When last the famous Mel Kiper assessed the Falcons, he handed them a C-minus for their work, or the lack thereof, in the 2010 NFL draft. Be advised that his gentleman’s C-minus was the second-worst grade the ESPN.com analyst gave any NFL team. Be also advised that some of those who work at 4400 Falcon Parkway in Flowery Branch were not amused.
Today’s lesson: Just as the Mel Man can taketh away, he can also giveth. On Wednesday he credited the Falcons as a team that has had one of the best offseasons. (Link requires registration.) He mentioned five other clubs: Detroit, Miami, Baltimore, Seattle and the Jets, none of which had previously been slapped with a C-minus for their draft.
Regarding the Falcons, here’s Mel’s rationale:
This is sort of off the usual path, but if you factor in simply getting better by getting healthy, Atlanta did really well. Matt Ryan and Michael Turner should be back to full health, and Atlanta improves its defense by getting a healthy first-round pick from last year back in the fold, with Peria Jerry. They add a first-round pick at linebacker in Sean Weatherspoon, and then a free-agent corner in Dunta Robinson.
To which we say: Well, yeah. The belief here is the team that had much go wrong and still finished 9-7 in 2009 could have an awful lot go right this fall. That belief is why Peter King’s assessment of the Falcons as the NFL’s 16th-best team in his SI.com power rankings seemed a case of gross underrating.
Then again, I’m also the guy who picked the Hawks over the Magic. So pay no attention to anything I write.