Posted: 5:04 pm Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Grading the Falcons’ 2014 NFL Draft: C-plus 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons earned a C-plus for this draft.

The Jake Matthews pick was awesome. He’ll be a stud for years to come.

Jake Matthews, 6-5, 305, OT, Texas A&M: The son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews. (Associated Press)

Jake Matthews, 6-5, 305, OT, Texas A&M: The son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews. (Associated Press)

Now, in a couple of years, if defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman and free safety Dezmen Southward develop into Pro Bowlers, we can come back and change the grade to an A under the Bill Polian three-year rule exception. (I just made that up!)

The Falcons couldn’t fix everything in the draft.

They got the tackle to help stabilize and improve the offensive line in Matthews.

We are not sure if they filled the free safety opening and they didn’t do much for the pass rush or the tight end vacancy.

Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman was a force in the Big Ten last season. (Photo Credit: GopherSports)

Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman was a force in the Big Ten last season. (Photo Credit: GopherSports)

Hageman has the potential to be one of the steals of the draft, but defensive line coach Bryan Cox will need to get him to play 100 percent of the time. He was up and down during his days at Minnesota.

“We had an opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with him in the classroom, on the field, in the cafeteria eating meals, seeing how he interacts with the other players,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Ra’Shede is a very big, strong, passionate football player, and we really enjoyed the week that we spent with him in Mobile (at the Senior Bowl).”

Southward is a physical marvel, but defensive backs coach Tim Lewis must turn him into a NFL free safety.

“Dezmen, we had him at the Senior Bowl as well,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff

Dezmen Southward (Associated Press)

Dezmen Southward (Associated Press)

said. “This is a guy who is big and fast, really good natural agility and movement for a bigger safety. He has had one of the best three cone times, which is usually an indicator of body control and movement. He has cover skills and very good range for us, so we think he has some real upside to continue to bolster this secondary group.”

Southward has some incredible upside, but the weaknesses listed in the Nolan Nawrocki’s NFL Draft 2104 Preview are troubling: “Short arms. Average Flexibility and range. Still developing positional instincts and diagnostic skills. Man-coverage limitations – dull transitional quickness and closing burst. Ordinary production on the ball – not a playmaker. Does not punish or intimidate. Reliability should be looked into.”

Devonta Freeman (Associated Press)

Devonta Freeman (Associated Press)

Falcons fans have to hope they are flat out wrong about the “does not punish or intimidate” part.

Running back Devonta Freeman should press for time behind Steven Jackson and at least fill the Jason Snelling vacancy and perhaps take some snaps from Jacquizz Rodgers.

Not sure why they took another smallish cornerback in 5-foot-9 Ricardo Allen, when all of the teams in the division were loading up on big wide receivers.

“Philosophically, we stick to what we believe going into the draft, although we’re very mindful of what our division is doing,” Dimitroff said. “If something stands out that causes us to make an adjustment, we would consider it, but again, we’re very set on how we philosophically approach

Connecticut linebacker Yawin Smallwood (33) sacks Maryland quarterback Perry Hills during the first half of an NCAA college football game in College Park, Md., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Photo: Patrick Semansky, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Connecticut linebacker Yawin Smallwood (33) sacks Maryland quarterback Perry Hills during the first half of an NCAA college football game in College Park, Md., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Photo: Patrick Semansky, ASSOCIATED PRESS

the draft from year to year.

“It may adjust from year to year. We spent a lot of time as an organization on what we want to do, and we won’t be swayed just because Carolina takes a tall receiver. (That) won’t have us adjusting a decision on a type of corner.”

(FILE NOTE: We’ll have to revisit this if 6-5 Kelvin Benjamin catches a TD pass over 5-9 Allen when the Falcons face the Panthers in the coming years.)

All of the linebackers will get a chance to help on special teams.

Here’s how some others are grading the Falcons’ draft:

–Dimitroff gave himself an A when asked by AJC columnist and esteemed colleague Mark Bradley to grade his draft.

“An A. Well, if this is such a ridiculous exercise we all talk about, I’m going to give you a very candid maybe arrogant response.”

South Dakota LB Tyler Starr (Michael Conroy/AP)

South Dakota LB Tyler Starr (Michael Conroy/AP)

–ESPN analyst Mel Kiper gave the Falcons a B-minus.

Summary: I was a big fan of the Jake Matthews pick when it happened, and I’m not changing my tune now. Big need, good player and you add the bonus of his versatility. The Falcons also got a pretty good safety prospect in Dez Southward, hitting another need. But there were also a couple areas I think they missed, and maybe it had to do with the way the board was breaking. For instance, they really need pass-rush help, and Demarcus Lawrence could have been an option at No. 37, but Dallas moved up and grabbed him. Atlanta ends up with a high-upside talent in Ra’Shede Hageman,

Purdue’s Ricardo Allen (21) celebrates with Will Lucas (45), Ishmael Aristide (22), and Logan Link after blocking a last-second field goal. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Purdue’s Ricardo Allen (21) celebrates with Will Lucas (45), Ishmael Aristide (22), and Logan Link after blocking a last-second field goal.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

but he ran really hot and cold at Minnesota. Devonta Freeman gives them an underrated running back, which is something they need, and maybe Prince Shembo can provide some value as a pass-rusher. Ricardo Allen is a solid player and gives them added depth at CB. Tyler Starr is also a sleeper as a pass-rushing addition. The question for me is whether they did enough to really help the pass rush, which was a big need, and I also think a tight end made sense given the departure at that position. Not bad, overall. Matthews will be good.

 

Syracuse's Marquis Spruill, (11), tackles Northwestern University's Stephen Buckley, (8) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013  in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Syracuse’s Marquis Spruill, (11), tackles Northwestern University’s Stephen Buckley, (8) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

–CBSSports.com Pete Prisco gave the Falcons a B-plus

They addressed a lot of needs with their picks, including getting a top tackle in Jake Matthews. The second- and third round picks will both be rookie contributors. Grade: B-plus

–NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal listed the Falcons as one of the draft “winners”

When the Falcons set out to fix a problem, they really fix it. This offseason has been all about upgrading their line play up front on both sides of the line. They continued the theme with offensive tackle Jake Matthews in the first round and defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman in the second round. Fourth-round running back Devonta Freeman adds needed juice to the backfield, but he’s just a

Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo (55) celebrates as he's hugged by teammate Stephon Tuitt after a tackle for a loss against Temple during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo (55) celebrates as he’s hugged by teammate Stephon Tuitt after a tackle for a loss against Temple during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

nice bonus. Atlanta’s first two picks continued the team’s aggressive bid to get tougher.

–Si.Com’s Doug Farrar gave the Falcons a B

The Falcons started their draft by getting bigger, stronger and more talented at their most pressing positional groups — the offensive and defensive lines. First-round offensive tackle Jake Matthews should slot right in as Matt Ryan’s blindside protector for the next half-decade. And on defense, Minnesota hybrid lineman Ra’Shede Hageman has the potential to play over multiple gaps on a line that has changed in scheme. Wisconsin safety Dezmen Southward is an excellent athlete who can move around to a few different roles, and Notre Dame outside linebacker Prince Shembo is an interesting developmental pass rusher. All in all, a nice haul for the Falcons — if Hageman develops into the player he can be.

THE ATLANTA FALCONS 2014 DRAFT CLASS

Round 1 / 6 — Jake Matthews, RT, 6-5, 308, Texas A&M

Round 2/37 – Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, 6-6, Minnesota

Round 3/68 – Dezmen Southward, FS, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin

Round 4/103 – Devonta Freeman, RB, 5-8, 206, Florida State

Round 4/139 – Prince Shembo, LB, 6-1, 253 Notre Dame

Round 5/147 – Ricardo Allen, CB, 5-9, 187, Purdue

Round 5/168 – Marquis Spruill, LB, 6-1, 231, Syracuse

Round 7/253 – Yawin Smallwood, LB, 6-2, 246, Connecticut

Round 7/255 – Tyler Starr, LB, 6-4, 250, South Dakota

 

107 comments
PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

Good column by D-Led.  I like how he questions Dimitroff's thinking this time rather than being a homer.   I don't think the Minnesota DT will work out.  The past is the best predictor of the future with individuals, and this guy clearly took plenty of plays off, no matter how charming or assertive he acted in front of our coaching staff at the Senior Bowl.  Anyone can pretend to be impressive for one week.  It's called a job interview.   Unfortunately, Smitty and Dimitroff don't seem to get that.  Blank didn't get it for a long time either, until getting burned by Jim Mora and Petrino.

JSSN
JSSN

I see babble and his acolyte are in agreement, meanwhile the real football fans and followers get what Ledbetter and the rest of the writers are seeing. Just put in the tapes. I hate when people think that simply drafting a player makes them capable (or ready) of being 24 game warriors! As many of us pointed months ago (Southward was mentioned by who? Yep, dropping the Mic), they were going to be reaching for production. And moreover, not to expect them to actually draft a true pass rusher unless one fell to them. It did not happen. So, Hagemen, if you've been under a rock, you forget how raw he is. Pick after pick must be coached up along having to coach up everyone on that line excluding Babineaux and a still physically unsound Peters. Be realistic, take your fan glasses off for a second. You are sitting where Seattle was sitting 3 seasons ago in the best of all worlds. In the worst case scenario, it implodes and you're the NFC version of 2013 Houston Texans defensively.

This is not about being "negative" or being "anti Falcons." It is about being realistic where they may be in 2014. They are not going to win shoot outs.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

Let's face it folks, the Falcons took a big step back last year due to some necessary cap decisions and injuries to our receiving corps and defense.  They lost attitude with Harvey Dahl and they played soft the rest of the season on the line.


I went into this draft thinking it was a multi-year build up given we had holes at FS, LB, OL, TE, DL, and quite frankly, RB.  I firmly believe the Falcons front office was looking at it that way also.


Matthews will be good this year but much better in year two, same with Hagemen.  Next year they will have to get a feature RB (no, I do not see Freeman as a feature back, so we will have to get a replacement for Jackson next year).  In fact, I view the Freeman pick as the biggest waste pick of the entire draft, though I really don't like the Shembo pick either.


The Falcons will need a true receiving TE, three down RB, and probably more defensive help next year if they want to contend.  They could contend this year, but without Tony to open up the field for the WR's and some youth at key positions I just don't see it.  My best hope is that we can keep Ryan healthy for 2015.   

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

The Falcon DL is no longer undersized. Soliai, Jackson, and the addition of Hageman in the draft has totally changed that group. Since no top pass-rusher was acquired, I'm confident that Osi will be a Falcon in 2014 and that Biermann's recovery is going well. This also means that Massaquoi will be given a chance to build on the good he did in 2013 and that Maponga, Shembo, Spruill, Starr, and any other potential edge-rusher on the roster will be given every opportunity in camp and preseason to show their pass-rushing chops. Bryan Cox can't be expected to be a miracle worker, but if he can help Hageman reach most of his potential, the DL will soon be a team strength.

As for the OL, I believe Dimitroff fixed most of the problems with the acquisition of Asamoah and the drafting of Matthews. Both guys are huge talent and reliability upgrades. Mike Tice will have to get the guys to play together as one, but I don't think that will be a problem.

slydawg
slydawg

Last thing I'll say: If I draft a tackle @ #6, that player will be my starting left tackle from Day One. This is the pros; there is no seniority or favorites. Unless it is mandated in Baker's contract that he gets a certain amount of snaps at left tackle specifically.

Cousingeorgestone
Cousingeorgestone

Time will tell.  Not sure if "sticking with our philosophy" makes sense as TD claims, given his many whiffs in the draft while implementing that philosophy.  Agree with you on going small with DB's while everybody is loading up on big wide outs.  That will come back to haunt them I'll wager.  Also, I think Safety will still be a huge problem and let's see who turns out to be the better Tackle, Matthews or Lewan.   I think perhaps they could have used Lewan's nastiness, notwithstanding the issues he may have had.  After all, what happened to getting "tougher"!!!????

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Very excited to see how the ground game develops. Go Falcons!!

sleepyhollow
sleepyhollow

If the Falcons can get a push up the middle with their pass rush, the edge rush should automatically improve. Hopefully with the additions in the middle of the DL, that is exactly what will happen

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Forgot to mention the RB. Didn't we need a 240lb back to punch it in at short and goal? We'll see how they pan out but our draft team sure didn't take the road most traveled.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Hmmh...didn't they pick a short-armed tackle a few years ago? And now a short-armed safety with issues? And the <6' corner when everyone is loading up with 6'5" receivers? Well, I guess they're thinking outside the box. I don't think the staff will have 3 years to find out if they were good picks when so many teams filled holes in the later rounds of the draft. These guys better pan out in year 1 or Blank will be filling a couple of holes.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

See me in two years so I can grade this draft................until then no need to pass out grades! All we can do is hope it goes well! A grade at this point is totally off base.......did they fill some needs...YES.......with the team filling those needs; will these picks pan out and these guys step up and become BTP's? ( Big Time Players)..........see you this time next year to let you know! Until then, lets go Falcons! 

TrueFalconFan
TrueFalconFan

DLed- Have i missed something or is it just your own grading system we need further clarification of how you come to your grade????? let's play "WHAT IF's"???? What's your opinion if the Falcons had traded 4 picks to get #1 overall and only taken CLOWNEY, would your grade be A+ or what --- then say take out Matthews & Hageman --  what say you???


FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons earned a C-plus for this draft.


HE ATLANTA FALCONS 2014 DRAFT CLASS

Round 1 / 6 — Jake Matthews, RT, 6-5, 308, Texas A&M

Round 2/37 – Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, 6-6, Minnesota

Round 3/68 – Dezmen Southward, FS, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin

Round 4/103 – Devonta Freeman, RB, 5-8, 206, Florida State

Round 4/139 – Prince Shembo, LB, 6-1, 253 Notre Dame

Round 5/147 – Ricardo Allen, CB, 5-9, 187, Purdue

Round 5/168 – Marquis Spruill, LB, 6-1, 231, Syracuse

Round 7/253 – Yawin Smallwood, LB, 6-2, 246, Connecticut

Round 7/255 – Tyler Starr, LB, 6-4, 250, South Dakota


Really i understand "I think" your reasoning. However most fans on this blog want the major offensive impact skilled positon player taken. Instead the Falcons like most "winners" teams/management went after the HOGS/BULLS, LB's, DT's that blow-up plays and create opportunity........... 


FOLKS: Write it down, this draft could be the one if they stay healthy


Go Falcons

DHJohnson
DHJohnson

4 lb's, that tells us how disappointing SOME of our LB's are to management

ConfederateFlagBurner
ConfederateFlagBurner

C- 

Jake was great pick

Re'Shede a player with a low motor is NOT what we need. Attoachu was right there for the taking

Southward how many workout warriors are there in the draft. Turn on the tape. Gahbage. Terrance Brooks right there

Freeman sounds good but we need a TE

Allen an undersized CB when our division receivers are averaging 6'2 and taller.

And a bunch of after thought linebackers. 

#FireDimitroff

CavemanGamer
CavemanGamer

If you look at this draft and offseason through the prism of switching to a 3-4 then it was a good draft.  It usually takes 2 years to get the personnel to make the switch, but two things you have got to get to start with are big DT/DEs (which we did with Soliai, Jackson, Hageman, Rumph, Nix, Eguae, Smith and resigning Babs and Jerry) and you have to get more athletic linebackers (which we did starting last year with Worrilow and Bartu {whom some of you don't seem to remember TD signed as UDFAs last year} and this year with Shembo, Spruill, Smallwood, Starr, Daley, and May).  This entire off season indicates (despite what the front office says) that we are going to be using primarily a 3-4 base set.  So, one thing you have to remember is that a lot of your pass rush is going to come from your LB corps and not your DEs.  In that light, this was a pretty good draft.  On offense, in case you can't tell, we are going to be using more 3 and 4 WR sets rather than relying on the TE as the third best receiver on the team.  Our OC is a vertical passing offense guy.  He only used TG so much because he was the already here and when you have a first ballot hall of famer on your roster you find a way to use him, but that isn't really what he wants to do.  He wants to use 3 and 4 wr sets sending them vertical and in levels which is why we signed Hester.  You can bet he is going to be used in 4 wr sets a lot.  According to Peter King, the Falcons were trying to trade up to 3 and if they did, they still would have taken Matthews, not Mack... which tells you they plan to generate pass rush from elsewhere. 

Mr_Ected
Mr_Ected

Sure wish we could have picked up Connor Shaw to challenge as our back-up QB.  Looks like the Browns have already signed him.

RickinGrayson
RickinGrayson

I think that Ra'Shede Hageman will be the correct pick in the 2nd round.  Paul Soliai will not be our NT for too many years.  If they put Ra'Shede and Solai in as DT in their 4-3, won't that collapse the pocket up the center and allow our weaker DE's to close in on the QB?  I've see too many QB's simply step up in the pocket to avoid our DE's.


I've read that Hageman admitted to not giving his best effort as a sophomore and junior and that he worked harder as a senior.  Now that he is making serious money I believe that we will see his best effort as a Falcon and he is very strong now (32 reps at 225 lbs) and will get stronger in the Falcons training program.


We already have several young DE's that will be wasted picks if we don't see what they can produce this year and next.  After that we need to cut them and move on.

MikeisBack
MikeisBack

I give TD a B+...I see some playmakers in this group for sure. We filled some glaring needs and we build some quality depth.


Overall between FA and the Draft I'm extremely excited about the upcoming season for the BIRDS!!!!!!

Mr_Ected
Mr_Ected

Draft grades are fool's play.   The real question whether the draft PLUS free agency have netted us what we needed to upgrade the team.   Plus, we're still going to signing UFA and players other teams cut before the season.  We're a better team today than we were in January.  We have no idea how our defensive schemes and sets will determine whether the lack of an edge rusher will make or break this team.  That's why we play the game:  to see how these guys gel on the field.  I'm pretty sure than TD knows this was his make or break draft.  Pioli lurks in the wings.  

RBI
RBI

DLed, well written and accurate.  I agree with your grade, which is, I confess, somewhat due to my hope that it will turn out better than it looks now.  And, that is a pathetic commentary on a mediocre grade on the whole draft... especially after the Matthews pick was going to make the grade at least a C even if the Falcons had no other picks.

But, I am frustrated that it could have been soooo much better in the 3rd round (there were several better Safeties available), 5th, and 7th rounds (6th rounder was traded).  Freeman was an outstanding pick, so was Matthews.  There is hope that Hageman will turn out good, but taking him instead of known pass-rushing options like Ealy and Attaochu still leaves a major hole --- pressuring the QB.


The best I can hope for now is that Smitty and his staff can coach up what they have been handed by an incompetent drafter.  Thankfully, history over the past 5 years has proven that Smitty and his staff are capable of doing just that.  But, it would really be nice to see what could happen if they were handed a "Cadillac" quality draft instead of the "Saturn" quality Dimitroff continues to hand them.

slydawg
slydawg

The grade Dled gave is C plus, not C-. Bad UI/ copywriting again

RickinGrayson
RickinGrayson

If the Falcons can get to the point where they are drafting the BPA, then we can choose more highly rated players.  TD probably had to get a safety in the 3rd round and Dez was a reach at that point and that caused the Falcons to lose better players at other positions. 


Dez might end up being a good pick but he is a project that will have to get playing time this year, but the Falcons aren't very good at providing time on the field for developmental players.  Dez did have very good Pro-Day numbers and wanted to perform at the combine.  He had a 31 Wonderlic so he shouldn't struggle with the playbook.  Four or five other teams had Dez in for private workouts, so other teams had an interest in him.


If the Falcons weren't worried about taking Dez in the 3rd, we could have traded up in the 2nd to get Kony Ealy and that would have defined a much better draft for the Falcons.


A lack of planning and foresight at the safety position cost the Falcons dearly!  How do you not have a player being developed to replace DeCoud when the Falcons had already been thinking about releasing him before the 2013 season began?


The last couple of games of last season should have been used to develop players who never got to see the field.  We would've been drafting Kahlil Mack or Clowney if we hadn't "won" those two games late last season.  We could have been 2-14 last season instead of 4-12...what difference did it make except for the draft position.  This should have been a strategy decision made along with Arthur Blank.

Farcas
Farcas

As Jesse would say on Breaking Bad, "what up bi**hes"? Because that is what a lot of you sound like. It will take 2-3 years to grade this draft correctly as it does for every team in the NFL. When you combine the Falcon's F/A with their draft it is at least a B. Carry on bi**hes!

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Here's what I know, if the Falcons don't win Dimitroff and Smith will be out the door. I hope they succeed, if not then show them the door. The best think Smith did was bring in Tice and Bryan Cox. Smith better be more versatile than last year. He should of won at least 7 games based on his coaching ability., but that didn't happen.

GoTeam
GoTeam

In my opinion a B grade is more appropriate for Atlanta's draft class. Everyone knows what we have in Matthews. Anyone one doubting Hangeman will eat there words. He'll contribute somewhere along the defensive line alongside Paul Solai, Tyson Jackson, Babs,and Corey Peters. William Moore received some of the same criticism as Southward coming out and we all know his production level and his potential with someone who has some of the same qualities as he playing alongside him. Devonta Freeman is a good decisive back with exceptional vision and good agility. Adding linebacker depth in the later rounds increased competition during our bigger, stronger,faster campaign amongst our line backing core. Overall it was a good draft for us. We got more aggressive along the defense, fundamentally sound along the line, competitive amongst our LB's and athletic in the secondary. I have no complaints. At this point I am going to enjoy minicamp,training camp, and ota's.

kerryb
kerryb

You look bad when you give a C- and all of the people that do this for a living give them a B.  I saw the grades for each pick and all of them got at least a B grade.  Also there is no mention of Spruill the LB for Syracuse, his pick at where they got him was graded an A+.  That was higher than the Matthews pick.  That up down thing of Hagerman was his Sophomore and Junior years.  The article I read on him said that he realized that and improved his play his Senior year.  A lot of draft analyst gave him a 1st round grade.  Very good solid draft.  The Falcons need to improve their depth and along with the free agent signings they did that.

zuzu331
zuzu331

Good God Amighty,lets all argue with Sports Ilustrated,ESPN,NFL.COM and CBS Sports! Wow!

AtlantaStu
AtlantaStu

Thank you Orlando for not being a homer - someone who thinks everything the home team does is great and perfect. I also gave Falcons C-. Kudos for being disciplined to get Matthews. But they lost that discipline by going for BPA in 2nd round, as opposed to getting edge pass rusher. A HUGE stretch at safety. After getting a good RB, they scrambled like crazy to get what they really needed after Matthews: Linebackers. Only one I like is Yarwin Smallwod at ILB. Falcons will get shredded by NFL QBs next year by not having good OLBs, a decent FS, nor a pass rush. Oh, one other reason for the C- is because many of the players selectewd - especially the Spruill kid who we gave up 2 picks to jump back into the 5th round to get - could have been had in later rounds. Poor draft management, IMO

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Let me see, as of today no single draft pick has played even one down in the NFL. Until then, nobody's grade means anything. Time would be better spent rating LAST YEAR's draft.

slydawg
slydawg

FYI... Seattle is the only team that can claim success with low round draft picks. SF cannot and for future reference, folks need to stop saying that. They sucked for so long, Harbaugh basically walked into a loaded team both Nolan and Singletary had already put together. Alex Smith, Kaepernick, Willis, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Dashon Gholston, Crabtree, Gore, etc., etc., etc. were not lower round picks.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

Sorry .. rambled.


My whole point ... if you are grading the Falcons on getting every last piece in order to win it all this year then the grade will be lower.  If you look at this as a two-year puzzle, then the Falcons did fairly well.  One more good off-season and we could be ready.  Unfortunately both Seattle and San Fran are a few years away from having to make tough cap decisions on young players and until then they are going to be hard to beat.

TrueFalconFan
TrueFalconFan

@slydawg  Sam Baker was drafted #1 shortly after MR2 #1 3rd player taken ---- They both started day ONE, so what's your beef?

RBI
RBI

@traderjoe9 Steven Jackson is a 240 lb back the Falcons can use in short yardage.  Freeman most closely relates to Warrick Dunn... hopefully, he will live up to that comparison.

RBI
RBI

@AnsweredTHIS OK, then, Mr. Procastinator, tell us how you grade the Falcons draft from 2 yrs ago.  Don't just kick it down the road.

DJlaysitup
DJlaysitup

@CavemanGamer

Good analysis.  While I'm not a big fan of the 3-4 defense...if you are going to run it you gotta have the right type players to do it.  I think the kid from Syracuse might be a pleasant surprise.

JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331

I'm going to enjoy this one more than when ijonathan had to live through that 2010 pounding from the Packers! Why? Because it is you! College football was made for people like you. You revel in 13-3, 10-6, 11-5, 9-7; but get quiet as heck when those playoff meltdowns occur! 

JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331

"They won more than their share of shootouts. Thats not opinion,thats FACT."

With who? San Francisco? Green Bay? The NY Giants, The Arizona Cardinals? BS! I'll give you Ryan, Julio, and Roddy any damn day of the week and 4 out of 6 times in a game of true significance (that means playoffs), they are gonna roll snake eyes! And with no Tony Gonzalez, too...Heck you like walking through Chernobyl for fun don't you? 

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

And in the likely event S. Jax is nursing a hangnail... they also picked up Bear Pascoe who can play FB.

JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331  

They didn't make the playoffs in 2013, don't worry, your day is coming! You'll have something in common with a certain banished blogger named IJonathan (his shame was great, multiple Falcons playoff failures sealed that fate)! 

My goodness you are a simpleton. It is not that you mentioned college football, however, it is a form of the game tailor-made for your silly trains of thought about what is relevant (blah-blah-blah "winning seasons). It is about Super Bowls...Boss! Being a winning regular season franchise doesn't mean squat! You have to cash those chips in! That is the point, that is the stuff that has relegated the Kansas City, Minnesota, and the Cleveland's of the NFL to the position of missed opportunities and lamenting those chances. The Falcons and Chargers are on that same shelf now! Nobody but "fans" like you are impressed by that mess! You only "confounded" because you're just not bright! How many freaking "winning seasons in a row do the Seahawks and 49ers have? I want you to that bold face lie that you'd not trade either of their rosters for the current Falcons one. If you do, you're crazy than I thought! Crap, Denver threw a hand grenade to major parts of their roster, that is courage!


JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331  

Why you bringing Dan Reeves and Jim Mora into this for? You people claim that you can't do that! That means you have to judge those "lesser talents" against that juggernaut of Ryan, Dimitroff, and Smith back-to-back winning seasons and equally great playoff meltdowns on the table!  Heck, Glanville won more playoff games than Smith! Chris Miller was more clutch, heck he won a road playoff game!!! You're a freaking piece of work!

It's no crap shoot when when you have depth! Ask New England, they didn't go belly up! But guess who laid a 4-12 egg (surrounded by your excuses)?

zuzu331
zuzu331

@JSSN Huh?  iJonathon? Not sure what that means. Just when exactly have I been QUIET about anything? When did I mention College Football,(other than the fact that UGA has beaten Wisconsin the past few times they have been in Bowl Games) ? Being insulted by you is more confounding as it is anything,because Its tough to tell what the Hell youre talking about!

zuzu331
zuzu331

@JSSN  OK,your contention is that the Falcons havent won,correct? Well, it is a fact they have won their share:1978 Falcons WON Wild Card Playoffs vs Eagles 14-13. 1991 Falcons WON Wild Card Playoffs vs Saints  27-20.

1998 Falcons WON Divisional Playoffs vs 49rs 20-18. Falcons WON Conference Championship vs Vikings 30-27. 2002 Falcons WON Divisional Playoffs vs Rams 47-17. 2012 Falcons WON Divisonal Playoffs vs Seahawks 30-28. Also to say "it is just being realistic about where they may be" isnt really saying anything. They may be 0-16,they may be world beaters. Its all a crapshoot.


zuzu331
zuzu331

@BeastOPSDunn was a 180 lb speedster,Freeman is a solid 205 or so,more like Frank Gore. He torched Miami and Auburn,among others,last year for some tough between the tackles and goal line runs