Posted: 6:11 am Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Bucky Brooks: Falcons will take nasty OT Taylor Lewan 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Back in 2011, here's NFL Network's Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Back in 2011, here’s NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

I wanted to give y’all some early morning snack food before rolling the Batmobile up to Clemson for their Pro Day.

We’ll focus on tackle Brandon Thomas. If the Falcons go edge rusher/linebacker in the first round, Thomas, who could win the right tackle spot, would be a viable second round pick. The Falcons coached him the Senior Bowl.

We caught up with the NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks to pick his brain post-combine.

In his latest mock draft, he has the Falcons picking Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, the meanest and nastiness of the three top tackles in the draft. I think most of the fans could live with that pick.

Brooks, who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft, is a former player and is a most excellent draft analyst.

After his playing days were over, he joined the Seattle Seahawks’ pro personnel department as a regional college scout. He served in the same capacity for the Carolina Panthers from 2003 to 2007, before joining CNNSI.com as a football analyst. He joined NFL Media in 2009.

Here’s what he had to say about the offensive tackles:

ON THE TACKLES: “Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan, and Jake Matthews established themselves as top 10 talents at the combine. Greg Robinson, he’s a dominant athlete and a dominant player. … just based on his athleticism, he should be a dominant player for a long time in the league.

“With Jake Matthews, people were surprised that he performed as well as he did athletically (at the combine). People thought he would be physically sound, but people didn’t think he’d be near the athlete as Robinson and Lewan. The fact that he performed well in drills really enhances what he brings to the table as a left tackle.

“With Taylor Lewan, people were just as excited by seeing his athleticism on display. He really hasn’t played offensive tackle long because he switched from tight end to tackle in high school. But when you get a guy of his size, playing and performing the way that he did, people started to believe that he could be a franchise player at the next level.”

ON MACK VS. BARR DEBATE: We asked Brooks to settle the Khalil Mack vs. Anthony Barr debate at edge rusher/linebacker for us. He likes Mack, but later selects Barr.

“That is such a tough debate because I go back and forth. Originally, I was huge on Anthony Barr being a better player. But Khalil Mack, I think he brings more sizzle as a pass rusher just because he’s long and rangy. I see him as a guy who’s very similar to Julian Peterson. When you watched them on the turf together, Khalil Mack appeared to be a better and more natural linebacker right now than Anthony Barr.

“When I look at Khalil Mack I see that he’s big, he’s strong and he’s physical. I liken him to what Ahmad Brooks is for the San Francisco 49ers. I think he’s a solid player. I think he’s a physical player at the point of attack.

“I think Anthony Barr will project as a better cover guy, just because he’s long and athletic. He’s only played the position for a few years. He was a running back in high school. … He’s just a very natural athlete. …I think he has all those traits that you look for in a long, rangy and athletic linebacker that can be a 3-4 rush end or a drop (into coverage) player.”

ON MICHAEL SAM: Since we had him on the phone, we asked about Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who’s attempting to be the first openly gay player in the NFL.

“Everyone kind of knew what he was an athlete after watching him at the Senior Bowl. But really what he is in terms of draft status is a designated pass rusher. He’s a nickel pass rusher. He has the ability to come in on third downs and get after the quarterback. He’s not athletic enough to be that 3-4 outside linebacker and he’s not stout enough to be an every down defensive end. So, you would need to have a role for him.

“When we are looking at the draft, when you are picking players as role players or as specialists, it kind of diminishes their value. He’s a draftable player for sure, but now I think we’re talking about the fifth round. He’s a guy who can contribute to special teams and also as a situational rusher in certain packages.”

ON FALCONS TRADING UP FOR CLOWNEY: We had another question for Brooks. Should the Falcons trade up to get Jadeveon Clowney?

“They are really sitting in the catbird sit. They can sit at six and have one of those offensive tackles fall to them. Or, they can take one of the linebackers, Barr or Mack and they can fill the role that John Abraham had. …I think Anthony Barr is a better fit because of his range. Or, they can move up and go and get Clowney. It would take a King’s ransom to get up to No. 1, but I think if they believe he can be a difference maker. …I think that everyone can see that based on his athletic potential and playing in a dome, they could do it. I think Thomas Dimitroff has shown that he’s not afraid to make that kind of move.”

39 comments
Pistol66
Pistol66

The Rams need a receiver and they have two first round picks.  Trade Roddy White, their second round pick and a couple of more picks for their two first rounders.   With three first round picks, take Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, one of the tackles, and one of the linebackers!  Or trade two of the first rounders to the Texans for Clowney and then take one of the receivers!  With Julio on one side and Watkins or Evans on the other, Ryan will go crazy through the air.  Pick up the running back out of Stanford farther down in the draft and get your line and defensive needs through free agency and they are instantly a contender!

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I think one of those lineman could stick around for ten years, In my opinion they should be able to shore up that defense---- through the draft and free agency.

TheMonger
TheMonger

AtlantaStu....  I think Both Barr and Mack can play rush DE, similar to Abraham.  They both have the size, as both are around 255 pounds.  Terrell Suggs and Dwight Freeney were both around that size coming out of college.  Abraham was 255 pounds I believe.  So is Bierman.  I personally like both, but feel we should take Barr if he is available because of his potential.  Mack is a physical freak similar to Weatherspoon, but I can see Barr fine tuning his very raw game, and turning into a game changer similar to Aldon Smith.  He had 13 sacks his first season playing DE, so the sky is the limit.  I have Barr as the 2nd best choice for the Falcons after Clowney, and Mack is 3rd.  The 3 Offensive Tackles (Robinson, Matthews, and Lewan) would be my 4th thru 6th choices for the Falcons.  They are sitting pretty with any of those 6, and they will get one of them for sure.

AtlantaStu
AtlantaStu

Lewan is well above 270lbs. He is 6'7", and weighs 309. Matthews is 6'5" and weighs 305. Robinson is 6'5" and weighs 332. Anyone of these would do well. I still do not get the attraction of Mack & Barr. In the Falcons scheme, they rarely blitz. Sean Witherspoon, who is much like Mack & Barr, has a career total of just 8 sacks over 4 years. 

gfw
gfw

I'm kind of surprised no one has mentioned the difference in size between Robinson and Matthews on the one hand and Lewan on the other.  At about 270lbs isn't Lewan a little light for the position?

slydawg
slydawg

If Clowney is available at 6, Falcons would be foolish not to take him, because I can guarantee you that Tampa Bay will, if they do not trade up before that. In that scenario, they can select Antonio Richardson in the second round, move him to right tackle, and groom him for left tackle when Baker gets cut after the season. All they have to do is sit and let all the other teams make fools of themselves. The Falcons needs are simple. Even a fan can select the players and FA's they need this year..... That wasn't a diss to TD, just simply stating that his job is easier this year (albeit on the hot seat) as far as filling out this roster. 

ATL89
ATL89

If TD trades up for Clowney, and Clowney doesn't workout, TD is fired, "period". 

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

Not at #6 when Khalil Mack, Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews still on the board. I have said and I still will say that 3 of the top 5 teams will draft a QB. The Texans, Browns, and Raiders IMO will draft a QB. I think the Rams either trade back with us or they take Robinson. I think the Jaguars like Clowney a lot and they need a pass rusher. If he falls in their lap, they run the card up to the podium. 


That'll leave us with Khalil Mack or Jake Matthews. Which one do we value the most? I say Jake Matthews and have been calling his name out for quite some time. He is the best LT in this draft with his pass protection ability. Once he latches on, the defender is in slow mo and will not get away. His dad is a Hall of Famer (Bruce Matthews). He's cut from the same cloth. Better draft Jake Matthews. He blocked for Johnny Football who was all over the place, can you imagine how hard it is to block for a QB that scrambles so much and you have no clue where he is? And he still was All-American.


Blocking for Matt Ryan he'll always know where Ryan is. Right there in that pocket. He can set his stance, get in blocking form and block the snot out of the DE trying to get to Ryan. Pull the trigger Dimitroff....Jake Matthews is our guy.

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

If we could trade back a few spots and pick up Lewan, and then trade back up into the first round for Aaron Donald... that would be alright with me.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

I've said it before and I'll continue to say it.  Drafting an OL in the first round will only make the line younger and even more inexperience.  Expect what happened offensively last year to continue this year if they select a Robinson/Matthews/Lewan with their first pick.  There are good offensive lineman they can sign in FA without breaking the bank.  Draft defense, sign veteran OL guys.

Dman
Dman

Gotta get offensive lineman in free agency and defensive lineman and end in the draft.

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

I haven't heard much talk about the center position. Are we really happy with Hawley there? Obviously Konz has not worked out, he spent much of the season in the backfield. I like a big nasty tackle or D End / Tackle for our #1 pick but I also think the CENTER needs to be addressed in the off season.

RBI
RBI

Priority One should be to get a big, nasty O-lineman!  Protect Ryan and run the ball to control the clock --- that helps the defense as well as the offense.

MikeisBack
MikeisBack

Dled, what ever TD is thinking...Brooks echo's the sentiment of most BIRDS FAN...They are really sitting in the catbird SEAT.


Hopefully, TD can pick us some winners.


RISE UP TD...LET'S GO...LET'S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

reckingball
reckingball

Dimitroff probably needs to engineer a successful draft in order to retain his employment status.

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Yes. Big Nasty Lineman.

Dirty dog
Dirty dog

Your right trade down take Taylor Lewan and then with the extra 2nd or 3rd round pick address the rush end this is a deep draft no need to lose picks by trading up

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

if the falcons trade up and get the clown , they will never win a super bowl it will set this team back 10 more years , nondomank sue  of Nebraska is BETTER THAN CLOWNEY I DIDINT SEE ATLANTA TRADING UP TO GET HIM

slydawg
slydawg

Like I have been saying for months now: Trade down and pick Taylor Lewan. Duh!!! But it's the Falcons. they are not "that" smart, or should I say adept at common sense.

slydawg
slydawg

@Pistol66  I love that plan. Problem is, Roddy is at best worth a second round pick. Two second rounders will not fetch you a first round pick. I have been on record before stating to trade Roddy while he still has high value. There are plenty of teams who could use an elite second WR. Denver, Detroit, NE, Jets, Giants, etc. I love Roddy but this is Super Bowl business we're talking here.

AtlantaStu
AtlantaStu

@TheMonger  You may be right about all that. But any DE will need help from the inside to be effective, and the Falcons do not have it. This is one of many reasons why I say stay away from Clowney. Besides, Atlanta HAS to get an OT because (1) Joe Johnson - who was 2nd string in 2012 - is coming off season-ending injury and (2) We all know Sam Baker will get hurt during the season, putting Lamar "worst tackle in all NFL in 2013" Holmes in his place. And just like last year, Ryan will only have time to throw quick screens, or else get pummeled, while the running game will once again get stuffed. 

gfw
gfw

@AtlantaStu You may be right---there seems to be some disagreement aboutthis---but wiki gives his weight as 270.

AtlantaStu
AtlantaStu

@ATL89  And he SHOULD be fired. Trading up makes no sense. This is not the year to pull a "Julio." We're still paying for that, even though I think it was a good trade. No, Atlanta has wy to many needs to give it up for one player ..... who in all likelihood, will come nowhere close to the stud he is projected to be

slydawg
slydawg

@BeastOPS  The phrase "trade up" and Dimitroff are banned in the same sentence on this blog...lol...

slydawg
slydawg

@ChopChamps95  I thought the same thing before I had to remember the Falcons are stuck with Baker for at least another year and they signed Ryan a year or two too early. If Ryan would have been franchised this year, I bet he would dive for touchdowns....lmao... The only two tackles worth spending money on are B. Albert and E. Monroe, and last I checked, left tackle is the most expensive position on offense after QB. Also peep this, Seattle, San Fran, and Carolina are already light years ahead concerning defense but average on offense. It's better for the Falcons to improve the O-line first so they can at least stop a pass rush if they can't create one...lol.. I personally don't care which direction they go except another dumb trade up.

xmgq
xmgq

@ChopChamps95  The best statement! Draft defense--Ol - free agency and we can win now!!

JLTee
JLTee

@ChopChamps95-from your mouth to Thomas Dimitroff's ears...I pray.

JLTee
JLTee

I agree. Our Oline fell apart when we got rid of our vets (McClure & Clabo) and went young. We're picking 6. Assuming we make it back to the playoffs, we won't be in the position again for a while. We need a young playmaker on defense and guys who will push this line. Yes, our oline looked atrocious last year and we MUST address it. That said, we haven't had a pass rush in the last two years. We lost the San Fran game and almost the Seattle game because we couldn't get to the quarterback. Pass rusher come at a premium. time ot get a young stud on defense.

JSSN
JSSN

@NorthFlaFalcon  

If they don't sign Hawley by tomorrow, they've said they are going to let Konz compete for the job again.

AtlantaStu
AtlantaStu

@NorthFlaFalcon  Not many stud Centers in Free Agency, and not sure you want a rookie to start that position. The Falcons an pick up a stud OG in free agency - lot of good ones available - then you have a training camp where Hawley and Konz fighting it out in training camp to be starting center. Either one should be better surrounded by 2 stud guards.


xmgq
xmgq

@NorthFlaFalcon  Thats why i would draft LOUIS NIX from Notre dame. If we dont get the push up the middle. IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT END OR Lb we get, its gonna be the same result.. Trade down take NIx and Lewan.

JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg @Pistol66  

AtlantaStu has it pegged, no receiver in the NFL is going to get you more than a 4th round pick in the modern NFL. The same goes for a running back. Shoot, the Falcons overpaid for Gonzalez in all reality. Randy Moss being traded from New England for a 3rd by the Vikings was crazy. Roddy is not going to bring much return. 

slydawg
slydawg

@AtlantaStu @TheMonger  255 lbs. was the norm 15 years ago. Plus, please note we are comparing two "pre-draft" players to a possible future HOF. Both Mack and Barr would need to bulk up to around 270 in order to bump and grind in the trenches for 3 + downs per series. Also take note that D.  Freeney, R. Mathis, and E. Dumervil, all smaller DE's, played DE in college, not rush linebacker from a stand up position. Mack and Barr looked good in college doing exactly what they do. Let's not try to re-invent the wheel and put them in positions they have never been in before.

Esquire
Esquire


@ JSS  .........."Shoot, the Falcons overpaid for Gonzalez in all reality."   

.

Hmmm, have to disagree with you on this one.  TG was worth every bit of that 2nd round draft pick.  KC ended up taking Javier Arenas with the pick who was subsequently traded to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for Anthony Sherman.  Old Indian saying........ "good trade".

JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg @AtlantaStu @TheMonger  

If (Mike) Johnson is not resigned by Saturday, he's going to be UFA. Even then, you won't be able negotiate with him again till after the beginning of camp.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Lewan, people were just as excited by seeing his athleticism on display,” Brooks told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When you get a guy of his size, playing and performing the way that he did, people started […]