Posted: 6:00 am Monday, January 20th, 2014

Falcons’ scouts must find some gems at Senior Bowl 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

090508 Flowery Branch - EVALUATION BEGINS- Falcons head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff begin evaluating players as the Falcons kickoff their first mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Friday, May 8, 2009. They'll be looking for gems at the Senior Bowl this week.  CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

090508 Flowery Branch – EVALUATION BEGINS- Falcons head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff begin evaluating players as the Falcons kickoff their first mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Friday, May 8, 2009. They’ll be looking for gems at the Senior Bowl this week. CURTIS COMPTON / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said that the talent evaluators would receive the same scrutiny that the coaching staff received after the missed assessments of the offensive and defensive lines.

“We are applying the same scrutiny of the evaluators and (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) is doing that within his department as well,” Blank said.

The evaluation of the coaching staff led to the release of offensive line coaches Pat Hill and Paul Dunn and defensive line coach Ray Hamilton. Mike Tice has been hired to coach the offensive line and Bryan Cox to coach the defensive line.

So far, nothing has happened in the scouting department, which will shift into full-swing scouting mode at the Senior Bowl today.

“We’ve been doing that (scrutinizing over) the last three months,” Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We continue to do that along the lines of looking at are our coaching staff with coach (Mike) Smith. We’ve highly scrutinized where we are with our approach to certain things from a personnel standpoint as well as our scouts and our directors.

“Again, I continue to stress, me from the top (on down), looking at what we’ve done and what I’ve done, how we’re going to address and change is going to be a part of re-defining where we are as an organization.”

The Falcons have heavily used the Senior Bowl to scout players under Dimitroff.

They’ve selected 14 players they’ve scouted in the Senior Bowl since 2008.

Last season, they selected cornerback Desmond Trufant (first round), cornerback Robert Alford (second round) and defensive end Malliciah Goodman (fourth round).

In 2012, they selected fullback Bradie Ewing (fifth round).

In 2010, Sean Weatherspoon (first round) and guard/tackle Mike Johnson (third round) were picked.

In 2009, defensive tackle Peria Jerry (first round), strong safety William Moore (second round), defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (fourth round) and defensive tackle Vance Walker (seventh round)

In 2008, left tackle Sam Baker (first round), wide receiver Harry Douglas (third round), defensive back Chevis Jackson (third round) and safety Thomas DeCoud (third round).

Of the 14 picks, 11 are still with the team. Sidbury is with the Colts. Walker is an Oakland Raider and Jackson is out of football.

Last season, Alford , who played at FCS school Southeastern Louisiana, showed that he could play with players from major conferences at the Senior Bowl.

While a lot of the top projected first-round picks don’t play at the Senior Bowl, teams can also find depth or strike it big with a late-round pick. The Falcons have all seven of their picks and need to address depth at several positions. They are in line to receive some late compensatory picks.

In 2011, Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris had an impressive Senior Bowl week while being coached by the Washington staff. They picked Morris in the sixth round. He’s rushed for 1,613 and 1,275 rushing yards in two seasons.

Last season, Detroit and Oakland coached in the Senior Bowl. A total of 94 players from the 2013 game were drafted, including 16 first round picks.

The Lions ended up selecting BYU’s Ziggy Ansah with the fifth overall pick and guard Larry Warford in the third round. Both were named to the Professional Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie team.

The Raiders drafted three players the coached last year in quarterback Tyler Wilson. (fourth round) and tight ends Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa (both in the sixth round).

While Smith and the coaching staff will lead the North squad, the scouting department must turn in spectacular week at the Senior Bowl in order unearth some talent.

43 comments
JSSN
JSSN

@ DawgNole

Off topic but this is a great story on Seattle's owner Paul Allen. I know how much DawgNole talks about Blank's behavior around the Game Day, but I was interested in how much he turned a team in a mess.

ryesouvie
ryesouvie

I wouldn't consider Ryan part of the problem. He is far from it. The offensive and defensive lines are the problems. One bad year out of six and they are considered a sinking ship???..lol. That's funny! This offseason is vital to Smith and Dimitroff! If things go awry, you can call it a sinking ship JSSN. Well, it will have sunk with Smith and Dimitroff hanging on to the bottom of the ocean.

JSSN
JSSN

Stop worrying about Ryan, that anchor is tied securely to sinking part of the SS Flowery Branch! What you need to concerned about is pumping the water out of the rest of the ship and making it sea worthy. Said it before, if Lovie Smith can make a team like the 2006 Bears capable of getting to a Super Bowl; eventually the Falcons can get there too! Be in good cheer, just might happen.

ElephantintheRoom
ElephantintheRoom

Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville would be a great replacement for MR2. Just get him out of here.

vesaversa
vesaversa

I'm already predicting that this will be the last year for  coach Smith  in Atlanta . The man lack the coaching skill to take  the Falcons  to the next level .

ElephantintheRoom
ElephantintheRoom

They wouldn't have to even drift away from the SEC to replace Ryan with a much better player. Can you say Manziel, McCarron, Mettenberger, Murray and Shaw?  

Camaro-Bob
Camaro-Bob

Whatevery they do they need 2 leave Dummytroff behind cuz he will just make more misteaks with the draFT.

reckingball
reckingball

Yeah, they really do need to draft some really good players, so that they could possibly be contenders in the future.

But, in the here and now, Blank needs to get off of that giant wallet and start stocking the OLine and the DLine with some good players that can do their jobs, if they are going to contend next season. Imho.

reckingball
reckingball

Sure would be nice if Dimitroff, could do his job on these draft picks this year, he doesn't have a really good track record so far.

midwaycva41
midwaycva41

Linemen, linemen, and more linemen.  Both sides of the ball.  Not rb, not db, not wr, not lb. Linemen!

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

It appears the winning clubs in the NFC have a strong defense, a strong running game, and a very strong defense, all on display yesterday.  The Falcon's don't have any of the above, it will be a long time before they are contenders again.

96JB
96JB

Watching those games yesterday, The Falcons look like they are in a feeder league to the NFL, just saying.

JODILYN
JODILYN

Seems as every player mentioned is average at best and most are bust. Weatherspoon is the biggest name from that bunch and league wide he is middle of the road at best

ConfederateFlagBurner
ConfederateFlagBurner

D Led hand this to Dimitroff:

1. Anthony Barr OLB

2. Jeromiah Attaochu OLB

3. Daniel McCullers NG/DT

4. Max Bullough ILB

Get the defense fixed !!!!!

ElephantintheRoom
ElephantintheRoom

Even if we do get a couple or four good players in the offseason, I doubt seeing a winning season next year, unless we replace Matt Ryan.

Elvis_Is_Alive
Elvis_Is_Alive

Truth-O-Meter should be Smith's evaluation procedure for a contract extension.

SOB
SOB

Under Dimitroff/Smith, the Falcons couldn't unearth a Beluga whale in a gold fish bowl. Wake up, Artie.  

JSSN
JSSN

@ryesouvie You don't have to be "part of the problem" to go down with the ship. But after watching the two games yesterday and the previous two weeks; he's not not as much of an answer as advertised. You still don't see the mirage of the previous 4 of the 5 "winning seasons?" 


"Sinking" means it can be corrected and righted. "Sunk" means it it's already in Davy Jones's Locker! I pointed out the difference. You mean you're not willing to rescue Ryan in order to save face?

V FuL
V FuL

@ElephantintheRoom A smart GM would take McCarron or Mettenberger to back up Ryan.

With the FALCONS OL the 100 million $ man is not going to last.

reckingball
reckingball

@Jazzpman ..........Which team had the strong defense, and which had the very strong defense?

Seahawks must of had the very strong defense.

4DaBirds
4DaBirds

@58Supersports  


Not a great record?  How about 5 straight winning seasons up until this last year. 

4DaBirds
4DaBirds

@SOB 


Trufant, Alford and Worrilow are all very good players who will get much better. Ryan, Julio, and William Moore are pretty good as well. I guess you could have done better though?

JSSN
JSSN

@vesaversa

Why bring race into it? He's (Teddy Bridgewater) a QB! He's the best pure prospect since Luck. A lot of teams can cure their franchise issues in this draft and very cheap (slotted draft picks salaries).

OHHHHYeah
OHHHHYeah

@Joe-T @midwaycva41 So...you're saying you'd like to cut ties with a top four qb in the league just to draft a cry baby punk? Eh...no thanks. 

OHHHHYeah
OHHHHYeah

@Joe-T @OHHHHYeah @midwaycva41 thats weird, especially considering he was top 3 in the league in 2012 in completions of passes over 25 yards and 40 yards. How strange 

OHHHHYeah
OHHHHYeah

@Joe-T @4DaBirds @SOB Remind me again where he's playing now? Oh...that's right, NOWHERE. Not even Jacksonville thought he was good enough to sign, and you'd have wanted him in Atlanta? Again, rendering your opinion as nothing more than idiotic.