In February most all the mock drafts had the Falcons taking a cornerback. Then they signed Dunta Robinson, and the mocks moved on to Brandon Graham, the defensive end from Michigan. Now, with D-Day almost at hand, comes a new mock and a new name:
Mike Iupati, guard, Idaho.
That’s correct. On ESPN’s Insiders site, Todd McShay and Scouts Inc. now have the Falcons taking an offensive lineman. (Link requires registration.) And not the offensive lineman many have ticketed for Atlanta. McShay and Co. have Maurice Pouncey, the Florida center, going to Pittsburgh one pick ahead of the Falcons’.
What of Graham? Gone to Tennessee with the 16th overall pick, per McShay. What of Sean Weatherspoon, the Missouri linebacker some think would be a better pass-rushing upgrade than Graham and whom Don Banks of SI.com has the Falcons taking in Round 1? He’s not in McShay’s first round.
The other ESPN draft maven is the famous Mel Kiper, and he has the Falcons snagging Graham at No. 19. (Link requires registration.) He also has them taking wide receiver Andre Roberts from Citadel with their first pick in Round 3 and tight end Dorin Dickerson with their second Round 3 selection. And then, for good measure, he sees them drafting Iowa cornerback Amari Spievey in Round 4.
About Iupati: Scouts Inc. ranks him the No. 1 guard in the draft and the 16th-best prospect overall. (Link requires you know what.) The breakdown makes no mention of his capacity to play different O-line positions, which Thomas Dimitroff said last week is a key consideration for the Falcons. But Iupati is 6-foot-5 1/8 and 331 pounds, which is huge for a guard. So maybe he could swing to tackle.
And the key question: How do you pronounce his name? According to the Idaho Vandals’ Web site, it’s “e-U-pah-tee. “
And one thing more: According to ESPN The Magazine, you should have great faith in whatever Dimitroff decides to do. Aaron Schatz of Football Insiders rates the Falcons’ war room the NFL’s sixth-best. (Link requires yada yada yada.) Writes Schatz:
Head coach Mike Smith has plenty of input, but GM Thomas Dimitroff has pulled the strings since both arrived in 2008. So far, so good. Dimitroff’s first draft yielded QB Matt Ryan (Round 1), LT Sam Baker (Round 1) and 4-3 MLB Curtis Lofton (Round 2), setting up the team for years at three critical positions.