TAMPA – Let’s just skip the grades this week.
It was a game effort as the Falcons circled the wagons against Tampa Bay. They threw out the “players-only” meeting card. But that wasn’t enough as they came up short against the Bucs and their fine rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.
It’s no longer about the 2015 season, it’s about the future after the Falcons, who dropped their fifth in a row, are still grading out pretty low.
They played hard and rallied twice against the Bucs, but the Falcons are a ways off from playing winning football and legitimate playoff contenders.
It’s “Tell the Truth Monday” and we’ve got to tell the truth. If you think the Falcons are going to run the table, I’ve got some land in Arizona to sale.
With two of the next three games against the Panthers, the Falcons will be getting ready for the draft soon. So, we need to make sure that the Falcons get some players who can help over the long haul. They need to draft the biggest and boldest player who shows up on the draft board.
With the Falcons waiving offensive tackle Lamar Holmes on Saturday, they don’t have any players left from the shaky 2012 NFL draft.
It was the draft after the Falcons made the deal with Cleveland to get wide receiver Julio Jones. The Falcons were hoping to re-stock the offensive line in the 2012 draft and took center Peter Konz in the second round and Holmes in the third round.
The hope was that Konz would take over at center for Todd McClure or at least develop into a guard.
The affable Konz did neither.
Holmes, who was a projected fifth-round pick by most of the draftniks, could have been selected later. He was a project that the Falcons thought they could turn in a legitimate NFL starter.
The proverbial boom of bust pick. We can now be moved him over to the bust category.
Let’s take a look back at the draft and see the players the Falcons passed on.
In the second round, the Falcons selected Konz with the 55th pick and passed on quarterback Brock Osweiler, who was taken two picks later and appears to be the heir-apparent to Peyton Manning in Denver. No real draft crime there, the Falcons didn’t need a quarterback-in-waiting at the time. However, Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David was selected 58th and could have helped the defense.
David, the hero with that late interception in the Bucs’ win on Sunday, has started 58 games and has been named an All-Pro once.
He was clearly the better player on the board. If the Falcons wanted to draft need, offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele went to Baltimore with the 60th pick. He has started 46 games for the Ravens at right tackle and left guard for the Ravens.
In the third round, the Falcons selected Holmes with the 91st pick. Indianapolis selected wide receiver T.Y. Hilton with the next pick and he was the best player available. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and has started 36 of 57 games for the Colts.
If the Falcons wanted to take need, Bobby Massie, who played in the SEC at Mississippi, was the next tackle selected by Arizona with the 112th pick. He’s started 41 games for the Cardinals and has turned out to be a much better player than Holmes.
A mistake was made in the evaluation of the tackles.
In the fifth round, the Falcons, who were trying to move on from fullback Ovie Mughelli, selected Wisconsin fullback Bradie Ewing with the 157th pick. They selected defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi with the 164th pick.
There wasn’t much between 157 and 164, but 10 picks after Massaquoi, the Redskins selected running back Alfred Morris with the 173rd pick and Minnesota picked kicker Blair Walsh with the 175th pick. Morris has started 60 games and rushed for more than 4,000 yards. He could have been the heir apparent to Michael Turner and there would have been no need to sign Steven Jackson in free agency in 2013.
Walsh, the gritty former Georgia Bulldog who has been to one Pro Bowl, would have been the young kicker.
In the sixth round, the Falcons selected defensive back Charles Mitchell out of Mississippi State with the 192nd pick.
In the seventh round, the Falcons selected defensive tackle Travian Robertson out of South Carolina with the 249th pick.
No real draft crimes are committed in the sixth or seventh round. That’s where you take a gamble on linemen or try to stack a position for competition’s sack.
The Falcons did signed long snapper Josh Harris and tackle Bryce Harris, who’s currently on the roster, as undrafted rookie free agents in 2012.
Here’s the list of the undrafted players the Falcons signed in 2012: Minnesota-Mankato TE Lamark Brown; Cal WR Michael Calvin; Tennessee State LB Rico Council; East Carolina QB Dominique Davis; Montclair State S Chad Faulcon; Kutztown RB Robbie Frey; Pittsburgh LB Max Gruder; Fresno State OT Byrce Harris; Alabama LB Jerrell Harris; Auburn LS Harris; Miami OL Tyler Horn; Lamar WR Marcus Jackson; Kansas State DT Ray Kibble; Toledo G Phillip Manley; South Carolina CB Marty Markett; Central Florida TE Adam Nissley; Wisconsin DE Lewis Nzegwu; Huntingdon WR Cody Pearcy; Miami DT Micanor Regis; Oregon State WR James Rodgers; Northern Illinois LB Pat Schiller; San Jose State CB Peyton Thompson; Clemson P Dawson Zimmerman.
So, here’s our Falcons 2012 draft re-do:
(First) No. 1 pick, went to Cleveland in Jones trade. They selected quarterback Brandon Weeden. (The Browns wasted the pick. They passed on tackle Riley Rieff, guard David DeCastro, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back Doug Martin and safety Harrison Smith.)
(Second) Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
(Third) Bobbie Massie, T, Mississippi
(Fifth) Alfred Morris, RB, Florida Atlantic
(Fifth) Blair Walsh, PK, Georgia
(Sixth) Charles Mitchell, DB, Mississippi
(Seventh) Travian Robertson, DT, South Carolina
What do you all think? Who would you have pick? Here’s the full 2012 draft.
The Falcons fell to the Buccaneers, 23-19, and have now lost five in a row. CineSport’s Chad Cutler and The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter discuss what went wrong for the slumping Falcons.
GAME COVERAGE — BUCCANEERS 23, FALCONS 19