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Found 3 results

  1. The Saints pushed all their chips to the middle of the table in 2018, trading away huge chunks of draft capital and running up their cap bill yet again in pursuit of a Super Bowl. They came (depending on your perspective) either agonizingly or delightfully close to getting to one, but then they did not. The Saints did this because they sensed they were close, and because they knew that their window with Drew Brees was coming close to closing. After absolutely crushing the 2017 draft class, which returned them to relevance after three shaky years, they now find themselves down significant draft capital and reasonably tight on cap space heading into 2019. They should still be good—their moves weren’t all about 2018—but they, like the Rams and their big 2018 splurge, were focused on last year. The Falcons are not necessarily a smarter or better team than the Saints or the Rams—I’m going to pass on describing the recent history of these three teams for the moment—but they are a team that is taking pains not to zero in on the upcoming year. Both Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli come from the New England front office tree, which has always emphasized nailing the draft and making limited, shrewd signings and trades as a way to bolster the roster, and on keeping things flowing. All previous attempts to get the one missing piece have not pushed this team over the top, though obviously Alex Mack came agonizingly close in 2016. They’re looking to bolster The benefits and costs of that kind of decision-making are playing out in real-time. The Falcons have taken pains to keep their very best players and will continue to do so, and they’ve largely acquired those players by focusing on acquiring impact players through the draft. But that in turn chews up considerable cap space, which leaves the team largely unable to make the kind of big splashy free agent signings that helped propel the Rams to the Super Bowl a year ago. As a result, the Falcons should have a good roster for the next few seasons if they don’t suffer any massive regression from key players, but their ability to add impact players is limited unless they draft well. The Saints, with their short term focus, are mortgaging post-Brees flexibility in exchange for help in the here and now, with players like Jared Cook joining up to shore up weaknesses. This is a relevant discussion because there’s a lot of buzz about the Falcons trading up, which I think they may legitimately do this year when they have a small handful of glaring needs and the option to chase elite talents with a top 16 selection and nine picks overall. The Falcons, even if they do make a swap up for an impact player, will continue to build for the next 3-5 years with the expectation that they’ll keep contending as long as Matt Ryan can throw a football. The fact that they’re doing so might keep our teeth on edge for a pivotal 2019 where it appears coaches and front office staff might be in danger of losing their jobs after a down season, but it’s nice to think this team might not be a barren husk 2-3 years down the line, whether or not the current brain trust is.
  2. Falcons double dip in the trenches in SB Nation’s latest mock draft A ferocious defensive tackle and athletic interior offensive lineman make it to Atlanta, courtesy of Dan Kadar. By Dave Choate Mar 25, 2019, 3:00pm EDT In Dan Kadar’s latest mock draft for SB Nation, the Falcons justifiably focus their attention on the trenches. The players they wind up with will rank as a surprise for some and a disappointment for others, but Kadar’s heart is in the right place and his picks make sense when you consider the context in which they occur. Given that, let’s dive in. 14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson Offseason needs: Defensive tackle, cornerback, tight end Maybe it’s getting a little boring to send defensive tackles to Atlanta in mock drafts, but this explains why the line needs some work. In four years at Clemson, Wilkins had 250 tackles and 41 tackles for loss. He can bring plenty of pressure up the middle too. According to Sports Info Solutions’ Rookie Handbook, Wilkins created 106 pressures and 74 hurries, much better numbers than Williams, Oliver, or Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons. The important note here is that Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Devin White, Montez Sweat, Ed Oliver, Devin Bush, Rashan Gary, and Clelin Ferrell are all gone at this point, which is somewhat of a worst case scenario for the Falcons as it significantly thins out their options on defense. In light of that, Wilkins is one of the better defenders available to Atlanta and a player they’ve certainly expressed interest in to this point. Wilkins would pair with Grady Jarrett over the long haul with Deadrin Senat serving as (we hope) a killer run stopping rotational option, which gives the Falcons a lot of talent in the middle of their defensive line. It still leaves them largely bereft at EDGE, however, which is a sore spot unless Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley are headed for huge years. What about the second round? 45. Atlanta Falcons: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College This one’s a little less compelling. Kadar has Tytus Howard, Dalton Risner, Zach Allen and Chase Winovich going after Lindstrom, and frankly I’d probably prefer one of them. Lindstrom is a terrific athlete and would be interesting as a long-term option at center or guard, but with the Falcons suddenly prioritizing bulk and a bit more power at guard with Dirk Koetter in the fold, he might not be an ideal fit for that position any longer. If the Falcons thought Lindstrom could succeed Alex Mack when the legend is ready to move on, he’d be a fine pick here, but I’d again rather they addressed defensive end or tackle with the options available to them. Would this be an ideal result? Not in my eyes. I’m not the world’s biggest Wilkins fan, and to get him the Falcons bypass two potentially elite right tackles in Jonah Williams and Jawaan Taylor, not to mention the extremely intriguing Jerry Tillery from Notre Dame at DT. But Wilkins has a history of production and the size and athletic ability to be a **** fine player for the Atlanta Falcons, so it could hardly be considered a poor fit. Lindstrom makes sense as a long-term starter at center or guard, but he might not be able to find his way on the field in his first NFL season, making him a tough sell for a second round pick. Still, if the draft unfolds this way the Falcons will have added quality players Kadar clearly likes, with potential five-year-plus starter at defensive tackle and a left guard/center of the future, and that’s nothing to sneeze at for a team that still needs both. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the two round mock Now this is out of left field, but I get it.
  3. 2019 Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft prospect interest tracker 85 comments Who are the Falcons looking at in the run-up to the 2019 NFL Draft? By Dave Choate Updated Mar 25, 2019, 9:00am EDT Believe it or not, we’re edging closer to draft season. The Falcons are going to be extremely active with their nine selections, so it’ll be worth keeping a keen eye out for who they’re keeping a keen eye on. The standard caveats apply here: The Falcons having interest in a prospect does not mean they’ll be selected, as they only took two or so of the guys on a similar list a year ago (Isaiah Oliver, Foye Oluokun). That means if you love or hate a player on this list, you needn’t necessarily be overjoyed or panicked just yet. Between our list and the always reliable Aaron Freeman’s at FalcFans, you should be well-covered for prospect visits and interest the rest of the way. I’ll add in analysis as interesting names are revealed. Quick primer on format: We’ll have position, name, college, and where the Falcons reportedly checked them out, linked with the source. Offense QB Jordan Ta’amu, Ole Miss (Senior Bowl) QB Easton Stick, North Dakota State (East-West Shrine Game) WR Jesper Horstead, Princeton (East-West Shrine Game) WR David Sills, West Virginia (Senior Bowl) WR Cody Thompson, Toledo (East-West Shrine Game) WR KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State (East-West Shrine Game) WR Terry Godwin, Georgia (East-West Shrine Game) WR Riley Ridley, Georgia (Combine) WR Mecole Hardman, Georgia (Combine) WR Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State (Combine) WR Trey Lansman (Meeting/Workout) TE Kano Dillon, Oregon (East-West Shrine Game) TE Matt Sokol, Michigan State (East-West Shrine Game) TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia (Combine) OT Tytus Howard, Alabama State (Senior Bowl, second meeting) OT Martez Ivey, Florida (East-West Shrine Game) OT Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls (East-West Shrine Game) OT Ryan Pope, San Diego State (East-West Shrine Game) OT Brian Wallace, Arkansas (East-West Shrine Game) OT Andre Dillard, Washington (Combine) OT Micah Hyatt, Clemson (Combine, informal meeting) OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida (Combine) OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma (Combine) OG Josh Miles, Morgan State (East-West Shrine Game) OG Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama (Combine) C Nick Allegretti, Illinois (East-West Shrine Game) C Lamont Gaillard, Georgia (Combine, uncertain meeting) Defense DE John Cominsky, Charleston (Senior Bowl) DE Brian Burns, Florida State (Combine) DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson (Combine) DE L.J. Collier, Texas Christian University (Combine) DT Ed Oliver, Houston (Combine, second meeting) DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson (Combine, second meeting) DT Austin Bryant, Clemson (Combine) DT Dre’mont Jones, Ohio State (Combine) DL Rashan Gary, Michigan (Combine) DL Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia (Combine) DL Christian Wilkins, Clemson (Combine, informal) LB De’Andre Walker, Georgia (Combine) LB Deonte Roberts, Rutgers (Meeting/Workout) CB Jimmy Moreland, James Madison (East-West Shrine Game) CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt (Team Visit)