This just in: ESPN’s Mel Kiper likes the Falcons after all!

The man in the red sweater vest isn't used to getting C-minuses. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The man in the red sweater vest doesn't appreciate C-minuses. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

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.

113 comments Add your comment

jackets77

May 20th, 2010
12:22 pm

First??? for the first time ever??

Mark Bradley

May 20th, 2010
12:27 pm

Kudos, jackets77. Heartfelt kudos.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Shannon Moore. Shannon Moore said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Breaking news: ESPN's Mel Kiper likes the Atlanta Falcons after all! http://bit.ly/cZJ7OW [...]

clay

May 20th, 2010
12:30 pm

12-4. go falcons

Greg

May 20th, 2010
12:32 pm

Getting better by getting healthier has nothing to do with what we did in FA & the draft. I see no change, or inconsistency, in Mel’s opinion about the Falcons. We deserved the C-. We will, or should be, a lot better with Moore and Jerry and Brian Williams and Turner healthy. Robinson improves the weak secondary; Weatherspoon improves our only-average LB crew. Ryan should be better. But where does all this leave us vis-a-vis, say, the saints? On paper, not even close.

Bird Watcher

May 20th, 2010
12:34 pm

Mark,
I don’t think King and Kiper( sounds like a law firm) realize how back to back winning seasons for this franchise really was a step up. The Falcons never quit last year, even at the end when all they were playing for was pride. They got better in the offseason. If they can escape the injuries, why not the Falcons to do great things in 2010?

this aint dallas

May 20th, 2010
12:34 pm

this team will not win 10 games they play will lose 4 games in thier division alone sorry a$$ falcons now lets talk about a real team them cowboys

this aint dallas

May 20th, 2010
12:35 pm

Hey mark who will have the better recoerd cowboys or falcons be honest

south ga boy

May 20th, 2010
12:36 pm

Mark, at the risk of sounding like conspiricy guy with tin foil on my head, but I do think there is an east coast bias on, well, the east coast. The eagles, giants, jets, and patriots are 1/8 of the NFL but seem to get about 1/2 of the “pub” to sound old school. Peter king is at the heart of the storm (not a bad guy though) and can’t see the forest for the proverbial trees. He rates Miami high because his good friend Bill “speaks with forked tongue” parcells is down there now. A new York guy “well whattya know”. I take it all with a grain of salt. What’s your take mark

MightyQuinn

May 20th, 2010
12:36 pm

I would rather read you than Mel any day, MB. Mel has always struck me as a cross between a used car salesman and a tent revivalist, except with less credibility. But I was wondering what you were smoking when you picked the Hawks!

CJ

May 20th, 2010
12:38 pm

Mark, I’ve heard in various places that it is not expected that Peria Jerry be fully healthy this year. Have you heard this?

Mark Bradley

May 20th, 2010
12:38 pm

Why, thanks, MightyQuinn.

And you know what I was thinking when I picked the Hawks? Something like this: “They’re the No. 3 seed; Orlando’s the No. 2. Why not?”

I should note that the No. 4 seed leads Orlando 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.

SC Smith

May 20th, 2010
12:44 pm

The Falcons will be better. They didn’t have a bad offseason. Healthy players is the key to any teams wins & losses. Plus as bad as it seemed at times last year, they were only three made fieldgoals away from 12 wins, go back and check. Plus no one ever wins the NFC south two years in a row. The Saints schedule will be harder than last years.

npgator

May 20th, 2010
12:47 pm

Well if Mel Kiper likes the team then you may as well hand over the Lombardi trophy now.

leland

May 20th, 2010
12:49 pm

Dear Mr. MB–don’t worry about Mel Kiper. Jesus will take care of him when the time comes. Your pal, Leland

MightyQuinn

May 20th, 2010
12:51 pm

Excellent points, MB. Guess the Hawks made Orlando overconfident!

Gwood Brave

May 20th, 2010
12:53 pm

It’s all about the schedule and in 2009 it was awful for us Falcons fans! The 2010 schedule should be eaiser plus we will at least be healthy to begin the season.

Dr. Warren

May 20th, 2010
12:53 pm

I will add that the team who leads the No. 2 seed 2-0 won only 50 games, three worse than the Hawks, and got beat by those same Hawks 4 out of 4 times. Sports make no sense, which is why Kiper & King & MB & the rest of us are really just having fun when we make these predictions. (Though I must say, yours truly, Dr. Warren, picked the Hawks to win 53 this year and has an email he sent out to his friends to prove it).

Andy

May 20th, 2010
12:57 pm

I used to like Mel but he has started to get on my nerves over the past few years as he has been branded by ESPN as THE draft guru. He seems like a smart guy but in reality, he’s just another guy with an opinion. Contrats to him for turning it into a business and I hope he makes a lot of money but I don’t give his opinions that much weight.

PDK852

May 20th, 2010
12:57 pm

Uh, “this aint dallas” – how about some punctuation, d-bag? It doesn’t matter if your ‘Boys go 16-0 . . . they’ll still choke in the playoffs. Good luck with that.

Terrance X

May 20th, 2010
12:58 pm

Mel Kiper has never won a championship. And you can’t be great at anything unless you win the big one !

this aint dallas

May 20th, 2010
12:59 pm

@ mighty quinn stop kissin a

Birdman

May 20th, 2010
1:01 pm

I believe Mel’s assessment is better than King’s not simply becuase I am a Falcon Fan, but if you did any homework you would see this team has addressed its most major shortcoming (CB) and will get key players back and an easier schedule. We still have DE issues to be concerned about, but hope Dtroff knows what he is doing there.

One point on the 4 seed beating the 2 seed so why not the 3 seed beating the 2 seed? That 4 seed is staffed by mature professionals who may be long in the tooth but know when to step up their game, coached by someone who apparently knows how to get them to play their hearts out. That 3 seed is staffed by talented but young undisciplined types. Need a Tom Coughlin type for the Hawks to get this going forward.

this aint dallas

May 20th, 2010
1:02 pm

PDK852 Your a falcons fan i assume, so lets talk about how we completely whipped your boys in big D. Talking about choking you guys celebrate back to back winning seasons and we get mad if we dont win it all.Who standards are higher?

this aint dallas

May 20th, 2010
1:04 pm

falcons fans i can’t here ya. you scared

blackbee

May 20th, 2010
1:04 pm

The Falcons still have to make some moves to make the SUPER BOWL. They can do it but TD can’t try and make his draft look good by keeping certain players. The Falcons are not that far off, too many ????? injuries, they just have to let it all hang out and go for that ring in the front office and on the field.

The late Bob Irsay

May 20th, 2010
1:06 pm

Who the hell is Mel Kiper?

Mack

May 20th, 2010
1:09 pm

My prediction: 14-2 with “L” at NO and at home to GreenBay.

It took me close to three seasons (ignoring Coach of the Year honors) to finally believe in Coach Smith. If I am correct, in his tenure we have only been out of 2 games in the 4th quarter, last year vs. Dallas and Philly w/o RYAN and TURNER.

MightyQuinn

May 20th, 2010
1:24 pm

this ain’t Dallas took spelling and punctuation lessons from FALCONS SORRY. “Better to remain silent and have people wonder if you’re a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

brave bill

May 20th, 2010
1:27 pm

this ain’t dallas. that’s probadly the best comment anyone can give another city.

DALLAS DAWG

May 20th, 2010
1:29 pm

Dallas is better right now but I would love to play Dallas in playoffs with your playoff record we would very happy

PDK852

May 20th, 2010
1:40 pm

this ain’t dallas – that was a good one for your ‘Boys. Austin had a monster game as I recall, and the late punt return TD by Crayton was a killer. The Falcons were still in it well into the 4th quarter, so I’d hardly classify it as a “complete whipping.”

Dallas’ 1st-round exit in the ‘08 playoffs, on the other hand . . . now THAT was a complete whipping!

Peter

May 20th, 2010
1:41 pm

From a long time reader it seems so beneath you to care what all these other writers have to say…or for that matter give a nod to a nerd for watching a computer screen to proclaim “itself” first.

Zach

May 20th, 2010
1:46 pm

Mark,

I’m not sure how you personally feel about about Mel (and I’m not sure that you can say how you feel) but I’m not a big fan. First, I cannot stand this whole thing ESPN does with him and Tod McShay. Second, he’s too statty (i know this is not a word), and it seems to me that he’s lost the touch, if ever, he had. Does he watch college football? or does he just sit in his basement and look at stat sheets all day?

dutch bird

May 20th, 2010
1:48 pm

aint in dallas we may not beat dallas recoerd but we will beat their record

Don't Forget

May 20th, 2010
1:53 pm

Mark, don’t forget, in addition to thinking the Hawks would reach deep in their souls to beat the Magic because they play up to bigger opponents (I laugh about this every day), you also wrote this column.

http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2009/11/16/looking-ahead-to-tech-uga-heres-what-will-happen/

PDK852

May 20th, 2010
2:02 pm

Oops, my mistake – the complete whipping I was thinking of was actually last year’s 34-3 embarrassment of the ‘Boys at the hands of Minnesota. I guess Dallas just has so many early-round playoff losses that it’s hard to keep them all straight ;) Good thing y’all have such high standards, though . . . hahahahahahaha.

TXDawg

May 20th, 2010
2:05 pm

Has Tony Romo won a playoff game yet? Is Roy Williams really a #1 WR? Who’s your RB again? How old is your OL?

Everyone

May 20th, 2010
2:12 pm

How is it Mark Bradley has a job? On the rare occasion when he actually contributes to AJC.com, this is what we get? DLeds misspellings, inaccurate quotes, and grammatical errors are difficult to forgive. You would think a newspaper reporter would understand how to use a spell checker. But Bradley’s laziness is unforgivable. You’re on a sinking ship Bradley. One might think you’d at least make an effort to be an asset to the AJC.

PDK852

May 20th, 2010
2:12 pm

To be fair, TXDawg, Romo did finally get his first playoff victory last year in the wild card round . . . only to be followed by perhaps his most humiliating playoff defeat since flubbing the snap in Seattle back in ‘07.

cheshire

May 20th, 2010
2:13 pm

LOL – there’s something hilarious about a Dallas fan coming on to anyone else’s blog and trying to talk trash. it’s like a 10 year old girl walking into a biker bar and trying to start a fight.

Reid Adair

May 20th, 2010
2:14 pm

I’ve never put much credence in anything that Mel Kiper says, and I’m not going to start now.

Joey

May 20th, 2010
2:19 pm

Mark, I watch Mel Kiper on ESPN. I read Mel Kiper’s insider reports. Mel Kiper can’t carry Mark Bradley’s jock strap! (I mean, if you ever wear one)

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

May 20th, 2010
2:20 pm

Is there a more sickening person on earth than Jerry Jones?

No, Richard Simmons ain’t even close!

DaWg

May 20th, 2010
2:21 pm

Mr. Bradley, why should the Falcon’s Brass care what Kiper says. Kiper is an entertainer, nothing more, nothing less. We’re all in agreement on this, correct?

BigCaliDawg

May 20th, 2010
2:24 pm

We will be at least 9-7 this year, but only because our schedule is WAY easier than last season.

I believe the keys will be Michael Turner and Douglas(WR). Watching NFL replays leave me concerned over how often Matt went to Gonzales last year. He’s a nice target, but Roddy needs a sidekick on the other side to loosen up the pass D and free him up. After trading Robinson, the loss of Douglas was major, especially after “Crisco” Turner showed up lookin like a Luke Skywalker Video freak.

It’s good to see Turner back in shape.

I’m not overly concerned about the D and look forward to both Sidbury and the Beerman gettin’ loose.

Everyone is a DA

May 20th, 2010
2:53 pm

Everyone,

You don’t like Mark or the AJC don’t read it! Save your bitterness & hatred for your next Wal-Mart visit.

Dennis

May 20th, 2010
2:59 pm

OH NO! We’re doomed. Kiper never gets anything right.

Dennis

May 20th, 2010
3:04 pm

Hey this aint dallas… honestly, and for the recoerd (sic), did you finish high school? How’s that burger flippin’ job going?

TXDawg

May 20th, 2010
3:10 pm

Yeah I know PDK….I live here in the Dallas area and simply reiterating what many Cowboys fans state all the time…Dallas won’t win anything as long as Romo is the QB.