Posted: 8:33 am Thursday, January 9th, 2014

NFL Draft pool shaping up well for Falcons 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Greg Robinson; auburn tigers; nfl draft

Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson has opted to enter the NFL Draft. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

The news of Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson entering the draft should have been cheered at the Falcons nerve center in Flowery Branch.

Also, the news of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel could be good news, too. If one of the QB-needy teams in front of the Falcons (Texas, Jacksonville or Cleveland) fall in love with Manziel, a good player could get pushed down to the Falcons at No. 6.

Photos: College football juniors going pro

Robinson, a massive 6-foot-5, 320-pounder, declared on Tuesday. Manziel on Wednesday. A total of 80 underclassmen have already declared for the draft, according to Gil Brandt over at NFL.com. Last season, there were 73.

Robinson is a top 10 talent and may be the second-rated tackle behind Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews.

“Greg Robinson, a third-year sophomore left tackle at Auburn, has done a spectacular job,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on a recent teleconference. “I love the way he goes out and just takes pride in his work. He’s a mature kid and professional in terms of his approach and his demeanor. He just has great talent at 6-5, 320. He’s light on his feet. He has everything that you want.”

Kiper has Robinson rated as the ninth best player on his Big Board.

Matthews is considered the top rated tackle. Kiper has Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan rated as the 20th player overall and third tackle.

Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is 22nd overall and the fourth tackle.
“Jake Matthews is right there at the top,” Kiper said. “Jake Matthews from Texas A&M was a right tackle turned left tackle. He’s done an outstanding job. He’s a guy that’s right there and will be right there all along.”

In addition to Lewan, Iowa tackle Brandon Scherfff is highly rated Big 10 tackle.

“He’s a fourth-year junior,” Kiper said. “He’s a former quarterback and punter. He’s fun to watch because he just dominates as a run blocker. He’s got good feet. He’s light on his feet. He’s had a couple of mistakes in protection.”

There could be six or seven tackles go in the first round.

“There are a lot of left tackles and you can see right now, if some of the juniors that I mentioned come out, some of the underclassmen, you’re looking at four or five,” Kiper said. “You could have seven offensive tackles go in the first round. (La’el) Collins from LSU is another underclassman with a pretty good grade.”

DRAFT ORDER AFTER WILDCARD ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS
1. Houston Texans 2-14 .559
2. St. Louis Rams## 7-9 .551
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12 .504
4. Cleveland Browns 4-12 .516
5. Oakland Raiders 4-12 .523
6. Atlanta Falcons 4-12 .553
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-12 .574
8. Minnesota Vikings 5-10-1 .512
9. Buffalo Bills 6-10 .520
10. Detroit Lions 7-9 .457
11. Tennessee Titans 7-9 .504
12. New York Giants 7-9 .520
13. St. Louis Rams 7-9 .551
14. Chicago Bears 8-8 .465
15. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 .469
t-16. Baltimore Ravens@ 8-8 .484
t-16. Dallas Cowboys@ 8-8 .484
18. New York Jets 8-8 .488
19. Miami Dolphins 8-8 .523
20. Arizona Cardinals 10-6 .531
21. Green Bay Packers 8-7-1 .453
22. Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 .453
23. Kansas City Chiefs 11-5 .445
24. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5 .480

## — From Washington in RGIII trade.
@– Dallas and Baltimore will have a coin flip.

40 comments
Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

From all that I have read and heard, it sound like the Falcons are taking a LB with their first pick. Barr, Mosley, and Mack are getting all the press at linebacker. Take the SEC's Mosley. 

notPlanB
notPlanB

I'm seeing most saying, we need to draft OL & DL mostly. My thoughts go this way. If we aren't going to get any FA OL, we need to use 1, 2 & 3 on OL. We don't have the best defense but it is serviceable. If we don't get a good OL, we lose the skills of JJ, Roddy & HD. Also we limit S Jax, Quizz & others. (etal)

xmgq
xmgq

 If the falcons dont draft Louis Nix DT from Notre Dame first.. They will suffer the same result.Draft defense and build the O. line thru free agency and if u still have faith in  L.Holmes and KOnz let them sit. Nix great inside presence can push the pocket and demand double teams which would free up linebackers and not allow the QB to step up in the pocket. which would create more sacks for our DE's. Our D-Line hasnt been the same since big Grady was here. We need vets on the O-Line cause we are ready to win now, we dont wanna develop rookies on the line right now and let Matty Ice suffer through there growing pains.NIX-NIX-NIX!

USAF92
USAF92

Houston, Jacksonville and Cleveland all need QB's so I would think it is likely that two, if not all three, of these teams will select a QB with their first pick.  Bridgewater will be one and I could not fathom that  one of those teams could pass on Manziel.  Bortles could and probably will be the third.  


SI is reporting that the Rams are looking to trade down from number 2 with an eye towards selecting Sammy Watkins later in the first round.  Whether or not they make that trade, Clowney will likely be gone with this pick. The Raiders are talking like they want Matthews but would certainly take Clowney if he falls to them.


Realistically, it looks like the Falcons will have a choice between going defense with Khalil Mack or O-line with Greg Robinson.  

Primetime_boss
Primetime_boss

I like people on this blog that think they know football. The Julio trade didn't hurt us at all as expert analysts will tell you. We have had two drafts since then how is that the trades fault again? Cuz we didn't have a first round pick one year?? Come on. And everyone needs to get off Matt Ryan like it's all his fault. You were all jocking him when he was bombing it up to Julio and roddy I remember some of the names. Now your gonna turn on him? Ha! True fans!

jeeperscrow
jeeperscrow

I agree we need ALMOST all offensive and defensive line, but I think we need one pick for a running back as well.

Elvis_Is_Alive
Elvis_Is_Alive

DLed..love the new format.

How about a discussion of what a good vs a great draft pick would be for the line, either Oline or Dline or both.

I believe the majority believe Clowney will be gone and Matthews also. Mack is a Line backer.

Also should we resign Jeria, Peters and Babs? None-one of the three-two of the three or all three and why?

Do the Falcons need another late round rookie QB in the draft?

I believe we will have 9 Draft picks in May, what do you think?

FalconJames
FalconJames

They certainly is good talent on the draft board. The only problem I see is  Dimitroff and Smith  will be involved with the evaluating and making the pick. I am prepared for another epic failure of a draft this season. I am considering just watching the CFL. 

JSSN
JSSN

The sad thing is, last year was the great deep offensive and defensive tackle plus center draft. Even when the Falcons are in position, they get the wrong year to be thus so.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

TD should fired!


Dimitroff has missed on 4 OLs with somewhat high draft picks:


Sam Baker

Mike Johnson

Peter Konz

Lamar Holmes


All four of those OLs were drafted in the 3rd round and earlier, no way should any GM miss on that many OLs that are 1st to 3rd round draft picks.


If TD had "hit" on half of those guys above we would still be playing even with Ryan's faults, instead he failed on all 4 and has set this team back maybe 2 seasons, since it will take 2 drafts and 2 seasons to get the Falcons  to where they should be.


Still happy with that Julio Jones trade everyone?

V FuL
V FuL

Rd 1 Sammy Wakins

Rd 2 LB out of Buffalo

Rd 3 - 7 Best available OL/DL

Free Agency a veteran QB to push Ryan

decatur_g
decatur_g

slydawg,

Salary hit isn't as bad since they started 'slotting' the salaries. Saving $ is always a good thing, but it's not like we are risking an 8-figure contract on an unproven rookie like we did before the new CBA.

I think all these underclassmen entrants, esp. on the OL and DL (including FSU's Timmy Jernigan) bodes well for the Falcons.  The talent pool for OL and DL gets deeper, meaning we may be able to get quality in the early first 3 rounds and don't have to put all our chips in on hoping  the #6 pick is our silver bullet.  Also the flood of underclassmen means teams desperate for QBs may push down whichever talented OL/DL we like in the top 10 and not have to make a deal and have to trade other assets.

DoubleEE
DoubleEE

@MikeisBack,

I agree. Matthews is my top choice for OT.....great bloodlines in addition to the size and talent.

If Matthews is not available,then Auburn OT Greg Robinson.

The Falcons should be able to get one of those two supremely talented OTs.

For the second round,I have a choice of Michael Sam (Missouri) and R. Hegeman (Minnesota).

slydawg
slydawg

Simple math: If Clowney, nor Matthews is available, then trade back to slot 10 (Lions), 11(Titans), 12(Giants), or 13(Rams). You will still get a quality player but not at a top-10 salary. C.J. Mosely could still be available, so could a stud DT. A decent Olinemen would still be there (one of these: Robinson, Kuoandjio, or Lewan) if you still wanted to draft at that position.

knudegard1
knudegard1

PHLATlFan

Finally someone else knows about Kunz's lack of strength.

I've been talking about this since the combine.

Our always hurt FB is the same.

PHLATLFan
PHLATLFan

And the most worrisome thought; kudos to the AJC's Schultz for getting this idea kicking around. 

"Second-year tackle Lamar Holmes, whom the team believed was ready for a starting role,"

http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/jeff-schultz/2013/dec/29/falcons-short-takes/

If Dimitroff, Smith, the Oline AND the Defensive Line coaches can watch a guy (Holmes)  in games and practice every day and still think he can play at he NFL level, then they can't evaluate talent at home, much less watch film and scout for talent in college where the opposition on film is usually not NFL level and makes the task much more difficult.  

They also aren't being brutally honest as a staff on who can play, especially DLine coaches, not to mention not getting feedback from the players themselves on who can play.  This worries me the most, because it suggests the root cause is not just Dimitroff picking players who can't play (peria, konz, holmes, etc.), but coach Smith not communicating well with his staff and players.

PHLATLFan
PHLATLFan

And can Robinson and Matthews move?  If we see one more Troy Aikman clinic on how the Falcons' line was getting beat at halftime (Holmes in this case)...   How in the world can educated football guys pick two players who can't play at the NFL level when a Hall of Famer qb can watch them for a half and diagnose technique and talent issues, the latter which can't be fixed?

PHLATLFan
PHLATLFan

Please, oh please, don't let us pick anyone with less than 30 reps on the 225# bench.  (18 for Konz and you wonder why he gets picked up and thrown around.

JamesMcmullen
JamesMcmullen

We need a good mobile quarterback with strong arm most of all.

UGA76
UGA76

If we used all 8 picks (I'm thinking we get an extra pick for losing free agents) on the OL and DL and they all made the team we would just cover the guys that need to go. 

MikeisBack
MikeisBack

Give me Matthews...If he's gone...give me Robinson. We need someone to Anchor the OL.  

RangeRover
RangeRover

Use every pick on the OL & DL and hope you can get 3 or 4 starters out of the 7 choices…this shouldn't be that difficult given the worst combined OL & DL in the NFL.


Gopher86
Gopher86

We need O Line and D line the whole draft.

Gopher86
Gopher86

Will Sutton(Ariz State) could give this D line instant credibility.

Moe_Green
Moe_Green

There needs to be more meat scented candles. 

LowcountryFalcon
LowcountryFalcon

If Clowney or Matthews isn't there at Six, I'd like to trade down, add more picks, and draft DT Louis Nix.

notPlanB
notPlanB

Good questions.     Imperitive to build a good OL. Maybe TD can't screw up the 6th pick. I like Greg Robinson, 6-5 320lbs, if Matthews is gone.  Maybe Kouandjio from Bama.

Is Babs contract up? Sign Peters. Jerry questionable, don't resign him as the great $$$$ DT he was drafted to be.

Draft QB -  no. Dom Davis looked good before they tried to change his style to that of the immobile M Ryan (pocket passer). I watched Sean Renfree at Duke for 4 years and I think we have something real good there. Starter for 3 yrs & filled in some as a freshman. I think he should have been the starter that year. His WR, Conner Vernon, set the record for total catches in the ACC and that was with Duke teams that weren't top notch. 

Number of draft picks??? Loosing TG should get us something. 

notPlanB
notPlanB

Agreeing on OL comments.

I think MR is a good QB but not in the elite catagory with Brees, Peyton & Brady.  We paid too much and it's costing us FA's.

USAF92
USAF92

@V FuL The Falcons arguably have one of the best receiving corps in the NFL so there is no way the Falcons should take another WR with their first pick.  What they need is an offensive lineman who can help to give Ryan the time in the pocket to get the ball to those receivers.  If Matthews or Robinson are available at no. 6 then the Falcons need to pounce.  


If the Falcons pass on Khalil Mack in the first round, he will not be available come round 2.  


On the other hand, I completely agree with you on rounds 3-7 with the exception that they should also look to pick up a running back in the mid-late rounds,.  


Matt Ryan is going to be the QB regardless of who is drafted or picked up in free agency.  He doesn't need a veteran QB behind him to "push" him.  However, if the Falcons don't address the problems they have on the offensive line they might as well have a solid backup QB because it will only be a matter of time before Ryan is carted off the field in an ambulance.  

notPlanB
notPlanB

Please explain slotting??? Is that the reduced draft salaries?

I hope TD is capable of using the 1st three picks wisely. That would be a great help.

VirgilLeonard
VirgilLeonard

@slydawg and give up the chance to land Khalil Mack. no way. I'd rather have Mack then Clowney anyway. Clowney was no where near as productive this year. if Matthews isnt there we go with Mack. if those two are gone then I'd go with Clowney. 

notPlanB
notPlanB

TD knew Konz had a strength problem and a medical issue (heart, I believe)

JSSN
JSSN

@PHLATLFan  


"the root cause is not just Dimitroff picking players who can't play (peria, konz, holmes, etc.), but coach Smith not communicating well with his staff and players. "


Smith communicates great with those people, it called an "Echo Chamber!" Dysfunction breeds dysfunction!

notPlanB
notPlanB

Why don't we give our unknown's (A Smith & J Vaughn) a chance before we discard them and get another RB. I believe Snelling hasn't been given a real chance either.

USAF92
USAF92

@Really666 @jeeperscrow Drafting Gurley in 2015 would be fantastic but it would be likely mean that the Falcons would have to have another miserable season in order to position themselves to select him in the draft.  If he stays healthy, Gurley will likely have a huge year and will come out as a top 5 pick. 

V FuL
V FuL

@USAF92 Thanks for pointing out Mack. I totally agree Mack will not be there by Rd 2.

Ryan needs an entire new OL including center. Mack is a beast that you can plug in for the next 10 years.

We need Ryan to make better decisions with the ball. You can't slide when you need two or three yards for a first down.

Rd 1  Mack (Buffalo)

Rd 2  Ford (Auburn)

Rd 3  OL

Rd 4  OL

Rd 5  RB

Rd 6  DT

Rd 7  DT

Comp Picks - RB/QB

Free Agents - OL/Safety

Elvis_Is_Alive
Elvis_Is_Alive

I like this characterization.

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who the greatest NfL Coach in the Land?

It's you, Coach Smith it's you, says the enitre ex-Jax Jags Coaching staff in harmony.

And the 4-12 season wasn't my fault was it my minions?

No Coach Smith we'll all fall on the sword for our fearless leader.

notPlanB
notPlanB

I think it was Bush's fault.