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.
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