With cornerback in fold, here are 5 choices for Falcons (UPDATE II)

Demaryius Thomas give the Falcons great balance at wide receiver.

Demaryius Thomas give the Falcons great balance at wide receiver.

Given the expected signing by the Falcons of free agent cornerback Dunta Robinson, it probably changes the focus of the team’s draft, at least in the first round. There’s no real reason to take a cornerback, not with so many issues to address.

(UPDATE: Robinson has signed a six-year deal with the Falcons, per Mr. Ledbetter. Details will be forthcoming but here’s a link to his current blog. Nice job by the Falcons.)

Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was a standout at the combine.

Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was a combine standout.

(UPDATE II: Our D. Orlando Ledbetter reports that Robinson’s deal is worth $57 million over six years and has $22.5 million guaranteed. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says $25.5 million is guaranteed. At that level, why quibble over a few million?)

The chances of the team drafting a running back in the first round — C.J. Spiller, for example — also likely are dead after Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling were given contract tenders. (Technically, they could still be traded, but that doesn’t seem likely.)

So, having eliminated those two positions, here are five players who could help the Falcons:

Sergio Kindle, Texas outside linebacker: Not sure if he’s still going to be there for the Falcons to take at No. 19. Pray. Kindle was moved to defensive end in 2009 but generally is projected as an NFL linebacker. At 6-4, he could drop into pass coverage, knock down passes and rush the quarterback. He recorded 2 1/2 sacks in the BCS title game against Alabama.

Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri linebacker: He’s not as tall as Kindle (6-1) but was a Butkus Award finalist. He performed well at the combine, and GM Thomas Dimitroff reportedly likes his athleticism, and the fact he has strong instincts.

Carlos Dunlap, Florida defensive end: There have been questions about his character, the most noteworthy incident being a DUI at Florida. If the Falcons have significant doubts for that reason, that’s fine. But Dunlap’s talent is off the charts. He would improve the Falcons’ pass rush rush exponentially. He is 6-6, 290, and had nine sacks and six pass deflections as a junior. He also was the defensive MVP for the Gators in the 2009 BCS national championship win over Oklahoma.

Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech: Going a little outside the box. The Falcons’ need a second receiving threat outside besides Roddy White. Thomas is a strong kid, tough. He is willing to go after the ball. He would provide a nice balance. He is coming off  a broken foot but that shouldn’t be a major issue.

Brandon Graham, Michigan defensive end: He’s not huge (6-2, 263) but he has a knack for getting in the backfield. He finished with 29.5 sacks and 56 tackles for loss in his career (including 10.5 sacks in 12 games as a senior).  He stood out at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., with five tackles, two sacks and forced a fumble, and was named the game’s MVP.

And if you don’t like any of those selections, how about this one: Our D. Orlando Ledbetter just posted his new mock draft and has the Falcons taking Florida center Maurice Pouncey. He makes a decent case, with Todd McClure nearing the end of his career. Your thoughts?


Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

113 comments Add your comment

coachx

March 5th, 2010
5:07 pm

Spoon and Graham are now the fan favorites if the D. Robinson signing happens.

coachx

March 5th, 2010
5:11 pm

The 3rd and 4th rounds is where Dimitroff will earn his money.

Hopefully we get compensatory picks at the end of the 3rd and 4th rounds for losing Foxworth and Boley in FA last year.

@DanWeiner

March 5th, 2010
5:12 pm

Kindle if he’s there, Spoon if he’s not, either way Falcons win.

1990_Champs_GT

March 5th, 2010
5:17 pm

If Robinson signs, my wish list in order:
1. Kindle
2. Graham
3. Weatherspoon
Still can’t say that my boy Bey Bey is worth #19. Top to mid second round? Absolutely!

1990_Champs_GT

March 5th, 2010
5:18 pm

Oh, and fifth!

jared

March 5th, 2010
5:18 pm

sign kampman and draft either kindle or witherspoon

Paulitik

March 5th, 2010
5:22 pm

I’d say Weatherspoon is the favorite, my wildcard pick would be Golden Tate.

country boy

March 5th, 2010
5:25 pm

Hello Jeffy boy !!!! I’m somewhat concerned about Falcons drafting based on last year. P. Jerry will be 27 before he takes his next NFL snap. TWENTY SEVEN and still really a rookie. Older than Jamal Anderson and Kenny Houston. Also William Moore was injured in college and guess what – hurt with Falcons. As good as the ‘08 draft was the ‘09 draft was just that bad with seemingly only C. Owens and maybe Sidbury as being future solid pros. Just my thoughts.

1990_Champs_GT

March 5th, 2010
5:25 pm

Read the Ledbetter post… I will be so pi$$ed off if they take center. WE NEED A PASS RUSHER!!!

coachx

March 5th, 2010
5:28 pm

I don’t really like Granham and Abraham playing together. Two 260 lb DEs teamed up with 2 DTs under 300 lbs is a bit light in the pants.

That being said…………Graham could be the replacement for Abraham in 2011.

Weatherspoon would have the biggest immediate impact. Abraham is injury prone and has trouble playing all 16 games and never playes more then 2/3 of the snaps. With Beerman, Sidbury and Graham we would have a lot of light in the pants pass rushing specialist but would be good insurance for the injury prone and aging Abe.

Weatherspoon fills our immediate needs more in my mind. We have a pretty slow LB core right now.Spoon will give us some speed and a play maker.

Either guy makes a lot of sense.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 5th, 2010
5:31 pm

Just about anybody but a center. Please.

JawjuhBoy

March 5th, 2010
5:32 pm

ESPN is reporting that five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers of the Carolina Panthers has agreed to a six-year, $72 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

oldfart

March 5th, 2010
5:34 pm

Weatherspoon, if available, big if. Bey Bey may drop to 19th due to the foot and would be hard to ignore, we can’t completely ignore that Roddy and Gonzales are the only consistently reliable receivers and it’s a passing league now.

coachx

March 5th, 2010
5:35 pm

Country Boy,
Jerry turns 26 in August.

Point taken though……………that is pretty old for a 2nd year guy.

dr. chris

March 5th, 2010
5:37 pm

i like kindle, if hes not there go after dunlap. dunlap is the next peppers. why not trade koenen to new england for their second round pick they recieved from k.c. for cassel? we could get bey bey with that, then draft a punter in the later rounds?

jim

March 5th, 2010
5:39 pm

Major props to the Falcons if they do indeed sign Dunta Robinson. It would really relieve some of the pressure re: the draft. I say, go offensive line or linebacker. Both are major needs for us.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 5th, 2010
5:43 pm

Where’s my man Pouncey??? You not feeling the “Magic” either?

FalconTransplant

March 5th, 2010
5:45 pm

I think it’s Spoon at the top of the list…..
Falcons list:

OLB Weatherspoon
OLB Kindle
DE Graham

If anything I’d like to see us trade up in the 2nd and get McCluster from ole Miss

I’d call it a successful draft if we get both OLB Weatherspoon & RB McCluster. That would be a playmaker on both sides of the ball and we can use the rest of the draft for depth.

FalconTransplant

March 5th, 2010
5:47 pm

Oh and McCluster returns K/O and Punts!

FalconTransplant

March 5th, 2010
5:48 pm

DLed must be smoking the “Magic”

oldfart

March 5th, 2010
5:51 pm

Sorry DLed, centers are hard to get worked up over and we have a good one. Too many other needs.

Eric

March 5th, 2010
5:53 pm

Dunta Robinson just signed a six year deal with the Falcons. This from Adam Schefter tweet!!!!!!

Marcus

March 5th, 2010
5:59 pm

yeah, I see either Kindle or ‘da Spoon, and us getting a bargain basement, developmental DE on day 2 or 3.

country boy

March 5th, 2010
6:01 pm

coachX you are correct. Guess the ‘ol country boy ran out of fingers and toes.

Marcus

March 5th, 2010
6:07 pm

My sleeper: TCU DE/LB Jerry Hughes. Former RB in HS (e.g. decent speed), projects as LB.

Joe Schmoe

March 5th, 2010
6:09 pm

Craig

March 5th, 2010
6:24 pm

Gotta go Kindle, Spoon or the best DE available. I am glad it will not be a CB. Can’t wait for fraft day fellas.

SirReal

March 5th, 2010
6:28 pm

LOL Jeff, there’s NO WAY they draft a center in the first round!!! I would be absolutely shocked and disappointed. The management would definitely drop a rung to me if they did.lol Don’t get me wrong, he is very good….but we have other needs to address ahead of that position at the moment.

One of the LBs could really help us at this point. We’ll see how it all comes together. At worst it looks like the team is establishing some real depth and talent for the next season. At best, we contend, knock the ‘AINTS off their well-deserved pedastal, and finally hoist one ourselves for a change! :)

Hawk n the Ham

March 5th, 2010
6:28 pm

Rennie Curran :)

MARTIN

March 5th, 2010
6:42 pm

Signing robinson, still not enough to stop the super bowl champs. The falcons are going to need more then that if they want to stop the number one offense. Keep trying guys, they just might get enough defenders to stop the saints, NOT.

ryan

March 5th, 2010
6:47 pm

I think now its going to be Spoon or Dunlap the Falcons could still try and trade up to get Spiller.

I got a great jump on the pitcher, but Bob Didier still threw me out by two steps

March 5th, 2010
6:52 pm

I really have nothing to contribute to the topic. I just wanted to pay homage to Bob Didier.

florida falcon

March 5th, 2010
6:55 pm

Hey what do you think about us trading our 1st pick for a bundle of later rounds, maybe a 2nd AND third? I love it because we know the Lights are on in Flowery Branch BUT here is the kicker, SOMEONE is home. Thank goodness, every year we seem to move from the dark ages! Vick, Petrino, Glanville, the Smith’s! Ya’ know what I mean!

Ted M

March 5th, 2010
6:55 pm

Taylor Mays for gods sake he’s 230 lbs and faster then Spiller

florida falcon

March 5th, 2010
6:57 pm

We are moving to the guilded age in Atlanta Falcons history!

SOGADOG

March 5th, 2010
7:09 pm

Your last article on UGA football was dead on.

Greg

March 5th, 2010
7:57 pm

Guys. WE NEED A DE! We need a pass rush from the front four. Desperately. Don’t be talking LB. We have to take Dunlap if he’s there. He will fill out to about 290lbs. and be a force off the edge for 10 years. The Birds high-character types will take him under their wings. He will be OK off the field. We need a pass rush as the final piece of the defensive puzzle, and I’m not talking about LBs blitzing. Dunlap, Dunlap, Dunlap, if you want the Falcons to compete right now.

chris

March 5th, 2010
8:07 pm

Draft Rennie Curran he will be good just like Weatherspoon

Dominic Hughes

March 5th, 2010
8:11 pm

D-Led didn’t want to take Alex Mack as high as 24th pick last year and now wants to take a center not fit to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mack with the 19th pick? I’m all for the Falcons taking a center (I wanted to take Mack last year – as it happens the Browns beat us to him with the 21st pick) but I think Pouncey would be about as big a reach as John Daly being named Surgeon General. I like the idea of Brandon Graham but have a feeling the Falcons will go OLB.

Deplane

March 5th, 2010
8:12 pm

Agree Taylor Mays would be a great pick…he’s a freak! But Kindle, Spoon or Graham wouldn’t upset me at all. Finish the D!

WL

March 5th, 2010
8:37 pm

FA Chike Okeafor from Arizona. Has a few good years left and good rushing OLB/DE. Then Witherspoon/Mays for OLB at #19.

athdog

March 5th, 2010
8:37 pm

Nice try, DOL, no way the Birds take a center with the #19 pick.

The Grinch

March 5th, 2010
8:49 pm

Love the FA signing but do NOT like the tendering of Norwood. He drops like he’s been shot when trying to run up the middle, and they won’t call screens for him which is the only way he’s worth much of anything at all. I would greatly prefer McCluster at his position.

But Robinson was a good move. No corner drafted at that spot would have helped nearly as much. I’d be happy with Spiller, Dunlap, ’spoon or Kindle at 19 if any are still there.

Mark

March 5th, 2010
9:04 pm

Spiller, Spiller, Spiller!!!! I’ve never worn or purchased a Falcon’s jersey but if the Falcons draft CJ I’ll be the first in line!

Whopper Dawg

March 5th, 2010
9:30 pm

Jeff, definitely hit the mark with the acquisition of a CB and the tendering of offers to the RBs, for the first round those positions are off the table.

I think the primary need would be DE. If one is not there, I wouldn’t mind moving back for more picks. Any idea on where our compensatory picks will shake out? We lost two starters and signed one.

Max

March 5th, 2010
9:35 pm

Any talk of the falcons having any interest in Joey porter?

Tailback U

March 5th, 2010
9:45 pm

I don’t think this totally rules out Spiller but let’s say
for now it does. There are good candidates to help the
defense available but I am very wary of picking Dunlap.
He could be a great pick but he is far from the safest
of all candidates. You look at him physically and he is
more impressive than Graham but note the difference in rep
and work ethic and tips the scale in favor of Graham.
Still like the Spoon man best here though if I were making
the call.

Tosin

March 5th, 2010
10:19 pm

Sergio is on the top of my list but, since hes probally going to be gone by the 19th pick, I like Graham because he can get to the QB and drop back into coverage and be a smart zone LB. I wouldn’t mind ‘Spoon either because he is very talented and can give the falcons a good yound LB.

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 5th, 2010
11:15 pm

Falcon Transplant, McCluster would be available in the 4th or even the 5th round

Jeff's stupid

March 5th, 2010
11:57 pm

Demaryius Thomas. Really? Did Paul Johnson send you a Valentine and ask you to help boost his guy’s profile. This is getting pathetic, Jeff. Nobody wants that guy. Do you not remember how the Georgia game ended? The Falcons don’t need nor want that. Go put on your PJ PJs and go to bed. No one wants to read this garbage anymore.