Bradley’s Buzz: Kiper prescribes a pass rush for the Falcons

It’s Jan. 27. The NFL draft is April 22-24. (Yes, it’s three days this year, beginning with Round 1 on a Thursday night.) And Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN has already delivered not just a Rock 1 mock but possibilities for Rounds 2 and 3. (Link requires registration.) Mel, it’s fair to say, works hard at his job.

You probably know that Kiper has the Falcons taking Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle with the draft’s 19th pick. (Although it’s not yet clear if the Falcons will have the 19th pick. The NFL  will flip a coin to decide next month.) You’re also doubtless aware the Falcons don’t hold a Round 2 pick this season, having dealt it to Kansas City for Tony Gonzalez. But here, courtesy of Mel Jr., are names to watch for the Falcons’ Round 3 pick, which is 73rd overall:

  • Jason Worilds, defensive end, Virginia Tech.
  • Dominique Franks, cornerback, Oklahoma.
  • Syd’Quan Thompson, cornerback, California.
  • Eric Decker, wide receiver, Minnesota.
  • Darryl Washington, linebacker, TCU.
  • Garrett Graham, tight end, Wisconsin.

And here we have Mel’s rationale:

“The Falcons tied for 26th in the NFL in sacks in 2009, so anybody that gives them some help in getting to the quarterback is a good thing. Kindle is probably undersized as a pure 4-3 DE, but he can help in pass-rushing situations. Kindle could also convert to an upright. I think the Falcons would be thrilled if a guy like Griffen fell to them at No. 19. They could also use help at CB, and I actually think they should add some depth at the WR position, because as Matt Ryan enters his third year he’ll be able to do more — and more talent at receiver, or even an apprentice to Tony Gonzalez, wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

Me, I’d look hardest at Franks and Thompson, the latter in particular. He’s ranked eighth among cornerbacks and 83rd on Scouts Inc.’s Top 100 (link requires registration). Washington is ranked fourth among inside linebackers and 73rd overall, but I can’t see the Falcons taking linebackers with their first two picks. That’s if we assume they take Kindle in Round 1, as per Kiper.

But I’m not sure they will. Ideally, the Falcons would take a defensive end in Round 1, a cornerback in Round 3 and then probably an offensive lineman in Round 4. (That’s me guessing, by the way.) And you could get away with drafting Kindle if you played a 3-4 because an outside linebacker in that set is a key pass rusher, but the Falcons deploy a 4-3 and don’t blitz overmuch.

Again, that’s me guessing. And I’ve got nearly three months to change my mind.

114 comments Add your comment

Whopper Dawg

January 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

rhymes with smushschmortion

January 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

rhymes with smushschmortion

January 27th, 2010
5:16 pm

well done sir

WW

January 27th, 2010
5:16 pm

Mel Kiper Jr. is dumber than Mora.

Best CB available. Expect two CB to go down next season.

Do not let any of your CB go.

Herschel Talker

January 27th, 2010
5:18 pm

Who gives a crap who is first? Get a life.

Whopper Dawg

January 27th, 2010
5:18 pm

When you are hot, you are hot!!

Now, for my comments – Mark, I think the TD is counting on some fairly high value compensatory picks for losing Brookings and the CB. Do you think any could be as high as the second round? Brooking and the CB are and were both starters.

Whopper Dawg

January 27th, 2010
5:22 pm

Herschel Talker –

Since I am first, I do, and since you logged on and posted a comment only on who is first – YOU DO!!!

Mark Bradley

January 27th, 2010
5:25 pm

Don’t know where the compensatory picks will fall, Whopper Dawg, but you’re right about Brooking and Domonique Foxworth being starters for their new teams.

And kudos on being first.

rhymes with smushschmortion

January 27th, 2010
5:26 pm

The falcons have to get a pass rushing DE opposite of John Abraham to get some pressure on the qb because VanGorder only blitzes about 30% of the time (20th in the league) and relies on pressuring the qb with 4 lineman. Maybe Biermann or Sidbury can keep developing into that player.. I hope Peria Jerry returning from injury and lining up with Babineaux will give us a solid interior capable of getting to qb’s. The Giants super bowl team a few years ago had it right with a
dominate defensive line that covered up the holes in the secondary.

ATL Fan

January 27th, 2010
5:29 pm

Mark, any ideas regarding whether the Falcons will trade down for additional picks?

Mark Bradley

January 27th, 2010
5:30 pm

I don’t even think the Falcons will know about trading down for a while yet, ATL fan.

De' truth

January 27th, 2010
5:31 pm

I just don’t see how you can have a meaningful conversation about the draft when the Falcon’s position and number of picks is not known. But, what is known is that down at 19th or 20th who knows who will be available? So, take the best available regardless of the position he plays.

RomeDawg

January 27th, 2010
5:34 pm

I am worried Kindle is a pick based on potential and not results. He was a MONSTER player in high school but only slightly above average in college.

Mark Bradley

January 27th, 2010
5:38 pm

I’m thinking a defensive end is a greater need than an outside linebacker, RomeDawg. But Thomas Dimitroff might think otherwise.

Sonny Clusters

January 27th, 2010
5:38 pm

We was in high-level meetings today and missed all the baseball blogging which is our favorite blogging of all.

David

January 27th, 2010
5:40 pm

Don’t forget we will get some compensatory picks with losses to Foxworth and Brooking.

extremus

January 27th, 2010
5:41 pm

We all know that the signing of Tony Gonzalez changed the landscape as far as last year’s draft was concerned for the Falcons. These seem like good picks if things stay the same personnel-wise between now and Draft Day, but there are simply so many glaring needs that we saw this past season, it’s hard to assume Dimitroff will stand pat for that long. Any ideas for possible trades or free agent signings which could potentially take these draft projetions back to the drawing board, Mr. Bradley?

Mark Bradley

January 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

Well, Mr. Clusters, you’re free to catch up. Here’s something about John Smoltz perhaps rejoining his little buddy Jeff in New York.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

January 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

Mark — What if C.J. Spiller is still available? Surely you wouldn’t pass up a such a talent?

TXDawg

January 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

I’m getting closer and closer to first every day! Kindle…potential…no results?? Don’t you want a player continuing upward coming out of college? Or do you want someone who’s already maxed out?
Kindle is still a beast and he surely proved as much against Alabama in the MNC.

headmofo

January 27th, 2010
5:43 pm

Defensive End or Corner are our only options in the first round.

TD needs to try to trade down in the first round and pick up a second round player for us to round out our needs. If we are able to move down we can’t lose in this draft. After Haden none of the other corners have separated themselves from the pack. If we are unable to move down we will probably go after a big name Defensive End or Corner to help us win now.

Mark Bradley

January 27th, 2010
5:45 pm

Is Spiller an upgrade on Jerious Norwood? Just asking, mind you.

THEproATL

January 27th, 2010
5:45 pm

I think there will be someone at 19th or 20th who can help the Falcons IMMEDIATELY!!! Some mock drafts have Taylor Mays from USC falling to the Falcons at that pick…In TD we trust!!!

WillieTaylor

January 27th, 2010
5:46 pm

Enter your comments here

David

January 27th, 2010
5:47 pm

I forgot about Boley and Grady Jackson. I would like to see us strengthen one of the three areas on defense. Let’s get strong at LB, DL, or secondary. Pick one and load up in that area. Right now none are a strength.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

January 27th, 2010
5:49 pm

He’s definitely an upgrade on Norwood. Norwood is so weak in the lower body that it doesn’t take much to bring him down. Just the opposite for Spiller. Can juke you out of your shoes or eun over you. Plus, a great return man.

Mark Bradley

January 27th, 2010
5:49 pm

I’ve seen reports that Mays hasn’t been impressive at the Senior Bowl, THEproATL.

Paddy

January 27th, 2010
5:50 pm

Mel Kiper gets more out of this inexact science than any man alive. He is a great read but bugs the poop out of me on TV. Maybe if he changed that 60’s haircut or stopped to breath like most humans. Nonetheless, I like his stuff!

I like us to take a DE.

mowreck

January 27th, 2010
5:53 pm

Well, I hope the compensatory picks or at least one of them comes in the 2nd round.

Mitun

January 27th, 2010
5:54 pm

I think we should get Kindle or Patrick Robinson if avaliablewith the first round pick. I hope that we could get a second rounder through a trade maybe. for the 3rd rounder get Riley Cooper or Aaron Hernendez.

Stirg d'Nahsif

January 27th, 2010
5:54 pm

People, people, people! Step away from the desire of drafting a defensive end (unless Derrick Morgan is available to us; which I doubt). There’s not one defensive end, including Morgan, that will come out of college and make an impact as bonafide pass rusher. The key to a successful pass rush is a strong push up the middle. When an offensive line can double or triple team the defensive tackles, it allows the ends to rush on a one-on-one matchup. Abraham, Biermann, Sidbury and (sadly) Anderson are all (over)capable of doing what any rookie defensive end can do. Defensive End is one position that takes, at least, three years to develop. We have our defensive ends; We just need a push up the middle (I would suggest free agency, e.g., Vince Wilfork).

I say we aggressively go after Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour (both recruited by Thomas D.). That would give us the most feared defensive line in all of football: Wilfork, Seymour, Abraham, Jerry, Babs, Sidbury, Biermann and Anderson. With that lineup, I don’t care who plays cornerback; Receivers would never see the ball, with that pass rush. Also, with that lineup, we can draft a true left tackle (move Baker to his natural position at right tackle) and go after late rounders, like Witherspoon or Norwood. Case closed.

Mark Bradley

January 27th, 2010
5:56 pm

Mel’s an easy target, Paddy, probably because he has no sense of humor. But he knows the draft.

cosmos

January 27th, 2010
5:58 pm

If Spiller is available at 19 or 20 when the Falcons draft, then I would take him. Norwood is NOT durable. He spends a lot of time on the DL. Plus Spiller is a hard runner between the tackles. I also like the linebacker from Ala and the O tackle at Iowa or is it Iowa St.

Speark of Truth!!

January 27th, 2010
6:05 pm

The falcons have more holes than can be honestly filled in one draft…It they were smare that would trade there first round pick and attempt to add multiple picks in later rounds to help….

David

January 27th, 2010
6:09 pm

If there is a resolution to the collective bargaining agreement you won’t have to decide if Norwood is better because he will leave as an UFA. With Snelling showing that he can relieve Turner you need a change of pace back but I would not waste a high pick on that unless it was Spiller. Keep in mind this will be Turner’s third year and that will be his seventh albeit he is fresh from backing LT. Spiller also can return KO’s.

GT GRAD

January 27th, 2010
6:11 pm

We should get comp. picks for Foxworth, Boley and Grady. I expect one in the 3rd or 4th round and two in the 5th round.

We would have been eligible for a comp. pick for Brooking as well (it would have been the highest possible for the four players; probably a 2nd round pick) if the Falcons had not signed Peterson to replace Brooking………….NFL teams only get comp. picks if they lose productive players in free agency and do not replace them with comparable players during the free agency process. I think it was a mistake signing Peterson; I realize he made a few high profiles plays early in the season, but he is much slower than Brooking and he was not very productive throughout the entire season. The birds would have been better off in the long run playing the young linebackers on the roster and benefiting from the comp. pick for losing Brooking!!

Ross

January 27th, 2010
6:11 pm

I would make it a general principle to avoid people from Thug Tech (VT). I don’t care how skilled they are athletically, that program is character poison. Whoever they draft, character and smarts should be the highest priorities. Football hinges on intangibles and good character rises to the occasion more often than raw skill. There are plenty of excellent athletes who are also good young men, and smart.

UpperDeck4Life

January 27th, 2010
6:12 pm

Mark, what do you think are the chances the team takes Idaho guard Iupati in the first? 19 or 20 seems a little high, only because guards don’t get drafted high, but he seems like a prospect that can’t be passed up. McShay raves about him and says he is the best guard prospect in a couple of drafts. I know the bigger need is DE, but trading down to get a second to take a DE there and take Iupti in the mid 20s seems like a great move.

Benjamin

January 27th, 2010
6:19 pm

Having seen Eric Decker live (twice), and watched him on television several times more, I’d be somewhat surprised if the man is still on the board by the time our third round pick rolls around.

And, regardless of need, if we don’t draft him by that point, I’ll be disappointed.

Decker’s a beast.

wxwax

January 27th, 2010
6:32 pm

Just please, Thomas, don’t draft any more injury-prone players. The Falcons have their quota from lat year’s draft.

collegeballfan

January 27th, 2010
6:34 pm

I am thinking pass rushing defensive end. Nothing improves a defensive backfield like a good pass rush. And Abraham is getting on in years and there is no other pass rusher on the DL.

cdog

January 27th, 2010
6:34 pm

mark, whats your take on the falcons drafting a wide reciever first ? we need one opposite roddy white for the offense to be really explosive.

Ric Flair

January 27th, 2010
6:39 pm

“Ladies………….you can’t be first, but you can be next”

Hillbilly Deluxe

January 27th, 2010
6:39 pm

It’s a pain to not be able to flip back and forth between your column and Jeff’s because the Western Union pop-up blocks the drop down menu.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

January 27th, 2010
6:41 pm

If you saw the Falcons this past season, you know the defense needs lots of help. Your guess about de,cb, then offense lineman sounds about right to me. Spillers is next years’ Percy Harvin. Book it.

DZ

January 27th, 2010
6:46 pm

I don’t think Kiper saw too many Falcons games this past season. They need CB #1.

//

Sonny Clusters

January 27th, 2010
6:51 pm

When we read that about Smoltz going to New York with Jeff we was wondering if they will be roomies on the road and if Jeff is going to go bald like Smoltz. We was also thinking facing them both on the same day might be a real advantage for the Braves.

jellybeandawg

January 27th, 2010
6:51 pm

I don’t think the Falcons will be able help the defense from the draft because none of the available 19th defensive draft picks will be ready to start next year and they need IMMEDIATE help. They should look to shore up the defense through free agency and draft a backup for Norwood.

Keith

January 27th, 2010
6:58 pm

Count on it the Falcons will make a trade to get into the second round. Norwood will be the trade bait…We have to have another LB and CB in the 1st. and 2nd. rounds..

robertussen

January 27th, 2010
7:02 pm

dz its team d. the opposing qbs had all day to find a wr against the falcons. if they feel the pass rush it makes our cbs better. so i agree that de is our #1 need. and add another cb thorough free agency would be the way to go.