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.)
(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?