You’re on clock for Falcons (and why not Thomas?)

Why would the Falcons be scouting Demaryius Thomas unless they're interested in him? (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Why would the Falcons be scouting Demaryius Thomas unless they're interested in him? (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

I’ve looked at several NFL mock drafts and I have come to a stunning conclusion: Everybody is guessing. OK, maybe not so stunning.

But the same few names keep coming up around the Falcons’ pick at No. 19 overall. All are good players. All make sense in their own way. In a moment, I’ll list them and then you’ve got a chance to vote for which of the five you would prefer to see in  a Falcons’ uniform in 2010.

One name may surprise you: Demaryius Thomas.

A few weeks ago, I told you why I believe Thomas has a chance to become, not only a solid NFL receiver, but possibly the most impactful NFL player out of this Georgia Tech class. I’m including defensive end Derrick Morgan. That doesn’t mean Thomas is a better athlete than Morgan. But Thomas’ skill set at the position he plays translates perfectly for the NFL: He’s big, strong, tough, blocks, can catch and goes after the ball.

Now comes word that the Falcons attended Thomas‘ private workout for 10 NFL teams Sunday. The receiver is coming off a broken foot and was unable to go through drills at Tech’s “Pro Day.” So he arranged Sunday’s workout.

Which of the following five players would you draft for the Falcons?

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His draft stock has been going up recently but there’s a pretty good chance he will be available if the Falcons stay at 19. Most of the speculation has them taking a defensive player, possibly Michigan’s Brandon Graham or Missouri’s Sean Weatherspoon.

So why would they be scouting Thomas? Even if he slips to the second round (unlikely), the Falcons don’t have a second-round pick, unless they make a trade. There are only two logical conclusions: 1) The Falcons like him and they’re considering taking him in the first round; or 2) They want us to THINK they like him, continuing NFL general managers’ traditional pre-draft disinformation campaign.

I would’ve phoned Thomas Dimitroff today to ask him about No. 2. But it has sort of becoming a running joke between us at draft time and I promised I wouldn’t ask him again this year.

So here are the players (listed alphabetically, not by anybody’s rankings). Take a look and then weigh in with your comments and vote in our poll. On Thursday night, we’ll get some answers.

Brandon Graham, defensive end/outside linebacker, Michigan: He wouldn’t be huge at defensive end (6-2, 268) but he has been compared to Dwight Freeney and led the NCAA in tackles for loss. He also was MVP of the Senior Bowl with five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Jermaine Gresham, tight end, Oklahoma: You think, “immediate needs for Falcons,” and tight end probably doesn’t come to mind. That’s because they’re starting a future Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez. But there’s a possibility this could be Gonzalez’ final season, and tight end is an important position in Mike Mularkey’s offense. Gresham, who has had a private workout for the Falcons, was an All-American in 2008, with 66 receptions and 14 touchdowns. He did not play last season, recovering from a knee injury.

Maurkice Pouncey, center, Florida: I know. A center is the most un-sexy pick of the draft (nothing personal, Maurkice). But Todd McClure is nearing the end of his career and the offensive line hardly is set up for the future. (Case in point: Sam Baker.) Pouncey (6-5, 305) is physical and can play center or guard.

Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver, Georgia Tech: He would be a great second receiver behind Roddy White, and sets up a nice battle for the other spots between Harry Douglas (coming off a knee injury), Brian Finneran (ALWAYS coming off an injury), Michael Jenkins and Eric Weems.

Sean Weatherspoon, linebacker, Missouri: A classic outside linebacker who could fit in well in the Falcons’ defense. He also had a private workout in Flowery Branch, and the team could be looking at him as a replacement for Mike Peterson.

Today’s earlier posts

Jonathan Dwyer will overcome bad pre-draft rumor

Mettenberger saga shows Richt no longer soft on crime

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

122 comments Add your comment

Bat Masterson

April 19th, 2010
3:05 pm

Bat Masterson

April 19th, 2010
3:07 pm

I think the guys running the show will make a good decision, regardless.

Not Disappointed

April 19th, 2010
3:07 pm

Demaryius blocks like no one else business. He could be something special with the Falcons! Me likey alot Jeff!

Pi$$onaDAWG

April 19th, 2010
3:08 pm

I still think the Falcons trade down for more picks and save money on a 1st rounder. I like Bey Bey, but I think we need more players not 1 st rounders.

The Grinch

April 19th, 2010
3:09 pm

Any of them would be fine, but if we go o-line don’t you think we need a tackle worse than a C/G? When Samantha stubs her toe again, I sure as heck don’t want to see Svitek(sp?) out there playing matador.

jasont13

April 19th, 2010
3:09 pm

Funny how Schultz list, Harry Douglas (coming off and injury), Brian Finneran (Always coming off an injury). Schultie I’ll list it for you as well. Thomas (Coming off an injury). How can you mentione two guys who’ve played in the league that were injured and not mention Thomas in fact being injured himself. Falcon’s need a defensive player in the 1st round.

thebighairybeast

April 19th, 2010
3:19 pm

Come on Jason dont be a goober. Schultzie mentioned Thomas’ injury in the main article. Lighten up!

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 19th, 2010
3:22 pm

Pouncey, Gresham, Weatherspoon, Thomas in that order based on availablity. Great points on the departures of McClure (last year) and Gonzo (could be last year). Pouncey gets the nod cause he could help right away. The only way Thomas moves up is if we move Jenkins. We have got to get a replacement for Peterson. Statistically one of the worst OLB’s in the NFL. Any way of getting 4 picks in the first round?

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 19th, 2010
3:23 pm

availability, idiot

Reid Adair

April 19th, 2010
3:23 pm

If the Falcons were to trade down in the first round and pick up an early second-round pick in the process, I could see going after Demaryius Thomas with the second-round pick. I just don’t see them ignoring defense or even offensive line with that first pick, especially if they stay at No. 19.

Olik

April 19th, 2010
3:24 pm

Would love to trade down and pick up a second round, but assuming no trades, my order of preference would be:
1. Graham (will be a stud in pros)
2. Pouncey (agree we need o-line help, and love his versatility, but I’m ok if it’s a rd 3 pick of Tennant or Walton)
3. Weatherspoon (assuming there’s an OLB in rd 3 that can play)
4. Bey Bey (a good WR should be available in rd 4)
70. Gresham (a TE in round 1 is a luxury we can’t afford)

So…
Rd. 1: Graham
Rd. 3: best OLB
Rd. 3 compensatory: best C
Rd. 4: best WR

PaulieOldschool

April 19th, 2010
3:26 pm

As always, Jeff, well done. I like each of the 5 for different reasons. I also think Dez Bryant would be a good pick for us at 19, for many of the same reasons as Thomas. Nevertheless, I think that TD has a trade up his sleeve and we will see movement from the team in terms of picks Friday.

NO chance on BeyBey

April 19th, 2010
3:26 pm

Unless CJ Spiller falls to the Falcons at 19 (which isn’t happening), there’s no chance the Falcons take an offensive player at 19. If they really want Pouncey or BeyBey, they can easily trade down to get them (and possibly get a second round pick out of it).

Olik

April 19th, 2010
3:27 pm

Enter your comments here

Ramblinwreck83

April 19th, 2010
3:33 pm

I would also have to agree that a defensive player must be taken round 1. O-line help would be nice as well as another target for Matty Ice, but D needs to be top priority.

Dawgs2010

April 19th, 2010
3:37 pm

Need to focus on the lines. Forget about the skills positions this year.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

April 19th, 2010
3:41 pm

what are the chances of TD pulling one over on the mockers and drafting a player that is not on anyones mock board ?
oh I would be happy if it was Thomas I think he would be a huge help to the birds ,
be happy with pouncey
but I wouldn’t be surprised if the falcons don’t start picking until round 2 after a trade with somebody for two picks

Ree Roe

April 19th, 2010
3:44 pm

Jeff keep it real. If the Falcons take Pouncey, you & Mark will rip the organization to pieces. I know you probably put him up there b/c he’s been championed by our Falcons “beatwriter” in his mocks, but for the defensive problems this team has it would be a DUMB move to take a C with the 19th pick.

-REElated to Roe!!

dawgdawgdawg

April 19th, 2010
3:45 pm

No, we need someone that can actually catch….Thomas can’t seem to do that.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

April 19th, 2010
3:53 pm

I wouldn’t be taking a tight end in the first round, unless he was another Tony Gonzalez. The backup is pretty good and could start for some teams. Just don’t ever bring back Pollard.

Adidas...

April 19th, 2010
4:05 pm

Uhhh “scouting” Thomas …… He’s in the local area, so there’s no real expense to incurr by paying a visit to Tech..

Did you really say, “Sure Hands”?? 30 – 24 & he drops a perfect pass with no one within 5 yards of him…

Surreeee Handz!!

ugay outhouse morons

April 19th, 2010
4:06 pm

hahah dogpoop inbreds, Bay Bay going to the Falcons, too bad you have no input whatsoever

kelvin davis

April 19th, 2010
4:10 pm

I called that pick.. The Falcons will get Thomas or Bryant… They would love to add a defensive player but the draft is deep with that… And its obvious that Matt Ryan or Roddy White must of said something to Mike Smith or TD for them to be showing this much interest in an offensive player when defense is our number one concern… Dez Bryant would also be great if he fell to us at 19 but Thomas would be great for the Falcons… And he will be very good from the start.. Look at how much better Roddy White has gotten from when Bobby Petrino was the coach… Our offensive coaches definitely will help Thomas become a great player

wxwax

April 19th, 2010
4:12 pm

The Falcons are a team with big needs.

A wide receiver isn’t one of them, not with Douglas coming back.

They need a pass rush and better play on the o-line.

But given Dimitroff’s fetish for drafting injury-prone players, I bet he takes Gresham. :-)

82Dawg

April 19th, 2010
4:14 pm

ugay outhouse morons ……great just what the falcons need is another receiver who can’t hold to the ball when the game is on the line. Bring back memories to you?

wxwax

April 19th, 2010
4:14 pm

Adidas wrote: “Did you really say, “Sure Hands”?? 30 – 24 & he drops a perfect pass with no one within 5 yards of him…”

I agree. That was a terrible play in a big game and it makes me wonder about him.

HugoStiglitz

April 19th, 2010
4:15 pm

A passing attack with Matt, Roddy, Tony, and Bay Bay would be downright scary. Do it Falcons!

kelvin davis

April 19th, 2010
4:16 pm

Not that many memories… One we had Peerlice Price who was small and not worth everything we gave up for him and two Michael Jenkins is not big he’s just tall…

Pi$$onaDAWG

April 19th, 2010
4:19 pm

Thomas can’t catch in a non-passing Offence ,but he more catches and yards than AJ Green! How does that happen with that UGA Passing Machine in Athens?

Russ4Heisman

April 19th, 2010
4:20 pm

“In the flexbone, almost every pass is either a tunnel screen or a play-action pass, usually off a rollout. Thomas’ long receptions usually began with a play fake (often to Dwyer), with one or another wing backs drifting toward the sideline for an option pitch. All of this run action sucks up the secondary, sending safeties and corners toward the quarterback, Dwyer, and the pitch men. “Thomas usually starts his route by pretending to block a corner or safety, then runs a fly pattern. If the quarterback rolls to his side, Thomas twists into a corner route. The cornerback, worried about the option first, doesn’t have a chance.

It’s exciting, but the scheme does much more work than Thomas does.”

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/walkthrough/2010/walkthrough-drive-draftnik

kelvin davis

April 19th, 2010
4:20 pm

It doesn’t make me wonder about him… You make it seem like he’s the first player to ever drop a pass in a big game… It happens and you move on from it

Pi$$onaDAWG

April 19th, 2010
4:21 pm

Wait I know the answer! You QB likes to throw the ball to the other team as much as his onw team.

IceFan

April 19th, 2010
4:23 pm

Would not be surprised with anything at this point, but really hoping they trade down with the Pats for 22nd and a 2nd rounder. If we’re picking at 19 though, I like Weatherspoon.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

April 19th, 2010
4:23 pm

what about Douglas will he be recovered 100% do you think he will have the same explosion or will it take a year to play back into shape?

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

April 19th, 2010
4:24 pm

I almost through a brick at my screen when i noticed the name Peerless Price he was almost a Aundray , maybe he was an Aundray

jarvis

April 19th, 2010
4:25 pm

He has great hands in the clutch.

82Dawg

April 19th, 2010
4:25 pm

Pi$$onaDAWG…..you are right he was in a Offence that called its self an offense

mark

April 19th, 2010
4:25 pm

i think the falcons are going to trade down with the pats and get spoon and a second round pick
to get thomas

Spence

April 19th, 2010
4:25 pm

Get off Tech’s junk. Thomas is a system receiver that has about as much experience running real routes against CBs focused on stopping him as you do, Schultz. Maybe he is a gifted athlete (surely there are other 6′+ 4.4 receivers in the draft) but any team taking him before the third is getting a glorified high school player.

Chucktown38

April 19th, 2010
4:27 pm

This would be a good few pick-ups in the draft.
1st Morgan
Trade Norwood and Anderson for a Second round pick
2ND Washington from TCU
3rd Tenant from BC
3rd La Fells from LSU

kelvin davis

April 19th, 2010
4:28 pm

Ok so you wanna talk about system receivers… It don’t matter to me what system you play in cause you still have to catch the ball

Pi$$onaDAWG

April 19th, 2010
4:34 pm

Spence UGA played all season with a Glorified High School player at QB. Cox was great wasn’t he?

thunderbull56

April 19th, 2010
4:38 pm

Jeff for once, I wholeheartedly agree with you.We missed the boat bad enough not trading up to get Calvin.BTW was it JA we picked first in that draft.We are not nearly as loaded with playmakers as we want to believe.And I will repeat myself from one of DOL’ blogs.We could not get a sack of Pop Warner league footballs and a pair of used cleats for Norwood and Anderson combined.

Norm Van Brocklin

April 19th, 2010
4:42 pm

I’d take John Wayne from Apache U.

MSS

April 19th, 2010
4:54 pm

i’m happy with Spoon or Graham at 19

Paddy

April 19th, 2010
4:59 pm

Jeff, you have caused all of us to take pause. Nice going. I still think we should go defense!

mountain_jim

April 19th, 2010
5:00 pm

Those of you who think Pouncey will be available after a trade-down are going to be surprised at how early he goes, I predict. Possibly Pitt at 18. No way he makes it to the 2nd round.

BigTimeTECHFan

April 19th, 2010
5:07 pm

I’m Bey Bey fan but I like Decker from Minnisota. we could get Decker with one of our 3rd round picks, if he last that long?

Falcon Fan

April 19th, 2010
5:08 pm

Whatever TD does will be good

ER Steve

April 19th, 2010
5:11 pm

Don’t ever take a WR in the first round in my opinion. They are so often busts. I like our WR core for next year. We have our superstar and some interesting young talent in Douglas. Hopefully he has a good year. Defense or O-line in my opinion. I like Graham alot as long as he fits Smiths system