highest I saw him picked was at 47 by the Jets but that was an anomaly.


April 8th, 2012
4:54 pm


April 8th, 2012
5:06 pm

Is Bubba Watson a uga dog?

Joshua Malavenda

April 8th, 2012
5:35 pm

No we shouldnt draft a ot at 55. I think we should draft schwartz in the third and draft trumane johnson in the second if we dont move up to get coby fleener. if they get either of them they will both be stars under the tudledge of donna and nolan.

Joshua Malavenda

April 8th, 2012
5:37 pm

I left out if they get either johnson or Iloka they will be both be stars under the tutledge of nolan and donna

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]


April 8th, 2012
6:35 pm

Nice job D3, I don’t see tackle in the cards,at least not at two. Like I said earlier Smitty seems genuinely devoted to his pet T-Rex. I really liked the bio you provided on Donald Stephenson. How did I miss that one? I’ve heard Thomas say that forty times aren’t a big deal for tackles. For me this is one time I might differ with his smartness. Over the past few years I’ve noticed the franchise tackle types are nearly always sub 5 second guys. I’m convinced it helps them mirror speed rushers. They’re also on the large side. This brings me back to Stephenson, technique can be corrected. Large and fast you’re born with. With Stephenson you’ve got large and fast pretty much covered, I’d buy now and figure out what’s wrong with him later. I really like the price tag.


April 8th, 2012
7:31 pm

Come on bubba!!!


April 8th, 2012
7:57 pm

Congratulations to Bubba Watson!!! What a shot he hit on #10 playoff hole! Thank God we keep the Masters title with the Americans this year!

Joshua Malavenda

April 8th, 2012
8:17 pm

Ken Strickland

April 8th, 2012
8:22 pm

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
8:25 pm

Back for another Pro-Iloka post, sorry.

With Nolan in town, and Lofton out, how will the Falcon D look next year, and what personnel would be needed to make it a fit? Maybe one, big safety.

Great article, and some sections deserve highlighting:

“Many 49ers likely remember the term, “big nickel.” This was a defensive scheme that Mike Nolan liked when he was the coach here, one that replaced a linebacker with a safety and which is designed to give defenses an advantage against passing teams. That’s often what the New York Giants use as their base defense – five defensive backs, three of them safeties”


“In a normal nickel formation, an OLB is removed to put in a nickel back. For example, last year Atlanta would remove Stephen Nicholas for Chris Owens/Dominique Franks on 3rd downs.

Instead, the big nickel would would have replaced Nicholas with another safety. There are some positives. For instance, the big nickel could be employed sooner on drives. The big nickel also gives a defense a definite step between a poor pass coverage linebacker and a poor run stopping nickel. Many would say you plug in another strong safety, who has better run stopping abilities than a free safety.

How would this look in Atlanta? As Greg Cossell mentions in his article, the Giants had multiple different personnel in the big nickel. This could occur in Atlanta, but I will describe how it will likely look.

Stephen Nicholas comes out and is replaced by either a drafted safety or perhaps Shann Schillinger. The more athletic tight ends, like Jimmy Graham, are now covered by a defensive back, improving the match-up without loosing too much in run defense.

If Nolan switches up formations, Sean Weatherspoon could take snaps as the middle linebacker, with either Akeem Dent or Lofa Tatupu leaving the lineup. Spoon has the size to play in the middle and would make sure the defense did not loose some pass coverage abilities, such as when Nicholas is subbed out.

What should we expect? The Falcons will likely add a safety with Nolan’s use of three safeties. Atlanta has already started looking at safeties. Tavon Wilson is projected as a free safety, which leads me to think Nolan is modifying his two strong safety set or perhaps Thomas DeCoud’s position. DeCoud is very nice in run support, but leaves a lot to be desired in coverage. He may play closer to the LOS with a new safety up top. Theoretically, Dominque Franks has the size to play free safety and could see a move to that position.”

There is more t the article, but for those that think the new coordinators, combined with who was allowed to walk in FA may affect the Falcons draft, this is a great read.

Fanatic Falcon Fan (F3)

April 8th, 2012
8:30 pm

Joshua, Ken, great links – thanks! I would be happy with Johnson in the 2nd, but I think Iloka just has more tools. TD may have different thoughts on the matter, but I would be happy to discuss with him if he likes.


April 8th, 2012
8:30 pm

Apparently Mike Smith and TD like “a healthy Sam Baker” at LT. Chances are it’s just not going to happen unless they acquire a higher draft pick somehow.


April 8th, 2012
8:34 pm

If they do go after an LT at 55 it very likely wont be because of needed but because they felt that whoever they had was on top of the talent pool. Very unlikely with this draft. This is the year the Falcons really need to go after the best talent available. I still don’t believe that Lofton was the sacred cow.


April 8th, 2012
8:54 pm

Yep JJ, he is A Dawg!!!

Joshua Malavenda

April 8th, 2012
8:59 pm

F3- The tape I watched on iloka was vs ga and it was very unimpressive but then I saw a tape of trumane johnson. it was very impressive. The only thing I worry about with trumane is he played vs lesser competion but I heard he made up for that when he played stronger competion in his all star games and excelled.

I think dunta robinson could play the big nickle role also because he is known for his phyical play and his great tackling skills.

I really like the the break down of the big nickle scheme. thanks for that info. I think our best bet is to play a couple players at the big nickle position to throw the oppsoing offenses off. I have said this before the more we throw different looks at the oppsing offenses the better it is for us. .

heres a intersting article about some sleepers in the draft

heres another article about where they compare 2012 draft picks to nfl players:

darrell starks

April 8th, 2012
9:15 pm


No LT with #55


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

April 8th, 2012
9:28 pm

Josh Robinson CB or Brandon Boykin.

My pick would be Brandon Boykin, whom i watch for 4years and could play Corner Back or Safety, he is a can’t miss draft pick for the Falcons, then on the other hand there is this guy name Josh Robinson who Shut down everybody he man up against thru out his career UCF.

UFC defense have always been to man up on edges and attack with LB, the same style coach Nolan loves to play, Josh may be better suited for the Nolan attack defense than Boykin.

Josh also ran the fastest 40 among all DB 4.30 in the forty.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joshua Malavenda

April 8th, 2012
9:34 pm

heres a interesting article about trumaine johnson:

darrell starks

April 8th, 2012
9:40 pm