Draft day: Falcon options; Berry rips Deion; Tebow to Vikes?

So when a player gets picked, does he parachute down off the roof? (AP photo)

So when a player gets picked, does he parachute down off the roof?

Good morning. It’s day one of three of the NFL draft and I’m still working on my Round 4 mock for Saturday morning. So stay tuned!

Seriously, I remember when they used to do this thing all in one day. At the risk of sounding like the old guy on the front page, screaming every time a car with New York plates drives by, I liked that better. For one thing, we wouldn’t have to wait until possibly 10:40 p.m. before the Falcons make their first selection.

So here’s how it’s going to work today. I’m not in New York, I’m not embedded in anybody’s “war room” and I certainly don’t have Bill Polian on the hotline. But I’ll keep you up to date as best I can on things going on throughout the day and we’ll go live with a blog during the first round. Then when the Falcons trade their No. 1 pick 15 minutes before I have to post a column, I will run head first into the nearest wall.

As of now, here are five hot button topics that I figured would be of some interest to you:

FALCONS PICK: I believe our Darryl Ledbetter had things pegged correctly when he listed five potential Falcons draft picks: Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham, Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Those are the same five names I threw out to you to you in a poll earlier this week. After nearly 1,400 votes, you ranked them in this order: Graham (33 percent), Weatherspoon (28), Thomas (22), Pouncey (14), Gresham (3). I would tend to agree, although I have a slight problem with Graham’s height (6-foot-1) for a starting DE and would probably list him behind Weatherspoon.

Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon would fit in nicely on the Falcons' defense.

Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon would help the Falcons' defense.

This much I do know: As Thomas Dimitroff has said multiple times in the past two weeks, the board is wide open. They don’t feel the need to focus on just one side of the ball or the other. When Dimitroff came in, he determined the 2008 draft would be offense heavy and last year’s would be defense.

Here’s a nugget you may not be aware of: Even if the Falcons passed on Matt Ryan and drafted LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with their first pick two years ago — as so many people wanted, including me — they were focused on taking Michigan quarterback Chad Henne (now of the Miami Dolphins) with their next pick. So either way, the quarterback position was going to be settled in Dimitroff’s first draft.

So one more time: Do you have any preferences on the Falcons’ first pick?

ROETHLISBERGER UPDATE: The suspension of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown a wild card into the top 10 picks. I say top 10 because that’s reportedly what the Steelers want as part of a trade. For what it’s worth, I don’t think 31 out of 32 teams would even consider trading their two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in a case like this. But Pittsburgh is different — both the city and the franchise. If the Steelers can get a deal they like, he’s gone.

Former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards criticized Pittsburgh for being open to a deal, telling ESPN radio: “As a coach and a guy who’s been in this league for 30 years, and understands about protecting the shield, I agree with the commissioner about suspending Ben. But what I don’t get is rumors about Ben being traded. … We preach the team is a family. When your son gets a DUI and wrecks the car, do you take him to the adoption agency and say you don’t want him as your son anymore?”

Tim Tebow is going to have to wait a lot longer than Ndamukong Suh to get drafted.

Tim Tebow will wait a lot longer than Ndamukong Suh to get drafted.

OK, Herm: You lost me there. You’re right: We don’t trade our kids after DUIs. But we also don’t draft them, release them when they’re 37 and sign them to multi-million contracts. Lame analogy, dude.

TIM TEBOW: He opted not to go to New York for the draft. Smart decision. While Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft has Tebow going in the first round to the Minnesota Vikings — really? –  there’s a chance he may be sitting in the waiting room until the third on Friday. Of course, Tebow being Tebow, he said this was more about staying home with family. But if he was a solid No. 1 pick, I don’t think there’s any question he would be at Radio City Music Hall. “It would have been exciting to be [in New York] and hold your jersey up with the commissioner. That’s always something every athlete wants to do,” he said. “That would have been really special. But it’s going to be really special being at home. Being with my family, my friends, my best friends, my high school teammates, people like that that I know couldn’t make their way up here, that I wanted to be able to spend this moment with. That’s what it’s truly about for me.”

Good news, Dog fans: Eric Berry is out of the SEC.

Good news, Dog fans: Eric Berry is out of the SEC.

BERRY RIPS DEION: Former Creekside High School and Tennessee star Eric Berry, who could go as early as fifth, took a nice swipe at Deion Sanders this week. Berry said he wasn’t interested in speaking to Sanders at an “NFL Play 60″ function (a campaign to tackle childhood obestity) earlier in the week. Why? Because Sanders refused to give him an autograph when he was in high school. Some of you may think that’s childish. I think it’s kind of funny. It also reaffirms how long incidents like that can stay with people. Berry: “I just try to make sure that if someone comes up to me, whether it’s for an autograph or a handshake — because I’ve been shot down before like I told you — I don’t want nobody to feel like that. … That’s why I try to make sure I give back. To make sure that I treat them with respect. To make sure I remind myself that they are looking up to me and really want to meet me, so I’m going to treat them like they should be treated.” I like this kid.

MORGAN TO BROWNS? The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that if the Browns can’t draft Berry, their fallback choice is Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan. The only potential problem is that while Morgan is projected as the best 4-3 defensive end in the draft, he might have to be converted to an outside linebacker in the Browns’ 3-4 scheme.

OK, there’s your warm-up. I’ll check back later.

Earlier posts

Even with loss, Braves show they’re not going away

Live blog: Braves go for two over Phillies (and maybe a sign)

Goodell had no choice but to suspend Roethlisberger

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

149 comments Add your comment

Heath

April 22nd, 2010
10:54 am

Get over yourself, Eric. Move on.

Me

April 22nd, 2010
10:59 am

Good for you Eric. Enough with these self absorbed prima donnas.

mike

April 22nd, 2010
11:01 am

waaaa, waaaa eric berry didnt get an autograph from deion.. what a freakin cry baby.. my money is on eric berry never putting up deion numbers

Heath

April 22nd, 2010
11:01 am

Got to go with Weatherspoon. You can never have enough defense.

WK

April 22nd, 2010
11:03 am

Oh, so close to first. Falcons draft Rennie Curran.

@ReanuKeeves

April 22nd, 2010
11:06 am

Good for Eric Barry. Go Falcons

What?

April 22nd, 2010
11:06 am

Is that a picture of Berry tackling? That is something Deion couldn’t do.

DK

April 22nd, 2010
11:07 am

Beware, the toes you step on today may be attached to the a$$ you have to kiss tomorrow. I don’t think he’s being a crybaby. He’s giving back what he got.

NCFalconFan

April 22nd, 2010
11:09 am

Your thoughts on Pierre-Paul? I see Jamaal Anderson #2 written all over him!! Did Falcons show much interest?

Bub

April 22nd, 2010
11:16 am

Eric Berry makes.. me-on… look very small. On and off the field. Good Luck E.B. Hope u dont go to cleveland.

EW

April 22nd, 2010
11:19 am

What Berry is really saying is that he doesn’t want to open the door for Deion the mentor to try to show him the ropes.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

April 22nd, 2010
11:20 am

so it might be over two hours after the start of the draft before the birds pick (or trade) . I guess I can watch supernatural while waiting on them make the move.didn’t they reduce the time allowed for a pick in the first round a few years ago

Bryan G.

April 22nd, 2010
11:26 am

That actually just moved Eric Berry WAY up in my opinion. (Although I’m not anti-Deion). That’s hilarious.

OMG

April 22nd, 2010
11:27 am

Can’t believe anyone would be surprised that a family oriented Sport would want to depart with a more than likely rapist that simply is not getting charged because of lack of evidence! Our legal system sometimes makes it difficult to put criminals behind bars and rich criminals more so than others (See Simpson, Lewis, etc.). I would take a top 20 pick and cash or other draft picks to rid myself of the horrible character individual.

F-105 Thunderchief

April 22nd, 2010
11:29 am

Ha! Neon Deion peed on. And, deservedly so.

Ms. KP

April 22nd, 2010
11:31 am

Deion was a loud mouth, self absorbed, geri curl wearing show boat. Heath and Mike what round are you projected to go in? He should have refused if that was his choice but I would have kept my reasoning to myself, especially with people always over analyzing intent.

lazydawg

April 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

I’m a UGA fan,but I have to give Berry credit(class act).Dieon is an A$$ who lives in the past,keep living the dream of your greatness neion.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

April 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

Hats off to Eric Berry.

THE PAST CAN DICTATE THE FUTURE

April 22nd, 2010
11:38 am

This goes to show you that everything you do is being recorded… in mind or on film. I am sure, just like everyone else that grew up in GA, that DEION was an idle of theirs and to get told NO to an autograph once you meet that person can sting… I would have went on the interview and spilled the beans there instead though….

DScottGT91

April 22nd, 2010
11:39 am

Deion Sanders is no doubt a prima donna, a bit of a poser as far as his on-his-sleeve Christianity……… and the best cover corner of all time.

Eric

April 22nd, 2010
11:43 am

Deionica Sanders has been an arrogant jerk since he learned to walk. I wouldn’t even want his chicken scratching. Good for Berry! Hershel Walker did the same thing to me in the Minneapolis Airport. He’s a jerk too.

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

April 22nd, 2010
11:47 am

Wish we had a shot at Berry.

ELVISINTHEHOUSE.

April 22nd, 2010
11:49 am

OMG thats true,it did not happen to there mom or sister so its ok.They would rather translate rapistberger non-evidence into praise and be more concerned about his football career winning superbowls than the crime this man did.You would not dare here what a discrace this man is from schultz and company.Ill trade that pervert in a heart beat! taking advantage of under-age GIRLS not even old enough to purchase beverages.That poor girls father must have been paid off for him not to be on the news for ringing rapistberger’s neck.

Richham

April 22nd, 2010
11:49 am

I bet Berry changes his tune after he signs the first million autographs. The star players could sign autographs all day with all the fans that line up.

It really shouldn’t have come to his surprise that “neon” deion didn’t sign an autograph. He was too “pretty” to be bothered with it. He was good, but what a prima dona.

Alan

April 22nd, 2010
11:50 am

Deion is one of the few cb’s that would run in the other direction if a RB,TE or receiver needed to be tackled.

Supes

April 22nd, 2010
11:50 am

Darn Jeff, did you have to put up that pic of Berry smacking around poor ole joe cox? I guess as a UGA fan it hurts to see that, he played some great games against UGA. However, the young man is a class act, and will prove himself to be a capable impact player in the NFL. He may never have the HOF career that loud mouth D. Sanders had, but he’ll do it the right way. I wish him all the best.

Good for Tebow to skip on going to the draft in NYC…after the Brady Quinn debacle, all QB’s should learn from it.

Falcons, I sincerely hope they trade down and acquire a 2nd round pick. This draft is too deep not to have a 2nd rounder, TD and MS should do that, especially if the player they want is no longer there.

ron the man

April 22nd, 2010
11:57 am

Eric Berry just might be the supernatural safety/corner that TD has always said he would like to bring to the falcons. To give us a Bob Sanders or Troy Polomoula like player on defense. The price would probably be too high to move up, but you never know?????

jg

April 22nd, 2010
11:59 am

that’s great to hear–deion was a great corner no doubt–but as i’ve said before–we could win three to five games with him or without him.

berry’s not the only one sanders blew off for interview–happened to me and my family a few times as well–however tim mckyer took the time to talk to us for about an hour one day in suwanee, as did jeff george in st. louis prior to a thursday night game vs rams and eric dickerson and chris miller had plenty of time to talk to some fans…

i understand that sanders is the much bigger star–or atleast in his opinion–but some people don’t appreciate his antics.

ELVISINTHEHOUSE.

April 22nd, 2010
12:02 pm

Say what yall want about deion,he was and still is the best CB to play the game.Crybaby berry,the best way to handle the situation is to have talked to deion and asked him why than to be simple minded that you didn’t get a autograph.Listen at how you sound as a suppose to be adult holding grudges from the past.I would hate to be the one who coach you because it sounds like to me if things don’t go your way with whatever team selects you,your gonna fall to the ground and cry like a baby.Get rid of the insecurity dude.

jeffrey d

April 22nd, 2010
12:09 pm

I hope Joe Cox will slip to the Falcons

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 22nd, 2010
12:11 pm

ELVISINTHEHOUSE, you’re a douchebag jock sniffer.

Eric Berry

April 22nd, 2010
12:13 pm

This Is Revenge, We Call This Mutha Revenge
This Is Revenge, We Call This Mutha Revenge

Ya Best Not Be Talkin’ To Me, Not With Those Words You Said.
I Guess I’ll Have to Accept Your Invitation To Toast You Upside Your Head

You’re Puttin’ Up A Front, I’m Gonna Tear It Down
Had Enuff Of Your Sorry Azz ‘Tude, I Don’t Trip On No Stare Me Down

Maybe I’ll Just Blast, Maybe I’ll Just Throw
Maybe I’ll Lay Down Somethin’ Special, But Believe Me You’re Gonna Know

This Is Revenge, We Call This Mutha Revenge
This Is Revenge, We Call This Mutha Revenge

waynester

April 22nd, 2010
12:13 pm

Herm Edwards just equated driving buzzed with RAPE? God help the man if karma exists. Team as family? Fine. Even if it was your brother treating women like this you oughta be even MORE enraged at his sorry a$$ for showing the “family” in such a horrible light. I already disliked Herm, now I loathe him. He’s an enabler for the sorriness that’s become rampant in pro sports–a sense of entilement brought on by wealth and undeserved adoration. The only reason R’berger isn’t facing jail right now is the VICTIM’s family doesn’t want her on TMZ, E!,ESPN,CNN ad nauseum like every other woman that gets abused by a “celebrity”.It ought to infuriate us all…..

MB

April 22nd, 2010
12:16 pm

Eric Berry is a class act…kudos to his parents for raising him right. If you click on the link, you’ll see he’s already working to improve the little league facilities where he played as a kid, and his key statement (to me at least) is that he plans to treat the fans the way they should be treated, with respect. His “diss” of Deion will get more attention, but the rationale behind his actions are what is important here.

As for Herm Edwards comments, what we don’t know is how many times the Rooney’s have already had a come-to-Jesus meeting with Ben…after all, this isn’t his first “transgression.” IF they end up trading him, I’ll give them full credit for being more about what their organization stands for than coddling a talented but borderline sociopath.

Finally, on the draft…I just don’t get it. How this thing has turned into a three-day event, and why anybody would watch it, is beyond me.

Eric Berry

April 22nd, 2010
12:20 pm

You better watch how you direct your hate
Or you’ll receive part of my natural trait
Before you send off, you just better wait
Cause I aint got time not to retaliate

Ooooh…ooooooh…I’ll hate you better

I’m not trying to threaten or to deceive
I’m just enlightening you so you wont be naive
I’ll tell you one thing that you better believe
My hate is better to give than to receive

I’ll hate you better

Marie

April 22nd, 2010
12:22 pm

Eric Berry, nice job! Good luck to you.

Reid Adair

April 22nd, 2010
12:24 pm

That sounds nice and all now, Jeff, but let’s see if Eric Berry keeps that attitude in the NFL.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:24 pm

Love the fact the first two comments are in complete disagreement.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:24 pm

Heath — Agree.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:25 pm

WK — Curran’s not going in the first round.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:26 pm

NC Falcon Fan — Never seen him play but everything I’ve read is he’s an athletic beast. Wasn’t originally expected to go so early, but he’s been so great in workouts, etc., now that most expect him to be gone in top 15.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:27 pm

Eric — Deonica. Funny. (As long as it’s also not a shot at Danica.)

Jeff

April 22nd, 2010
12:28 pm

The Falcons might not pick until 10:40PM correct? not 9:40 as you wrote.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:28 pm

Mr. Turnip-Green — No kidding. But there’s no way Falcons could/would offer enough in trade to get up that high in the draft.

ELVISINTHEHOUSE.

April 22nd, 2010
12:30 pm

RAMBLE ON,and your just GAY!!!

lazydawg

April 22nd, 2010
12:31 pm

Please Mr.Blank don’t put Dieon in the ring of honor,he did not build the GA Dome the fans did, and all he was there for was a check.

Halberstram

April 22nd, 2010
12:31 pm

Wow that sounds like a bad decision by the Browns. Take a player regardless of if he fits into your scheme.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:32 pm

Supes — I just looked in archives for a good Eric Berry photo and that was one of first I saw. Sorry to you (and Dognation). … Trading down wouldn’t shock me with Falcons at all, if none of the players they’re looking at for 19th pick is there. Of course, then they would have to find a team that WANTS the 19th pick.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:33 pm

Jeffrey D — He’ll slip to them — and past them.

Jeff Schultz

April 22nd, 2010
12:33 pm

EB — Thanks for checking in.