And he isn’t Brandon Pettigrew. He’s Tony Gonzalez, the 10-time Pro Bowler. Per esteemed AJC colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter, the Falcons have acquired Gonzalez from Kansas City for a second-round draft pick in 2010.
This does two things: First, it enables the Falcons to go hog-wild in the pursuit of defense over the weekend, and second, it pretty well cements the bond between Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his Kansas City counterpart Scott Pioli, who used to be Dimitroff’s boss in New England.
Me, I’d call it a win-win for the local club, which gets its tight end and still keeps all its picks in this draft. But maybe that’s just me.
I said I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it anyway. And you know why I did it? For you, Buzz readers! So you’ll be able to feel clever come Sunday afternoon when the Falcons take the legendary Fenuki Tupou and your friends say, “Never heard of him,” and you get to say, “Oh, yeah, I know him. Offensive tackle from Oregon. Has nimble feet and a strong punch.”
After a lifetime of resistance, I broke down and became an ESPN.com Insider. I did it to access Todd McShay’s seven-round mock draft. I did it because I feel strongly about you folks and your Need To Know. I did it also because I think there’s a chance I’ll get reimbursed by the ol’ AJC for my $39.95. (If not, we’ll pass the online hat.)
To save you guys $39.95, here’s who McShay — I like to think of him as the thinking man’s Mel Kiper Jr. — has the Falcons taking:
Now, how many of those selections do I expect McShay to nail? Maybe one. Obviously, after the Gonzalez trade, the Pettigrew pick is now null and void. But that’s what happens at draft time. Things change.
Also with my $39.95 comes access to Mel Kiper Jr.’s four-round mock. (Apparently nobody told Mel about Rounds 5, 6 and 7.) Like McShay, he had the Falcons taking Pettigrew in Round 1, but Kiper’s picks differ thereafter. In Round 2 he has them taking Sherrod Martin, a defensive back from Troy; in Round 3, Antoine Caldwell, a center from Alabama; in Round 4, Brandon Gibson, a wide receiver from Washington State.
And you know what? Even pre-Gonzalez, I didn’t get that progression at all. Three offensive players among the Falcons’ first four picks? Wasn’t happening. And absolutely won’t happen now.
The eight ESPN.com bloggers — one per division — did their collective mock, and NFC South correspondent Pat Yasinskas figures the Falcons will take Peria Jerry, a defensive tackle from Ole Miss, in Round 1.
Of the five NFL writers for CBSsports.com, Chad Reuter had Pettigrew going to the Falcons. Rob Rang and Michael Lombardi opt instead for the Missouri defensive tackle Evander (Ziggy) Hood, about whom Buzz has written already. Pete Prisco has them taking Darius Butler, a cornerback from Connecticut. Clark Judge goes with Larry English, a defensive end from Northern Illinois.
Of the four mock-drafters for NFL.com, three — Pat Kirwan, Charles Davis and esteemed former colleague Steve Wyche — had the Falcons taking Pettigrew. Jamie Dukes, who isn’t a former colleague but who is a former Falcon, goes with Malcolm Jenkins, a cornerback from Ohio State.
From deep inside the War Room at Sporting News comes the opinion that the Falcons will choose English.
And last but not least is Chris Steuber for FoxSports.com, who has the Falcons taking Vontae Davis, a cornerback from Illinois.
Pre-trade, that made eight votes for the Falcons taking Pettigrew, two for English, two for Ziggy, one for Jeria, one for Jenkins, one for Butler and one for Davis. That seemed a fairly heavy consensus for the 24th pick. But now the ol’ point is moot. Weird, huh?
After all the varying blather tracked by Buzz regarding the two Bulldogs these past seven months, a hard consensus has emerged. Stafford isn’t going to go No. 10 overall, as Don Banks forecast not so long ago. By unanimous vote of our 16 mocks, he’s going No. 1 to Detroit. (Given the reports that Stafford is close to a deal with the Lions, this wouldn’t exactly be Truman beating Dewey.)Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
But Mike Mayock of The NFL Network, speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, again counseled the Lions not to draft Stafford. (For the 100th time, the same Mayock famously championed Matt Ryan a year ago.)
As for Moreno: He isn’t dropping from Round 1 altogether, as Banks had it three weeks ago. Off the strength of our many mocks, Moreno figures to be taken somewhere around the 20th pick, with his most probable destination being Philadelphia at No. 21.
And Georgia Tech’s Michael Johnson? Uh, no such luck. Of the 16 mocks listed above, only two — Reuter’s and Dukes’ — place him in Round 1. Indeed, both McShay and Kiper have Johnson going after Mohamed Massaquoi, the Georgia wide receiver.
So that would make three Bulldogs being picked before any Jacket. Remind me again. Which team won when last they met?
Just kidding. You’ll recall that Ryan was the No. 3 pick overall in the 2008 draft. In Michael Silver’s ultimate draft for Yahoo! Sports, in which any player alive is fair game, Ryan would be the fourth player taken. He’d go after Larry Fitzgerald, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady — in other words, behind only two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and the greatest receiver since Jerry Rice.
Oddly enough, Glenn Dorsey didn’t make Silver’s first round.
I’ll be in Hall County doing the sitting-around-and-waiting-for-the-Falcons-to-pick thing, and I’m pleased to announce that I’ll share my sitting-around-and-waiting thoughts with y’all. We’ll get started around 3:30 p.m. Saturday — the draft begins at 4 — and we’ll kick things around until after the Falcons do something and I have to write (as opposed to live-blog).
Join me for all the fun and frolic that only an April afternoon in Flowery Branch can bring. And if things get dull, I’ll do my impressions of Dan Henning and Ken Herock. Talk about entertainment!