After a long wait, it’s finally over and in the books. The Falcons took 6 players in the 2012 NFL Draft and reportedly signed another 20 undrated free agents. Immediate reaction here in The Bird Cage wasn’t very kind. Predicting what direction Thomas Dimitroff will go has become next to impossible. The Birds to add some beef and definitely didn’t wow many with no flashy picks and a handful of players that even the most die-hard draft researcher hadn’t seen.
Feel free to use any grading system you want for the Falcons haul in 2012, but The Bird Cage will go with some simple terms of “Great, Good, Risky, Bad, or Terrible.” Even though many will disagree, here goes……..
It’s really hard to argue with this pick at all. The Falcons biggest need has been offensive line for quite some time and Dimitroff took the best center in the draft and one of the best overall OL prospects in the draft. Almost every single scouting site or mock draft had Konz going either in the 1st round or the early 2nd round. Konz brings size (6’5, 314), toughness, leadership, and most importantly, talent to an offensive line in severe need of it. He offers a ton of versatility and Dimitroff and Coach Smith said that he will be competing for two spots (Guard or Center). If nothing else, Dimitroff hopefully just locked up an excellent starting Center for the next decade. Draft Grade – Great Pick
Here’s where most Falcons fans threw their remote or mug through their TV, or at least broke something close to them. The idea of adding more talent and beef to the offensive line has long been a cry for the majority of Falcons fans. In terms of potential, there weren’t too many left tackle candidates that has more of it than Holmes. But the problem is not necessarily the player, but where they drafted him. Holmes was roundly projected by almost every website to go somewhere around the 6th or 7th round and possibly even go undrafted. After not having a 1st or 4th round pick in this draft, many fans were livid with what seemed an outrageous reach.
Even though scouting websites aren’t soothsayers, when it’s that much of a consensus, it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t at least a little bit of a reach. Most fans expect 3rd round draft picks to at least contribute some as a rookie and everyone says he is too much of a project to spend a 3rd round pick on. Several things to be positive about this pick, however.
Thomas Dimitroff is batting pretty good with his 3rd round picks since 2008. He has drafted 3 current starters (Thomas DeCoud, Corey Peters and if you include Harry Douglas in the slot) and one potential starter in 2012 (Akeem Dent). He missed on Chevis Jackson and most will say he missed on Chris Owens as well. If you assume that Dent has a place on the field in 2012, than Dimitroff is batting at a 66% rate and if you think Chris Owens still has something left, it’s even higher to 80%. In other words, previous “reaches in the 3rd round” have worked out pretty well to give Dimitroff the benefit of the doubt.
While needing some major coaching, Holmes is everything that Sam Baker is not (big, strong, long arms, big hands, good pass protector) and the potential is certainly there for him to become a legit left tackle sooner rather than later. Still, this pick will have to be considered risky until proven otherwise, especially when he passed on guys like Brandon Thompson in the 3rd round. Draft Grade – Risky Pick
One reason Falcons fans quickly soured on this draft was that after many thought Lamar Holmes to be an unbearable reach in the 3rd and not having a pick in the 4th round, Dimitroff selected a….fullback? It is true that Bradie Ewing was the best fullback in the draft, but most believe that fullbacks should be taken towards the very end of the draft and possibly even as undrafted free agents. Ewing the player is a very good pick, but taking him in the 5th round with limited draft picks is hard for many to bear. Ewing has a lot of potential at fullback with him being able to do it all: run, block, hit, catch, and even line up at tight end if needed. Ewing is a load at 6’0 feet tall and 240 lbs running a 4.76 forty. Although some don’t like the pick, Ewing makes the second player in one draft considered the best at their respective position.
Even though this sounds like a major cop-out, there is somewhat of a caveat attached to this pick. If the Falcons plan was to draft Ewing as the starting fullback for 2012 and the next 8 years or so, than this makes a lot of sense. Getting such a versatile prospect with so much potential and the best player at his position has to be thought of as a good move. However, there is a sneaking suspicion among many that the Falcons plan on keeping both Ovie Mughelli, who is coming off ACL injury and turning 32 soon for almost an almost $4 million dollar cap hit, and Bradie Ewing. Sure, it would be great to keep both, but both money and roster spots say differently.
One thing fans want more of in the backfield is speed and Michael Turner, Jason Snelling, nor Jacquizz Rodgers offer that. Rodgers is very quick and elusive, but doesn’t possess homerun speed. If you believe that 5th round picks are destined only for special teams greatness, than perhaps this is still a good fit for you. However, if you’re only concerned with special teams duty and a backup fullback, that can be found with undrafted free agents. Draft Grade: Starting, Sole Fullback – Good Pick; Backup Fullback – Terrible Pick
Many didn’t really see this one coming either, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good pick. Massaquoi may not have the fastest forty time in the world, but the guy simply can get to the quarterback and penetrate in the backfield. He was a community college transfer to Troy University his last 2 years and really notched some impressive stats while there. At Troy, he collared 125 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, and 19.5 sacks. It’s somewhat hard to understand why the Falcons brass would take Massaquoi with so many defensive ends either financially committed (Edwards, Biermann, Abraham) or seemingly loaded with potential (Sidbury, Matthews). You can never have too many defensive players that can rush the passer, but this certainly will be interesting to see if any of the aforementioned players will have to look over their shoulders in camp. Draft Grade – Good Pick
It’s hard to argue with the Falcons taking a safety for depth in this draft. In fact, many fans thought a safety pick would’ve come much sooner than it did. Mitchell seems to be a pretty good match with where he was picked. He was a 3 years starter in the SEC, which in and of itself is no small feat, and a tackling machine. In four years in Starkville, Mitchell racked up 238 tackles. His measureables won’t blow you away (5’11, 202, 4.63 forty), but he’s an aggressive hitter with smooth footwork. He needs some work on angles and pass coverage, but a good pick for safety depth as well as special teams. Many fans may wonder why the Falcons passed on more highly rated prospects George Iloka and Antonio Allen, among others. Draft Grade – Good Pick
Like taking Mitchell at safety, the selection of Travian Robertson in the 7th round appears to be another good pick with some upside at a position of need. Robertson is a big defensive tackle at 6’4, but only 302 lbs. His frame could possibly even support 10-15 more pounds. Another SEC starter for several years, Robertson had some pretty productive statistics in his final two years in Columbia with 91 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, and 6.5 sacks. Not too bad for a defensive tackle. While Robertson is not necessarily the big-bodied DT that many thought would be coming to Atlanta, he gives good depth to a position of need. Dimitroff struck gold the last time he took a defensive tackle in the 7th round with Vance Walker, who has steadily worked himself into the defensive tackle rotation. The only frustrating thing to some on this pick is the fact that the Falcons could have taken one of the better DTs in the entire draft if they hadn’t passed on Brandon Thompson (twice) in the 3rd round. Draft Grade – Good Pick
It certainly wasn’t the flashiest of drafts and there will be some major question marks until proven otherwise on some of the picks, but overall the Falcons added some major talent to the offensive line, took two players considered to be the best at their respective position, potentially nabbed their center and fullback of the future, a defensive player who can get after the passer, good and proven depth at safety and defensive tackle, and possibly their left tackle of the future.
1) What’s your grades on each draft pick? Feel free to use any system you want (letters, points, words, etc).
2) What’s your overall grade and review of the entire draft?
3) Will Peter Konz start this year? Center or guard?
4) Your thoughts on the Holmes pick: love or hate?
5) Was it a good move or insanity to take a fullback in the 5th?
6) Should the Falcons keep both Mughelli and Bradie Ewing?
7) Your thoughts on the Massaquoi pick
8.) Will one of the current DE’s get the axe with Massaquoi’s selection?
9) Mitchell and Robertson picks: good value or wasted picks?