Posted: 12:49 pm Monday, May 12th, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: ESPN’s McShay on Falcons’ moves 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay shared his thoughts on the Falcons’ draft class today.

He liked the draft overall, especially the Matthews pick. He believes that the Falcons got first-round value when they picked defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman in the second-round. The Dezmen Southward pick in the third-round was a head-scratcher for him and he liked the pick of running back Devonta Freeman in the fourth round.

Here’s what he had to say about the Falcons’ top four picks:

ON MATTHEWS: “I really liked the Falcons draft. Jake Matthews makes all the sense in the world. . . .He brings that versatility. …He was one of the five best players in the draft and they got him at six. At the end of the day, they didn’t have to trade around and give up other picks in order to go get a player that they desperately needed in order to protect Matt Ryan. That was a bigger need than getting a pass rusher.”

ON HAGEMAN: “With Hageman at 37, they get a player that a lot of teams, from a talent standpoint, he’s a first round talent. Now, there is some baggage there. He just had a brutal upbringing. What he went through early in his life, you don’t wish on anyone. You can understand that there have been some issues in his life with anger management and so on, but you understand it and that’s the best way to put it. But he’s turned his life around. He’s doing the right things. He’s working hard. At Minnesota they did a good job of … basically, what they taught him, he did. He wasn’t on the field a ton compared to some of these other top prospects. I think he’s coachable. I think he has areas of his game that he can improve. …He has to play with better leverage. He’s got to be more consistent with his hands. He’s got long arms. He moves well. He’s a massive dude and … he’s got just a ton of potential. He’s one of the real physical freaks in this draft. I think they got a good value at 37 and certainly someone that they can at least rotate in this coming season and get some pass rush out of.”

ON SOUTHWARD: “Dezmen Southward, we had him in the fourth round. They took him in the third. Other teams had him in the third as well. He’s got versatility because he’s played cornerback and played safety. He’s got speed and explosiveness. He had really good workout numbers. I don’t think he was a complete reach, but it just varies from team to team. I think he is a pretty good player and has some experience. He can play in multiple spots and I think he’s going to be a good contributor, probably early on in their nickel or dime and he can wind up helping on special teams as well.”

ON FREEMAN: “I love Davonta Freeman. It takes a lot of tape study to figure out how good he can be. I’ve heard Ray Rice junior, but I don’t quite see that. But he runs hard. Everything he does, he does it at 100 miles per hour. He has good vision. He senses cut back lanes and for a small guy, he’s going to break some tackles. He runs with good pad level and he catches the ball effectively out of the backfield.”

CONCLUSION: “I thought overall they did a good job with those first four picks and throughout the draft.”

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

24 comments
GSU93
GSU93

I think the Falcons should have a very solid OL going forward. That's something no one has been able to say in a long time.

countryboyy
countryboyy

i feel it was a good draft  i feel they can pick up some players that  wasnt drafted  and have good luck with them one thing for sure they didnt  trade away all their draft choices that is good and get good players to 

zuzu331
zuzu331

I have to disagree with the Matthews doubters and Im not alone. Matt Millen said,"Jake Matthews was probably potty trained in the right stance." While Robinson and Lewan may have had some better numbers Matthews has been raised to do this his Entire Life. CBS Sport's Dane Brugler said:"Matthews isn't the longest, strongest or meanest, but he's a coordinated athlete with smooth body control and natural balance. A true technician, the game appears to come easy to him with his football smarts and scouts believe he can excel at any of the five offensive line spots in the NFL." I honestly believe you could hand the average Falcons Fan a hundred dollar bill and they would find a million different ways to piss and moan about it.

DJlaysitup
DJlaysitup

We all seem to be assessing the "other picks" and tend to give Jake Matthews the "seal of approval".

I'm not so sure that Jake is the "heir apparent" at left tackle and a future pro-bowler.  What I think we can say is - he will come in and do a respectable job at RT as a "rookie"....remember, he will be a rookie.

Let's remember that even though he played in the SEC and has great bloodlines - he hasn't seen the speed and schemes he will see in the NFL yet. Quickness may be a bit of an issue.  While he has proto-typical size for his position...he didn't exactly blow away the competition on strength or speed drills.

I think he was a good safe pick - at a position of need - but let's not get too carried away until we see him up against NFL DEs.

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

only one sec guy this is why this team has been losing since 1966 and it will continue too , the falcons will not make playoffs in 2015  no way

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Pretty favorable assessment, especially considering how the Falcons targeted their needs, and I tend to agree. But (1) these guys haven't played a single down of NFL football yet, and (2) who is Todd McShay?

Tallcarl
Tallcarl

Falcon Fans and others please remember that this coaching staff had a chance to work with the North all-stars in the bowl game so they saw the toughness, determination and ability of some players you never heard of before. I have a felling that they have a couple rough diamonds. That cowboy (Star) from the small conference school looks like a good one. He has fantastic closing speed, large frame. long arms and hands and a nose for the ball and I believe they plan on using him similar to Koy. Separate or together would be assume. I like this draft all started a lot of games for their school, no preMadonna's.

TheRealJay
TheRealJay

Love all the LB pick ups. Nolan should be able to pick some guys he can mix and match with various skill sets.

MikeisBack
MikeisBack

Dled, I didn't know Hagman's story before the draft...When his name was called...HIS REACTION...after getting Jake in the First Round...MAN i GOT CHARGE UP!!LOL


Heck, I end up missing the remainder of the Draft



DirtyBird504
DirtyBird504

BTW...  I am really feeling the move to get Devonte Freeman...  Great way to replace Jason Snelling...

DirtyBird504
DirtyBird504


Very solid daft....  I give it a B+ to A-.  We didn't make the splash in the pass rush department though.  However with the draft picks and free agents it appears that we have definitely addressed the issues with the line of scrimmage. 

RangeRover
RangeRover

Daryl, 

Please tell that person to stop squeezing your stomach when you speak.  LOL!


NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

Pretty solid overall picks. Big questions remain at backup QB, tight end, and also at center. Kony Early or the Center from USC would have made a lot of sense in round 3.  We made some very good FA moves which should improve the Oline ... and we made several defensive picks. Can't wait for the season to crank up.

MSFalconFan
MSFalconFan

I think the draft provided this team with some really good players.  The real question is how is Training Camp going to be run this year.  Are they going to be afraid to get physical and protect against injury like last year.  It was evident that this team was soft last year in the preseason games and before the injuries. 


I hope they actually have that open competition that MS so easily declares every year at this time.  I doubt it would happen, but if any of the 3 LB at the end of the draft that were selected beat Spoon out, then sit him. 

kerryb
kerryb

Shows that all of these complaining Falcon fans no nothing of what they are talking about.

UGA76
UGA76

@GSU93 I hope you are right but Baker is a huge question mark.  Blalock can play but the rest are iffy at best.  I see the OL as 2/5 finished and we will be drafting OL guys very early again next year. 

DJlaysitup
DJlaysitup

@GSU93 ...well we have a LT who is borderline and has been injured...we have a rookie RT...and we didn't draft any interior guys.  Now we did do some work in free agency...but I would call it questionable at best.

DJlaysitup
DJlaysitup

@zuzu331 ...all I'm saying is that he is still an unproven rookie in the NFL.  Were I to bet, I would bet that he will be very good.  I'm just not putting him in the pro-bowl yet.

ForeverATL
ForeverATL

@reallygroovy

2008 11–5 (playoffs)

2009 9–7

2010 13–3 (playoffs)

2011 10–6 (playoffs)

2012 13–3 (playoffs)

2013 4-12 (first losing season under Smith and Co.)


Really man whats the point of posting this ridiculous comment? Do you honestly think only good players in this country come from the SEC? 

zuzu331
zuzu331

@reallygroovy  Five players from the SEC were signed among the undrafted free agents.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@MSFalconFan 
Soft is an understatement of what we saw last Summer. They flat out stunk, kind of like a 4-12 team.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@DJlaysitup @zuzu331  Yep I agree. It would be fun If everything came back together,though. Im just glad they didnt trade all their picks away.