News and Views: Williams just another busted Hokie

Here's Jimmy Williams when he wasn't on drugs -- as far as we know.

Here's Jimmy Williams when he wasn't on drugs, as far as we know.

Welcome back for another edition of News and Views. Today, we asked the question: Who will be the next Falcons’ scout to dare step foot in Blacksburg, Va.?

♦ News: Colossal draft bust Jimmy Williams is suspended for a year by the NFL for using some kind of drug.

♦ Why should you care: Because Williams now resides in Falcons’ lore as one of their great day-one draft disasters, along with (you might want to cover your eyes for this): Aundray Bruce, Marcus Cotton, Steve Broussard, Mike Pritchard, Bruce Pickens, Tony Smith, Devin Bush, Nathan Davis, Michael Booker, Reggie Kelly, Bryan Scott … OK, that’s all I can do without falling over. But there is good news. The Falcons will never draft another Hokie! (we can only hope)

Views: It’s scary to think about it, but at one time in 2006 the Falcons had five Virginia Tech players on their roster: Williams, Michael Vick, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, guard Matt Lehr and quarterback Bryan Randall. As it turns out, Randall — who’s now playing in the Canadian Football League — might go through his career with the least amount of baggage. Williams was the “Flounder” of the secondary: fat, lazy and stupid. He was released by a bad Falcons team, then signed and released by a bad 49ers team. To think: The Falcons (who had traded their 2006 first round pick) actually were thrilled to get Williams with the fifth pick of the second round. Rich McKay and Jim Mora gushed about him. They should have known better. Williams was a projected top-15 pick until his stock plummeted at the combine after bad workouts. The other VaTech alums to pass through Flowery Branch: Vick (from franchise savior to disaster); Hall (overpaid, overrated, selfish, lazy, Jim Mora’s best friend); Lehr (played for five teams in eight seasons, was suspended for steroids when he was a Falcon and last year was linked to a federal steroid investigation in Texas; Randall (just loving life as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber). Thomas Dimitroff can go a long way toward ensuring his longevity if he never looks at another Hokie.

The net's covered better when Kari Lehtonen is healthy and on his game.

When Kari Lehtonen's healthy, he usually covers the net better.

♦ News: Thrashers sign goalie Kari Lehtonen to a one-year qualifying offer ($3 million) because they couldn’t trade him and they weren’t going to give him a multi-year deal.

♦ Why should you care: Because it means Lehtonen, after being offered to any NHL team team in trade, will end up competing for the starting goalie job. That seems strange. Also, for as much focus as there has been on keeping Ilya Kovalchuk in the fold — and justifiably so –  the biggest key to any hockey’s team’s record is goaltending.

♦ Views: Here’s the problem: General manager Don Waddell (with Ondrej Pavelec and Johan Hedberg already under contract) went to the draft prepared to trade Lehtonen. Maybe even wanting to trade Lehtonen. But with Marty Biron, Nikolai Khabibulin and others available in free agency, the trade market for goalies was unusually dry. “I talked to a couple of teams but I realized on draft day that things would pretty much be status quo,” Waddell said. He then added: “Actually, this could be a good issue. We’ll have good competition between three guys competing for jobs.” Not necessarily. Competition is good. But when a team has an unsettled situation at goalie and it doesn’t know who the starter is going to be, that’s not good. There are reasons the Thrashers made Lehtonen available. While he has undeniable talent, he is often injured, is maturing slower than hoped or expected and nobody is ever quite sure where his head is at. But goalies are a strange lot. Sometimes they mature late — very late. Dominik Hasek? He was waived and available in the expansion draft before he turned into the world’s best goalie in Buffalo in his late 20s and early 30s. Lehtonen is 25. The Thrashers are still waiting.

100 comments Add your comment

Reid Adair

July 16th, 2009
11:40 am

It was a bit disappointing to hear Rich McKay and Jim Mora, Jr., talk about what a “steal” Jimmy Williams was when they got him. They acted as if the rest of the world didn’t know about Williams’ horrible workouts and his plummeting stock.

As it turned out, to no surprise of long-time fans who remember most of the other names Jeff listed, they were wrong – and the rest of the league was right.

Jeff Schultz

July 16th, 2009
11:53 am

Yes, Reid I was there for those quotes. Mora also said something to the effect of “He’ll be our cornerback for a long time Safety is way down the line.” But it was apparent in that first training camp that he couldn’t play corner.

MiltonDawg

July 16th, 2009
12:14 pm

I think the Falcons will do a better “review” now before making these draft picks. Soooo much money wasted on these players, it’s disgusting. Thank Goodness for TD who actually spends time researching these players. And after the Vick saga, maybe more into their personal lives as well.
Great signing for Kari..now just make Kovy a Thrasher for life.

Jeff Schultz

July 16th, 2009
12:27 pm

Getting a ton of folks on Twitter weighing in on their (un)favorite worst Falcons’ pick. But I wanted to add one oversight: Tony Smith. He gets the nod for a lot of folks because he was part of the Brett Favre trade, which, of course, didn’t work out so good.

Ken Stallings

July 16th, 2009
12:28 pm

Good and timely column, Jeff!

Makes one wonder if it’s not time for the Falcons (and every other sports team) to start giving out tests on integrity and thinking that’s the most important thing.

Character matters. A lot! More than talent!

Used to be talent could be measured as if it was more important because it was presumed good character existed equally. Today, character has diminished. We accord athletes special status before they reach teenage years.

We need to start acting like sports isn’t important until a kid reaches 18, then becomes slightly important until he reaches 21. Then it finally becomes important to a degree.

That way, kids play sports because they are fun. College kids play sports to earn a degree. Professionals play sports as a career, when it finally becomes important, but not more important than other professions that actually contribute more to the evolution of mankind.

Yeah, I know, the laughter is loud. But, why is that? It really used to be that way, and people who wrote such words were not laughed at. Used to be that adults didn’t go stupid at kids’ games because they were for kids to have fun. Used to be a college scholarship was considered more an academic pursuit than a sports endeavor.

People who lived before us, who wouldn’t laugh at such a statement, would cry rather than laugh that such a philosophy would be laughable today. I just wonder how bad things must actually get before the laughter stops and we start feeling ashamed of ourselves!

Reid Adair

July 16th, 2009
12:32 pm

Jeff, yeah, it didn’t take long at all for everyone – other than perhaps McKay and Mora, Jr. – to realize Williams was not going to cut it at corner.

Ken Stallings

July 16th, 2009
12:35 pm

And Jeff, I submit that someone making fun of the VT mass murder shooting is a point where a blog post simply should be removed, and if you choose to remove it as I hope you do, please remove this one as it’s served its purpose.

Thanks!

PMC

July 16th, 2009
12:36 pm

meh, he was a second round bust even if they traded up, it’s more disapointing that Deangelo Hall wasn’t more consistant with less of a tude. That was just one of the other miserable moves like ditching Chris Draft for Ed Hartwell who was just horrid.

PMC

July 16th, 2009
12:37 pm

If anything with Williams he has himself to blame for sucking, he had talent and his attitude and lifestyle choices were so poor he’s now smoked himself out of the league. Essentially it’s an enherent problem with a lot of Athletes from Blacksburg.

Hollywould

July 16th, 2009
12:39 pm

Man, those VT players have some problems. I just hope the ones who are there this year
kick Bama’s arse at the dome.
War Eagle

ty44

July 16th, 2009
12:43 pm

Hey, Jeff, OMG, someone else besides ME finally acknowledges the Vick hokie buddy system! I wish u could go back and read my comments about this very thing. I am the one who has been begging the Falcons to draft more SEC players than ACC….My goodness, even our Razorback D End, is better than them hokies……well, maybe…, but, great article Jeff…
Go Falcons, Dawgs, Braves!!!!!!!

Archie

July 16th, 2009
1:04 pm

Is it just me or has Virginia Tech become the new Florida State when it comes to thug football players who waste their talent. Year in and year out, it’s the most overrated college program. Their teams aren’t as good as advertised, and the draft picks they send to the NFL almost always flop in the NFL.

Jeff,

Could the Thrashers really not trade Lehtonen because there were no takers, or were they asking too much and nobody was willing to pay the price? They’ll start the season with 3 goalies now, but when the trade deadline comes and teams start getting ready to overpay for players, Lehtonen will surely go then. Also, surely at least one goalie around the league will get injured and force a team to add depth to the position, so Lehtonen could be gone then. The demand for goalies will go back up, and the Thrashers still have a surplus so Kari will be traded sooner or later.

Dee VT Supporter

July 16th, 2009
1:12 pm

Well, if not Virginia Tech. How about Georgia??? LOL

Greg

July 16th, 2009
1:15 pm

Nice piece, Jeff. Do you think that one of the reasons Blank went with a player evaluation guy to be his GM is his own personal and painful knowledge of this record?

DAN

July 16th, 2009
1:16 pm

Who can forget the “borderline trained assasin” Darrien Connor?

VICK SUPPORTER 2

July 16th, 2009
1:19 pm

http://out-route.gloriousnoise.com/2006/06/further_proof_michael_vick_sucks.php

38-28-1 OVERALL RECORD (NOT BAD)

31-10 VS TEAMS WITH .500 RECORD OR WORSE (NOT BAD AT ALL)

7-18-1 VS TEAMS WITH WINNING RECORD (THAT’S HILARIOUS)

#1 OVERALL DRAFT PICK (SEE JIMMY ABOVE) :)

BILL

July 16th, 2009
1:24 pm

Wasn’t Gerald Tinker a first rounder back in the Van Brocklin days? Total waste of money.

Fightin Gobbler

July 16th, 2009
1:27 pm

You’re right about never drafting another Hokie… it would have been awful last year to have ended up w/ a rookie wide receiver like Eddie Royal or corner back like Brandon Flowers. I sure hope the Falcons aren’t dumb enough to draft hardnosed defenders like Daryl Tapp or Xavier Adibi either.

What is clear is that you aren’t interested in doing any research into former Hokies that are outstanding on and off the field as that might actually involve some genuine, original thinking on your part. Instead, you can continue to recycle the same old material about the same three guys (Vick, D-Hall, J. Williams) as if they just left Blacksburg yesterday.

lazydawg

July 16th, 2009
1:28 pm

I’ve been saying for about the last seven years to keep away from Virgina Tech players they run the campus there and fell a sence of entitlement in the real world.I believe Coach Beamer is a lot like Coach Donnan meaning he has no control of his players and it is a good thing he’s in th ACC and not the SEC because he would be run out of town at most Universitys in the SEC.

blord

July 16th, 2009
1:35 pm

Help me remember…wasn’t it Williams that at his first day of training camp made and int and did the Deion dance as he ran it back? I remember going to Flowery Branch and thinking that guy is huge for a db. To bad he didn’t have the desire.

Antonio Gramsci

July 16th, 2009
1:35 pm

Aundray Bruce was the Chris Washburn of the Falcons. I also thought drafting a one-eyed left tackle was a strange move, poor ol’ Bob.

jconservative

July 16th, 2009
1:35 pm

It is not the school they went to but the failure of the Rich Mckay system to measure Character. I have heard Mckay say they drafted “high character” guys only to lose them to “low character” acts.

Jeff Schultz

July 16th, 2009
1:37 pm

Ken — nice summation.

Archie — I’m sure other teams would take Lehtonen, they just weren’t offering much. I didn’t ask him but I would think Don wanted a relatively young, top-6 forward in return.

Greg: Absolutely. I remember having a conversation with Blank once and I said something to the effect of, “Go try to find the next Scott Piloi.” It never occurred to me he might mine Pioli’s staff.

Fightin’ Gobbler — Just telling you how it’s worked out for this team. But if you want to parade around in you your VaTech jersey and wave a flag for the team, have at it.

Lazydawg — it does seem that way. But Bruce Smith certainly turned out OK.

Jeff Schultz

July 16th, 2009
1:40 pm

Ken — I read right over those earlier nonsensical ramblings. Thanks — it’s gone.

long time falcon

July 16th, 2009
1:44 pm

Jeff, the steve broussard pick was one of the worst memories of my falcon life. Why? Because Rodney Hampton was still on the board. I will never forget that day as me and some of my friends were gathered watching the draft. When it came time for the falcons pick we were all jumping up and down high fiving because we just knew the falcons were going to take Hampton. And when the commish said the name steve broussard I literally fell in the floor face in hands with an overwhelming feeling of disgust. Hampton went on to become the giants all time leading rusher when he retired and steve broussard…. well you know.

south ga boy

July 16th, 2009
1:46 pm

jeff i realize its easy to bash mckay & mora and they deserve it for falcon futility, but these days the main reason for most of the falcon’s woes , as a franchise, was rankin smith. his unwillingness to spend money, to give real authority to a general manager, and to hire a coach and stick with him thru thick and thin brought on 35 yrs of flailing around from one (5 yr-remember those)re-building plan to the next one. the man was a robber barron, turning a 6 million dollar investment into 550 million only because he was in a club (nfl) with some very smart ppl and thru no merit of his own. his family should get down on their knees and thank God for donald sterling because his existence is the only thing that keeps rankin smith from being considered the worst owner in the history of well owners. thank God for arthur blank

wahoo wah

July 16th, 2009
1:47 pm

Yes, as a UVA alum, I fully agree with your comments about Virginia Tech.

Of course, as a University of California alum, I was also down on that loser John Elway.

blord

July 16th, 2009
1:49 pm

Let’s not forget T J Duckett. He did some good things here in the dvd but he never lived up to the first round pick status. He looked like Tarzan but played more like Jane. I am not sure it made a lot of sense to take a rb in the 1st when you just invested money in the off season to one in Dunn.

Falcons Ticket Operator

July 16th, 2009
1:51 pm

yeah…its a “hokie” problem…..sure….and when will the AJC be actually reporting on the obvious domestic abuse problems with so many members of this team? What’s that all about? Don’t you care Jeff? Turner, Ojinnaka, and former Falcon Boley….hmmm….what’s with that?

Operators are still standing by! Please 2 tickets/2 jerseys for just the low low price of $199!! Please, how much more do you want? Free food? Free parking? OK…its been dropped to 2 tickets/2 caps for $99 if you’ll just make sure the home opener is sold out! Geez, why won’t you people support the Falcons???

Herschel Talker

July 16th, 2009
1:55 pm

Schultzie – Jim Mora Jr. likes men

Falcons Ticket Operator

July 16th, 2009
2:13 pm

Operators are still standing by! Please 2 tickets/2 #7 jerseys for just the low low price of $199!! Please, how much more do you want? Free food? Free parking? OK…its been dropped to 2 tickets/2 caps for $99 if you’ll just make sure the home opener is sold out! Geez, why won’t you people support the Falcons???

mn possum

July 16th, 2009
2:18 pm

BILL – Tinker was a second round pick, and he was a bad pick. Bruce was a bust, but scouting and his college suggested he was a viable player. Thus, Bruce was a not a bad pick; he just didn’t develop as a player. Gerald Tinker, aka Gerald “The Stinker” Tinker, was picked without evaluating his football skills, and it was a disaster. Tinker was a bad pick.

MiltonDawg

July 16th, 2009
2:31 pm

Falcons Operator: Please go away!! We want fans…not morons.

MiltonDawg

July 16th, 2009
2:35 pm

And all those other players you mentioned, did in fact get mention and discussed in the AJC. Typical MV7 fan!

Rachel Ray

July 16th, 2009
2:36 pm

One of you guys want to buy me a drink?

Fightin Gobbler

July 16th, 2009
2:38 pm

Jeff – Thanks for the reply but you completely missed my point. By dismissing all VT players you are thowing out the baby with the bath water. I agree that VT had a run of disappointing character guys but if you’ll notice, that run actually came to an end when Marcus Vick was kicked off the team. VT has taken a much, much tougher stance in the past 3 years. For example, Zach Luckett got a DUI right before the season started last year and he was kicked off the team for the entire year even though he was going to be a starting WR on a team w/ zero depth at that position. He is being allowed back on the team this year with a one strike policy. How many UGA (or Florida or Tennesse) players have been suspended for the entire year for a DUI????

Its easy to pot shot VT and Beamer but the facts are that those players and situations are in the past, in many cases several years in the past. If the Falcons want to avoid VT players at all costs that is certainly their right, I just feel its tremendously short sighted.

Otto

July 16th, 2009
2:41 pm

Schultz good article other than being that surprised Hampton wasn’t picked by the Falcons. IMO plenty of UGA fans were glad to see him in NY.

Otto

July 16th, 2009
2:43 pm

VT and Beamer maybe getting tougher but is that because of value or all the press the Vick brothers have generated combined with going to BCS bowls. Beamer better be careful he could end up in Bowden’s place without the titles.

Najeh Davenpoop

July 16th, 2009
3:14 pm

Hey Rachel Ray. How bout I buy you pork chops if you agree to stop screaming at me on the TV? Oh, and you can never ever fake laugh again.

Whopper Dawg

July 16th, 2009
3:18 pm

Jeff,

Don’t you dare forget Joe Profit. My favorite though has to be Bruce Pickens, number 3 overall a CB out of Nebraska – back in those days the Big 8 threw maybe 10 passes all year and we are picking Nebraska cornerbacks – surreal experience being a Falcon fan. It is like living in Bizzaro World.

TCM

July 16th, 2009
3:30 pm

Interesting article. It isn’t fair to attack one school because of three athletes even though the investments made in them were very high. It doesn’t mean ATL should stay away from them on draft day. If you see a guy at your pick of need who is available and can make a difference you take him if everything checks out.

Would you stop buying fruit because every once in a while there is a rotten apple or orange in your batch? Had Matt Ryan been a Hokie instead of an “eagle” at BCollege would you have passed on him too? You can’t judge everybody in the pot based on a select few. It’s funny we don’t hear about VT players on other teams across the league being busts….I wonder why that is?

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 16th, 2009
3:33 pm

3. Andrea Bruce 4. Steve Broussard 5. Bruce Pickens 6. Joe Profit
But the two worst picks ever……….Reggie Sutton in the late rounds and you say whats the big deal…..he was headed to jail for drugs. And #1, (drum roll) Jammi German, round 3 ahead of Hines Ward

Brian Hunt

July 16th, 2009
3:37 pm

I don’t think that it’s fair to have Mike Pritchard, Reggie Kelly, and Bryan Scott on that list. Kelly was a great blocking TE that helped the Falcons and Bengals to pretty good running games. Scott was a pretty good SS until he hurt his shoulder and lost the ability to be physical, but he’s still a starter in the NFL (Bills). Pritch was good in June Jones’ Run and Shoot.

Michael

July 16th, 2009
3:44 pm

I hope Kevin McCadam doesn’t come across this article

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 16th, 2009
3:48 pm

Falcons Worst Draft Picks revision a: 1. Jammi German 2. Reggie Sutton 3. Andrea Bruce 4. Bubba Bean 5. Tony Smith 6. Devin Bush 7. Bruce Pickens 8. Joe Profit 9. Michael Booker 10a. Marcus Cotton 10b. Steve Broussard

Does not include Gerald Tinker, Gold Medal winner. He was a sprinter not a football player, not his fault.

Spud Webb

July 16th, 2009
4:12 pm

ahhahahahahaha, I love VA tech, Bruce Smith, QUALITY, every other athlete, LOSERS> ahhaahhaha, beautiful.
Texas Ranger, I forgot about Jammi German, classic. I don’t know though, Bruce and Pickens we’re HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

FreeMikeVick

July 16th, 2009
4:12 pm

Your crazy if you think Mike Vick was a bust. The Falcons are the bust for turning there backs on him.

mn possum

July 16th, 2009
4:21 pm

Bank Walker “Does not include Gerald Tinker, Gold Medal winner. He was a sprinter not a football player, not his fault.”

Exactly… Tinker was not a bust; he was a “bad pick.” The Smith Gang forgot to evaluate his football skills.

JSS

July 16th, 2009
5:29 pm

Are you kidding me? Character matters? Are you kidding me? And your owner brings someone like Derek V. Smith of ChoicePoint in as a minority investor!!! Two words: Fantasy Island!!!

Falcons Ticket Operator

July 16th, 2009
5:30 pm

Hey Miltondawg, dont get mad with me because he Falcons have only blogger fans that support them “spiritually”, but definitely not 70,000 that support with their wallets!!

Again….operators are standing by…and falling asleep….you can get 2 jerseys with your 2 tickets for just $199!!! Any jersey at all!! Come on!! You have to order them, you know the Falcons 365 stores closed…both of them…apparently there are not as many Falcons fans as there where when it was decided to open those stores. oh well!!