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  1. A "rebuild" was never an option. Both Smith and Fontenot took this job with the understanding that they'd be retooling, not rebuilding. The owner wants to win now. Otherwise, this wasn't a good opportunity. (cap **** + rebuild?). All of this was discussed (and agreed to) PRIOR to hiring, between the owner/front office, the GM, and the Head Coach. All the eval around QB is due diligence, and to take a good, hard look at a potential succession plan at the most important position, since the #4 pick presents a great opportunity. Again, told "win NOW, but you do what you want at QB." Its pretty obvious what the choice is. The question came down to "Do we pick somebody who helps us win right away?" (the likely choice) or "Is the QB (the succession plan) just too good to pass up?" We'll never know what would have happened had Trey Lance slid to us, but in the end, it worked out for us.
  2. A Georgia fan here, so I've watched me some Ojulari. Things to like about him: Has a PHENOMENAL bend around the edge, and shows a motor. Cares about winning. Although an undersized end, will fight to get to ball carrier, against much bigger OTs. Oh yeah, can rush with his hand in the dirt, or standing up... Of all of Georgia's studs on defense this year, he really stood out, in terms of setting a tone. Lots to like here, and very moldable, with the right coaching, I think. The knocks: The same problem that plagued Vic Beasley all his career. At this point, Ojulari is still a one trick pony (speed rusher). Hasn't developed enough counter moves, which is needed against NFL tackles. He'll need to work on this to succeed. (As an aside, frustrating to see UGA get all these stud DEs/rush OLBs, but not develop them)... At this point in his career, he's purely a speed rusher that needs to add more to his arsenal. He got away with it Georgia, but won't on Sundays.
  3. All your choices will upgrade the team, but personally, I'd like to see the team take either the best available CB or interior lineman (experienced with zone blocking). My reasoning is that our Oline needs shoring in the middle, and if we're really going to lean on Matt Ryan delivering the ball to our 3 monsters, then he can't have constant pressure in his face (40+ sacks, the last 3 years). On defense, we need a reliable 2nd CB (to help an underwhelming pass rush). Ojulari would be solid, if our backend could hold up, but right now, we can't rush the passer, and we don't have enough solid corners. I'd go CB first, since there's a run going on with them that started in the latter 1st round. We can always aim for a mid round pass rush specialist (or get whoever's left in the FA pile) in weak year. About Moehrig: This is a deep class for safeties, so we may be able to get someone in the 3rd, possibly even 4th. The knock on Moehrig is that he's not physical (doesn't like to tackle). He's a centerfielder, something we definitely need, but a safety that doesn't like to tackle is a pass for me. About Williams: Won't be upset at all with this pick, but right now, I don't trust our line, as a whole unit, to adequately protect Matt Ryan, or to adequately open holes in the run game. Both are question marks, which is why I'd rather go Oline before a RB.
  4. I agree here. Either trading back in the 2nd, and getting an extra 3rd, or packaging some later picks, to get an extra 3rd. If we come out of tomorrow with potential starters at LG and CB or S, then I'll be happy with Day 2. The one position that may have a significant drop off, though, is RB. If it's seen as a big need, then we may have to grab one tomorrow.
  5. Not sure if you guys watch Chris Simm’s podcast, but here’s his eval of the Safeties... Very deep, 10-12 potential starters. Safeties are hard evals, because in college, a lot are playing nickel. What he values: all purpose, traditional safeties. Fly downhill, tackle, zero hesitation. Acceleration more important than top end speed. Pound for pound, the most fearless guys, hence careers are short. 1. Andre Cisco. Range is special. Similar physique to Jamal Adams, flips hips, goes, like Ardarius Washington, but bigger. Physically a killer, can play in the box. Good ball skills. Overaggressive and ACL history, but made for the NFL. 2. Elijah Moulden. Comp is Jesse Bates of the Bengals. Played nickel in college, Good (not great) coverage due to hips. The best open field tackler of all DBs in the draft. Physical, closes holes, accelerates. Better than Buddha Baker coming out. 3. Javon Holland. Nickel in college, but a Safety in the NFL. Good size, also a big time punt returner. Legit physicality to play in the box. In coverage, only put him on bigger, less fluid receivers. Sets the edge, meets blocks, blows up plays. Comp: Buddha Baker or Jimmie Ward. Weakness is hips, hence a Safety. 4. Ardarius Washington. Better than Moerig, his teammate. Think Honey Badger. 5’8 178, but explosive ball of muscle. Range is the best of the group. Hips of a corner. Played cover 1, halves, quarters. Amazing downhill, and hips are awesome. Great open field tackler. Phenomenal prospect, who could even be a nickel, due to hips. Breaks on the ball, accelerates. Not as rocked up as Antoine Winfield, but the same aggression. 5. Sean Davis. Your traditional, violent tackler. Brings it. Can cover. Good not great hips. Diagnoses the right gaps. Not a top end athlete, but the first 10 yards, can move. Comp is Bob Sanders in build and style, even Rayshaun Jenkins. Other guys he likes: Kerry Vincent and Paris Ford. Richie Grant reminds him of Eddie Jackson (Not elite, but lots of good). The big surprise - Not fond of Trevon Moerig. A CB without elite CB skills. Plays Safety, but doesn’t like to tackle. Measurables and the PBUs helped him, but on film, avoids tackles. Purely a FS, with good range, hips. Can matchup with TEs. Will avoid filling the hole in the run game. Not enough physicality, will get overdrafted. Sees similar in Melifonwu. Tall, lumbering. Too big to cover small guys. Doesn’t like to tackle, despite being built like a brickhouse. Simm's could be wrong, of course, but I respect a guy who actually played in the league, and watches film, rather than just accepting the group think that goes into rankings.
  6. What I expect in year 1: The need to manufacture a pass rush. Will work on some Sundays, but not likely enough to rely on. We still don't have any true edge rushers who can win 1 on 1 consistently, and the NFL is all about consistently winning matchups. The problem is, this is a weak class for edge rushers, and we don't have enough cap room to sign impact players. The best way then to help a weak/inconsistent pass rush is to buy them time through coverage. This means that we'll likely invest early in CB and S in the upcoming draft. To complimentary football on offense, we'll need the ability to both win shootouts, and also control enough clock with a running game. This is why I personally prefer to invest in Oline with our 1st pick. The strength of our team is Offense, but it has a glaring hole in protection, in the middle. The way our team is constructed, the best path to winning is to score often. I don't expect miracles out of this defense, but if we can somehow reach the middle of the pack, then we will have a shot on most Sundays. One thing we can expect is less predictability on defense, because we will have to scheme more out of necessity. Prediction: 18th to 26th, depending on how well we draft and the secondary coming together. Finding impact edge rushers won't happen this year.
  7. Agree with this comment (and some of the others). We don't have all the personnel to play "ground and pound" if that means a downhill running game, like the Ravens or Cowboys. We're better suited for zone blocking, which is what Arthur Smith likes to do (and what Shanahan did in 2016). LT: Jake Matthews is a lighter tackle, who moves well in space. RT and RG: McGary and Lindstrom are both big bodies, but Lindstrom, in particular, was drafted, because he gets to the 2nd level well. Center: Hennessy is purely a zone guy. LG: Part of our problem the last two years is that we had no consistent philosophy for our run game. Carpenter and Brown were not suited for zone blocking. To improve our running game, we focus on zone-blocking (based on our personnel), and commit to a running game. This will improve the ratio of run to pass plays. Executing successfully will also open up play action.
  8. Very good write up @Romfal. I'm in the camp that prefers a trade back (somewhere in the Top 15), if someone offers a King's ransom for #4. Assuming we stay at #4, can't be mad at all with Pitts. Some thoughts on your next few picks: *Round 2: If both Samuels, Jr. and Campbell are available, I'd rather go with Campbell. He's the bigger and more explosive athlete, who can play bump and run. His game tape vs. both Pitts and the Bama receivers are good. Samuels is more of an off corner, so I'd prefer Campbell here. (But I won't be mad if we get Samuels -- he's still a legit NFL DB). *Round 3: A deep draft for lineman, and my god does our interior O-Line need help. Good pickup here, but I don't think Landon Dickerson or even Creed Humphrey will last this long. Your pick could push at both C and LG, so good choice. *Round 4: Truth be told, I don't much about this guy. However, I do know that Richie Grant and Andre Cisco are NFL safeties. Grant is more of a SS, I believe, and Cisco can play both (but has some injury history). This is a deep draft for Safeties, so if we snag a potential starter this far in, I'd be ecstatic. *Round 5: Getting Jamie Newman in the 5th sounds about right. In 2-3 years, he might turn into something. If not, he only cost us a 5th. *The rest of the guys, I know nothing about, so will take it for what it is. Long story short, your mock brings in a game changer, a 2nd corner, more competition on the interior line and safety, and also a 2nd QB with potential upside. Lots to like here. As for me, I prefer a trade back, grab one of the top O-linemen (even a Tackle, which means reshuffling the line), then focus on the secondary (both CB, and S), a pass rusher, and RB, with the extra picks in the 2nd/3rd. Pretty much in that order. Because we're tied to Matt Ryan for 2 (maybe even 3) more years, I'm all about protecting him, which is why I'd rather trade up, go Oline first, and add more quality players throughout the roster. No matter what, I think we'll have a much stronger team come next week.
  9. @g-dawg Great write up (as always). My own thoughts (posted under a different thread earlier). I think the most impactful and safest bet in the 1st Round is the O-Line. I know it's not sexy, but it's what will lead to wins in the short term. At #4, if we go non-QB, I'd rather take Sewell over Pitts. Here's my reasoning: With Mack's departure, our line is now even worse (and we're already a line that's given up 40+ sacks a year for 3 years in a row). Sewell helps out both in pass pro and the run game immediately. I know it means having two LTs, but I'd start him out at LG, or perhaps even supplant McGary at RT. I think protecting Ryan is crucial to getting us back into the playoff contention, and right now, I just don't see our line being up to the challenge vs. the Saints and the Bucs (or any of the pass rushes we could face in the playoffs, like the Rams, 49ers, WFT, or even the Packers). If we trade down, I say aim for Slater. If in the middle/later part of the 1st round, go Vera-Tucker, Darrisaw, or Jenkins (assuming these guys are competent at ZBS). For me, Pitts, Julio, and Ridley is a great luxury, but what will actually lead to more wins is keeping Ryan upright on crucial downs. If you don't believe me, see how the Chiefs fared against the Bucs in the Super Bowl. All that speed and all those weapons didn't matter. The added factor: a dominant lineman only improves our run game. Year after year, we have trouble converting a 3rd and short. Let's fix this, once and for all, and since we have Ryan for 2 more years (minimum), let's give him more time to potentially pick a defense apart.
  10. I think it comes down to "Who can help us win NOW, down to down. We have Matt Ryan for 2, maybe 3 more years, assuming that we don't go QB at #4. If this is the case, then the best shot at winning is keeping him upright. For 3 years in a row, he's been sacked 40+ times, and that was with Alex Mack, who we don't have anymore. How many one score games have we lost the last few years? How many times did a drive stall in the red zone? How many times did we fail on a crucial 3rd and 3 or 4th and 3? Let's start with our own division: Imagine facing the Bucs or the Saints, and it's the 4th quarter, and we need to convert a 4th and 3. Do you trust our line against their D-lines, in that situation? (Now, we're minus Alex Mack) So much of the NFL now comes down to one score games, where one or two crucial downs determine the ball game. Again, ask yourself, our current line (minus Mack) vs. the D lines in our own division: do we win over 50% of the time? Imagine we get into the playoffs. Do you trust us against the Rams, 49ers, WFT, or Packers, same situation? I'm for fixing this problem once and for all. If we stay at #4, grab Sewell. (Play him at LG at first, and if you don't like that idea, ask yourself, would you take Quentin Nelson at #4, if he were available?). If we trade back to #9, grab someone like Slater. If we go back to #15, maybe someone like Christian Darrisaw or Teven Jenkins. I know it ain't sexy (or even popular), but it's about winning now. Pitts, Julio, Ridley, and Gage sound great on paper, but giving Ryan one more second in the pocket could be the difference in winning the one score games. (Not to mention, helping out the much needed running game).
  11. If we're able to trade back from #4, into the teens, a player worth considering is Azeez Ojulari. While he's not a true DE, he'd be perfect as an edge rusher, and he's put enough on tape to show that he's naturally gifted at bending the edge. Based on projections, he may not last into Day 2.
  12. The Falcon's o-line is the toughest part of the team to evaluate, because of lack of commitment to the run game. The problems were a combo of poor play design and coaching, as well as consistency from the players -- but I mostly, it points more to coaching. Here's what I saw: 1) Predictability. Because we didn't run the ball well, d-lines played aggressively towards rushing the passer. Combine this with our long developing plays, it led to more opportunities for sacks. 40+ sacks for the 3rd year in a row. 2) Losing the physical battle. No running game means no counterpunch. It's the only way that an offensive line gets to punch back, rather than playing on their heels. This is a recipe for how teams lose the battle at the line of scrimmage. 3) No consistent philosophy re: running the ball, especially between the 20s. Were we an inside zone team? An outside zone team? A trapping team? (Definitely not a power team). If there's no consistency to what we do, it becomes harder to execute as a unit (where all 5-6 guys must be in sync). This led to missed assignments, plays getting blown up, and yes, more holding to avoid getting beat. The run game looked awful, because of this. (It also led to blowing leads). 4) Lack of play action. We ranked near the bottom of the league for running play-action. This relates to #1. It goes without saying, if there's not even a threat of a run, makes life easier for defenses. 5) Inopportune penalties. This one is on the players. There were many promising drives that got killed by calls. I know that holding technically happens every play, but for some reason, we seemed to get flagged when we were moving ball. Led to drives getting killed, or having to settle for field goals. What I think Arthur Smith will do: 1) Commit to a run philosophy. Based on his evaluation of the current o-line, they will commit to the particular run scheme that best suits who we have. We will likely base our drafting of RBs, based on this also. 2) Run more play action. Was a staple of the Tennessee offense. Matt Ryan's also been successful running it. 3) Commit to more balance between run and pass. This will allow the offensive line to play more aggressively, while also protecting the QB. To answer your question, the line was a "C" last year, but I think much of it is product of poor coaching.
  13. I got into Bitcoin about 3 years ago, just as it was reaching its first big peak, then ended up losing roughly 60%, as it slid over the next two years. I just left it alone, because I went into it understanding that it would be volatile. Last year (to now), its shooting towards 40k (at 38k as of today), so I'm up 300% 😅. I think it's one of those things to put some of your money in, to hedge against a dollar collapse, but nothing substantial that you'll end up needing quickly. The biggest drawbacks, in my opinion, are 1) the ease of liquidity -- takes too long to buy or sell (unlike stocks via online platforms), 2) the fees to convert between dollars and cryptocurrency (and vice versa) are extremely high, and 3) yes, Coinbase has really poor user experience. Coinbase is set to go public very soon, but I'd like to see other players in the game. Again, their UX is pretty poor.
  14. The top defenses are a mix of 1) a consistent identity, 2) good players, and 3) a scheme that matches the talent (as well as playing complimentary football). The greatest example, most years, is Pittsburgh. 1) Everyone knows that they will a) impose their will at the line, and b) that they will bring pressure. This was true with the Steel Curtain in the 1970s, as well as **** Lebeau's units of the 90s and 2000s (which still dominates their philosophy). 2) They invest heavily on defense. Their #1 picks in the last 10 years include Cameron Heyward, TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Terrell Edmunds. Stephon Tuitt was a #2. Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick came via trades or free agency. (This is the core of the current defense). 3) They have a core philosophy and scheme, and draft accordingly. It hasn't changed much even into the Tomlin years. They look for physically imposing space eaters upfront (Hampton, Heyward, Tuitt), linebackers who bring pressure (Greene, Harrison, Porter, Woodley, Watt), as well as versatile safeties (Polamalu, Fitzpatrick). Now, about the Falcons getting a Top 10 defense: 1) I can count on one hand the times that the Falcons had a defensive identity. a) The Nobis years (before my time), b) The Gritz Blitz (1978), c) Glanville's first year (1991), d) the "Bomb Squad" (the '98 Super Bowl team), and e) the "Fast and Physical" mantra of 2016-2017. Usually these were short-lived, one-year wonders. Why? Contrast our defensive identity with Pittsburgh's, and you can see why. Namely, we don't have one. 2) We've had some good defensive players, but just not enough consistently at the same time. In my lifetime, there's been Deion Sanders, Tuggle, Abraham, Kerney, Weatherspoon, Deion Jones, Grady Jarrett... The problem is our organizational philosophy: starting in the 90s, we've invested heavily on being an offensive team that plays indoors. Starting with Vick and going into the Matt Ryan years, we've focused our resources on offense, which means that our defenses, even at their best, have been middle of the pack, and at their worst, towards the bottom. This also means that we have little room for errors in the draft and free agency. Think of who we've missed in modern times. In the draft, Jerry, Hageman, Collins, Beasley, and McKinley. In free agency, Edwards, Solei, Jackson, Fowler. Missing so much leads to filling our roster with complimentary players (and even over-valuing them when rookie contracts are up: examples, like K Bierman, R. Allen). We've hit on some good players, like Lofton, Trufant, Jarrett, D. Jones, Neal, and Oluokun, but again, when we're so heavily invested on offense (and trading away picks to move up), we simply cannot miss on defense, as often as we did. 3) It's up to the front office and coaches to a) tailor a scheme (for existing players), b) draft the right players for the core philosophy and scheme (moving forwards), and c) play complimentary football (with the offense). The Falcons have really struggled in all three here. First, let's start with schemes. Since the Dimitrov/Smith years, which I consider to be the start of modern Falcons football, we've run Tampa Two, the "Amoeba," 4-3 under with Cover 3, and some version of a multiple front, while playing nickel (just last year). Although defensive philosophies evolve (as new offensive philosophies enter the league), there's been little consistency, year to year, on the defensive side of the ball. This makes it harder to draft the right players, and can also kill any gains made through the previous draft (if players no longer fit). Another issue: we try to overcompensate -- Since we're an offensive-minded organization, we've tried hiring defensive coaches (Smith, Quinn) to try and scheme a competent, complimentary defense. To be fair, I think this has been a tall order, considering the lack of playmakers we've historically had on defense. There's only so much that coaches can scheme up, before offenses catch on. We saw this happen, first with Smith, and later with Quinn. When you don't have enough players on that side of the ball, you've got to either control the clock or outscore the other guy. This is where the lack of a running game got both coaches fired at the end. We became too one dimensional on offense, or when we did jump out to a big lead, we couldn't/didn't know how to kill the clock. (This is crucial to playing complimentary football). It also led to gimmicky scheming which proved to be ineffective and a disaster. So what will it take for Dean Peas to field a competitive defense? At the very least, a heavy amount of draft capital. We've got 4 true starters on defense (Jarrett, Jones, Oluokun, and Terrell). I think it will take at least 2 years of committing 2 of the 3 top picks to defense, while finding some productive (yet affordable) vets, and hitting on some mid-rounders. Reaching a top 10 defense could to be a tall task, considering our cap space for the next 2 years, but if we can hold teams to around 23-24 ppg, I think we may have a shot in most games, because of Arthur Smith running the offense.
  15. Great topic! One thing that the Falcons (and the Dawgs too) have historically had? Great running backs! Here's my Top 5. THE TOP DOG: William Andrews - The most well-rounded bruiser of his time. A downhill runner, receiver, and blocker, with surprising speed. During a 4 year stretch (before his injury), he was a Top 5 running back. (In some years, Top 2-3). THE NEXT GREAT BRUISER: Gerald Riggs - He came along as just as Andrews career was cut short by injury. An absolute sledgehammer between the tackles, and had a 1700 yard breakout year, at one point, along with 2 All-Pro honors. Later, won a Super Bowl with the Redskins. The Falcon's all-time leading rusher. THE DIESAL: MIchael Turner - For the first 4 years of Matt Ryan's career, this guy was the wrecking ball, good for 1300-1700 yards per season and 10+ TDs each year. Another guy with absolute tree trunks for thighs, and called the "The Burner," because he actually had breakaway speed. MR. CONSISTENCY: Warrick Dunn - How does someone so small pack such toughness? Give this guy just a crack, and you gave you 5 yards. Also, a total mismatch as a receiver, and great at taking on blitzers. All this, despite playing below 200 lbs! So shifty, hard as **** to get a clean shot on, which explained his longevity. Off the field, just an awesome human being. THE GREATEST SEASON: Jamal Anderson - His 1800 yard season was the key to our first Super Bowl appearance. Built low, big trunks, another bruiser of a back, who also had just enough speed to surprise you. Had a three year run of 1000 yards, before the injuries got to him. HONORABLE MENTION: Devonta Freeman
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