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Libid21's Final [Pre-Combine] Mock Offseason


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2008 Atlanta Falcons (Pre-Combine) Mock Offseason

by Matt Libid

January 25, 2008

It has been a while since I've done one of these things. I'm only forcing myself to do this because I promised you guys I would post a mock offseason once we hired a new head coach. Well, it seems like you want to know what I think of Mike Smith. Was he the best candidate on my list? I don't think so. I was looking for Spagnuolo. We waited this long to hire a head coach, why can't we just wait a week and a half longer? The scouting is mostly done by your scouting company anyways. However, I'm still happy about the hiring. At the date of this write-up, it looks like Mularkey will be our offensive coordinator and VanGordor has been hired as our defensive coordinator. I'd be all for Mularkey being our offensive coordinator, but can VanGordor really coordinate and call plays for this defense? He struggled in college, what makes Dimitroff think he will succeed in the NFL?

Oh well, enough negatives. Now I will post my mock offseason. This was done in roughly one and a half days. The mock draft isn't the most detailed like my previous ones, but I tried my best to do as much as I can with a limited schedule and free time. I also didn't add the cut/resign part and my free agency has only one key signing because I didn't have time to think the contracts out. So if a player isn't on my depth chart, consider that player cut and released. That would mean you as well, Ookie Dookie, Ron Mexico, and Michael VIck. Anyways, without further ado...

KEY SIGNING

-OG Alan Faneca FR/Pittsburgh

fanecayg9.jpg

This makes the most sense to sign out of any of the free agents. Faneca is on a franchise tag from Pittsburgh and wants to get out of there as quickly as possible. We'll have enough money won from Michael Vick's contract to make a big splash through the free agency, and I think this is the 'splash' we'll all be looking forward to. Mike Smith and Mularkey share the same offensive gameplan with each other, and that is 'Smashmouth Offense'. To those who don't know what that means, it means we will be running the ball... a LOT. We'll have to solidify the entire offensive line this offseason if Mularkey wants to run the ball up the middle any time soon. Faneca is the right man, and he's not too old nor too young.

DRAFT

(1st Round [5]) DT - Sedrick Ellis - U.S.C.

ellisib7.jpg

I'm just guessing we lose the coin toss and end up with the fifth overall pick behind Miami, St. Louis, Oakland, and Kansas. I see these players going in order: Dorsey, C. Long, McFadden, J. Long. That leaves us with no one to draft except... Sedrick Ellis! This defensive tackle from U.S.C. is the kind of defensive tackle that Mike Smith would want in his defense. Mike Smith's emphasized a big man in the defensive line when someone asked him about the draft in his introductory press conference. He wanted a man to 'stop the run' and 'rush the passer'. Ellis is one huge chunk of meat, and the picture alone can show you why he'd be a perfect nose tackle for us.

(2nd Round [5]) OT - Chris Williams - Vanderbilt

williamsrv0.jpg

We missed Jake Long in the previous round because Kansas took him. Oh well, we take the next best valued offensive tackle that we can get in Chris Williams. He's a dominant left tackle who can block for the running game very well. Again I will emphasize our gameplan will most likely always going to be RUN THE BALL. Williams is the third best run blocker in this draft behind Jake Long and Jeff Otah IMO. He's yet to prove himself to be a valued first round pick, so he will fall to us relatively early in the second round. We don't pass up on him here having a big hole in left tackle.

(2nd Round FR/Houston [18]) RB - Ray Rice - Rutgers

ricezi8.jpg

Ray Rice decided to declare this year. Although he wanted to get to the NFL early, I think it was a pretty bad decision for him because he would end up being maybe in the second or third round. Luckily in this mock draft, Atlanta drafted him. The Falcons would be very lucky to grab a solid running back like Rice at this point of the draft. He's proved that he can be an NFL running back in the last game of his NCAA career. Rice is a great selection that I think would almost be perfect with Jerious Norwood and occasionally Jason Snelling.

(3rd Round [5]) QB - Erik Ainge - Tennessee

aingehp6.jpg

Matt Ryan wasn't worth our fifth overall pick. We will have to find our signal caller later in the draft in the second day. Erik Ainge is the kind of quarterback Tom Dimitroff has shown interest in. Some people like Henne and Booty more than Ainge, but I don't understand why. They say Henne is the best leader quarterback out of the 'later round QBs', but if he was such a great leader, how come Michigan did so bad this year? When Michigan was showing leadership, it was mostly coming from Mike Hart- their running back. Booty has durability issues in which I have no interest to take part in. Joe Flacco, if no one has really noticed, runs in a shotgun offense just like Brennan does. Although Delaware's version of the shotgun offense differs from Hawaii's, I would call it unfair for people to criticize Colt Brennan for being in an offense that buffs his stats or being in an offense that rarely makes him drop back. Joe Flacco runs in an offense that would give him the same negatives that Brennan is in except he's got the better body and slightly better arm. We'll be looking to draft here for a franchise signal caller that can stay durable and can turn out to be a solid quarterback.

3rd Round [COMPENSATORY] ILB - Beau Bell - U.N.L.V.

bellwp2.jpg

Beau Bell's stock has fallen a tad bit because of his underachieving performances in the Senior Bowl practices and his minor injury during them. I don't think they're really huge, but team scouts will look for every little negative they can think of and bring the other inside linebackers higher in their draft board because of how close all the inside linebackers seem to be in this draft. Beau Bell is a huge linebacker (240 pounds), and Smith has said that that's the kind of linebacker that he wants. Beau Bell is one of the biggest linebackers we would be able to get in this draft, and he's very stout against the run. This would be a great valued draft pick for Atlanta if we draft Bell.

(4th Round [5]) S - Tom Zbikowski - Notre Dame

zbikowskidc9.jpg

Despite a horrible senior season, I'm still ready to take all the hits I would need to if I say that Zbikowski is one of the best Notre Dame defenders ever. Zbikowski has 'leader' written all over him. If I were to choose a successor for Lawyer Milloy, it would be Zbikowski. He's a very versatile safety who makes solid hits and reads the offense very well. His draft stock has had to take its number of hits this year. However, I am still ready to say that Zbikowski is probably the most under-rated safety in this draft. This is my sleeper pick of the draft by the way.

(5th Round [5]) DE - Tommy Blake - T.C.U.

blakepx1.jpg

Defensive line was one of the least durable positions last year. John Abraham hasn't exactly been the most durable player in his career. I'm surprised he was able to play every game last season without having to suffer a serious injury. Although he should be applauded for such a feat for a player like him, I still think we can't trust Abraham to stay healthy. Blake is very much like Abraham, and he can be a solid back up for quite a while. I think he will be well liked in Atlanta because of his mixed speed, pass rush technique, and awareness of the field.

(6th Round [5]) K - Art Carmody - Louisville

carmodymf7.jpg

We passed on Mason Crosby last year in the fifth round. We had the pick right after Green Bays' three consecutive sixth round draft selections and RIGHT before we drafted, Green Bay selected Mason Crosby from Colorado the pick exactly one pick before us. That greatly infuriated me when that happened. It got me even more annoyed when I saw how well Crosby has played for Green Bay. He is now the next best kicker in the NFL. Art Carmody is the best kicker for us in this draft. We certainly need someone to replace Morten Andersen. Carmody's the most accurate and consistent kicker in this draft, and that's the kind of kicker that we will need for a while now. Enough of the free agent kickers that we always have to bring and then cut in the preseason. A kicker is as important as any other position on the team, if not, more important. Think of the kicker as a closer for a major league baseball team. We will need someone who can kick at clutch moments, and I'd want 'Art-O-Matic' more than any other kicker.

(7th Round [5]) WR - Dexter Jackson - Appalachian St.

jacksonsj2.jpg

Every thing that Appalachian State has been through this year has been nothing short of incredible and amazing. Dexter Jackson's stock has skyrocketed ever since his punt and kick returns for Appalachian State. Jackson was going to be my sleeper pick of the draft, but I decided to add Zibby in the fourth round, and there goes that. However, I'm still ready to say that Jackson will end up being more important to us than anyone will expect because of his special teams contribution. Jackson's stock will go higher once he shows off his skills and displays them in the Senior Bowl, but I think he still has a shot at falling to us with an early seventh rounder.

(7th Round FR/Pittsburgh [23]) FB - Jehuu Caulcrick - Michigan St.

caulcrickfn2.jpg

I hate to admit it, but Mughelli hasn't proved he was worth those free agent cash that we paid him in the past offseason. I would still give Mughelli the benefit of the doubt and let him start, but we've still got to think of the future, and I don't think Mughelli will be included in it. He's been almost invisible this year, and I think we need to bring someone in to compete for that starting job. Jehuu Caulcrick is a great blocker. He's just a pure blocker though, and I don't think he can run nor catch too well. This is a very late seventh round pick, so the boom-or-bust factor should not even be accounted for.

DEPTH CHART

-OFFENSE

QB: Redman | Ainge | Leftwich

RB: Norwood | Rice | Dunn | Snelling

FB: Mughelli | Caulcrick | Snelling

TE: Crumpler | Blakely | Milner

WRy: White | Robinson | Jennings

WRz: Jenkins | Horn | Jackson

LT: Williams | Foster

LG: Blalock | Batiste

C: McClure | Datish

RG: Faneca | Clabo

RT: Weiner | Foster | Clabo

Analysis:

-DEFENSE

RDE: Abraham | Blake

UT: Coleman | Babineaux

NT: Ellis | Lewis

LDE: Anderson | Davis

SLB: Boley | Wilkins

ILB: Brooking | Bell

WLB: Williams | Nicholas

LCB: Hall | Sanders | Grimes

RCB: Houston | Irons

SS: Milloy | Zbikowski | Stone

FS: Williams | Stone

Analysis:

-SPECIAL TEAMS

PK: Carmody

H: Koenen

P: Koenen

KO: Koenen | Carmody

KR: Jackson | Jennings

PR: Jackson | Zbikowski

S: Schneck

Analysis:

There you have it. I hope you guys enjoy, and I'd appreciate any feedback at all. I'm sorry if you disagree, but keep in mind that this is MY mock offseason, and if you want to draft or sign anyone else, make your own respectable topic. I appreciate all the readers. Reply with your opinion as soon as possible. This will be my final mock draft before the NFL Combine. Expect a new one a while after the Combine- maybe a week or two before the NFL Draft.

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This is a good write-up. I appreciate the time it takes to do one of these. This starting out so good IMO, but went down hill from there.

Faneca= great signing

Ellis= great pick

Williams= may be a 1st rounder now, but great pick

Rice= too early IMO. Rice will probably be a 3rd rounder, due to his lack of "edge" speed. IMO he may struggle to run even a 4.55 at the Combine, and that will drop him a good bit. With that said though, he is a really good back. Just a little too early for him IMO

Ainge= Don't like this pick at all. He had one of the bests OLs in college football in a long time, but just was very average. He makes a lot of bad decisions IMO

Carmody is an excellent pick.

From what I hear, Blake may not even be drafted, due to his mental side of things. He just can't seem to get his heart into playing.

I don't remember the rest. Even though I seem to be going hard on you, I appreciate the effort into one of these.

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Guest Libid21

Thanks for the reply. I understand what you're saying. I don't have to state my case again for Ainge though because I already wrote up my argument for him and why I'd rather have him than any other of the 'later' quarterbacks. Blake's stock has fallen, you're right. However, there are always people being criticized for not having the right mental set. I believe when Trey Lewis was coming out, every one said that he should be cut because he couldn't even hustle in one play. I'll look to change Blake in the future draft if he shows me that he doesn't deserve a fifth rounder. I will most likely switch him with Jackson though because Jackson's stock is skyrocketing as we speak.

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agree with the poster above me, a lot of effort went into this, but it went downhill.

Faneca will be really expensive, so he better be worth every penny. And I love Ellis, and I hope he is available at #5 (I would hate to get stuck with Chris Long or McFadden, at this point it is Dorsey/Long/Ellis). And Chris Williams is a great pick, and if he isn't there, I predict a Sam Baker/ Gosder Cherilus will be.

As for Ray Rice, it may be a bit early for him. I really, really don't like Erik Ainge, he just hasn't shown me any consistency.

This draft would be a bit of a disappointment, IMO. It could be so much worst, I am not calling it a complete failure, but I just see a lot more talent available.

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Guest Libid21

I don't really know why you guys think Ainge is that bad. He's doing the best out of any quarterback in the Senior Bowl practices. I guess I'm the only Ainge lover on this board. I guess all you guys are rollin' one way on the Flacco/Henne bandwagon, eh? Oh well, understandable. They all have their ups and downs.

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I'm a Tennessee fan, though a very casual fan. I honestly don't get to see their games every week, but I just really don't like Erik Ainge. His OL was nothing less than spectacular this year, but he just couldn't seem to do as well as he should of. He wasn't terrible by any means, but with his OL, he should have done much better. I won't shoot myself if we are to take him, but there are some guys I think will make better pros. In the third though, it wouldn't be THAT bad of a pick.

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Libid21 (1/25/2008)
I don't really know why you guys think Ainge is that bad. He's doing the best out of any quarterback in the Senior Bowl practices. I guess I'm the only Ainge lover on this board. I guess all you guys are rollin' one way on the Flacco/Henne bandwagon, eh? Oh well, understandable. They all have their ups and downs.

I am not trying to be rude, like you said everyone has their own opinions, and QBs have their ups and downs, but what Senior Bowl practices have you been watching/hearing/reading?

Although I don't like Chad Henne either, he is by far having the best week, and Flacco did well after a miserable first few practices. From what I have read/seen, Ainge has done very little to distinguish himself, and remains a bit inconsistent and inaccurate

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Guest Libid21

I don't know why we can't edit our posts, but here's the new mock:

2008 Atlanta Falcons (Pre-Combine) Mock Offseason

by Matt Libid

January 25, 2008

It has been a while since I've done one of these things. I'm only forcing myself to do this because I promised you guys I would post a mock offseason once we hired a new head coach. Well, it seems like you want to know what I think of Mike Smith. Was he the best candidate on my list? I don't think so. I was looking for Spagnuolo. We waited this long to hire a head coach, why can't we just wait a week and a half longer? The scouting is mostly done by your scouting company anyways. However, I'm still happy about the hiring. At the date of this write-up, it looks like Mularkey will be our offensive coordinator and VanGordor has been hired as our defensive coordinator. I'd be all for Mularkey being our offensive coordinator, but can VanGordor really coordinate and call plays for this defense? He struggled in college, what makes Dimitroff think he will succeed in the NFL?

Oh well, enough negatives. Now I will post my mock offseason. This was done in roughly one and a half days. The mock draft isn't the most detailed like my previous ones, but I tried my best to do as much as I can with a limited schedule and free time. I also didn't add the cut/resign part and my free agency has only one key signing because I didn't have time to think the contracts out. So if a player isn't on my depth chart, consider that player cut and released. That would mean you as well, Ookie Dookie, Ron Mexico, and Michael VIck. Anyways, without further ado...

KEY SIGNING

-OG Alan Faneca FR/Pittsburgh

fanecayg9.jpg

This makes the most sense to sign out of any of the free agents. Faneca is on a franchise tag from Pittsburgh and wants to get out of there as quickly as possible. We'll have enough money won from Michael Vick's contract to make a big splash through the free agency, and I think this is the 'splash' we'll all be looking forward to. Mike Smith and Mularkey share the same offensive gameplan with each other, and that is 'Smashmouth Offense'. To those who don't know what that means, it means we will be running the ball... a LOT. We'll have to solidify the entire offensive line this offseason if Mularkey wants to run the ball up the middle any time soon. Faneca is the right man, and he's not too old nor too young.

DRAFT

(1st Round [5]) DT - Sedrick Ellis - U.S.C.

ellisib7.jpg

I'm just guessing we lose the coin toss and end up with the fifth overall pick behind Miami, St. Louis, Oakland, and Kansas. I see these players going in order: Dorsey, C. Long, McFadden, J. Long. That leaves us with no one to draft except... Sedrick Ellis! This defensive tackle from U.S.C. is the kind of defensive tackle that Mike Smith would want in his defense. Mike Smith's emphasized a big man in the defensive line when someone asked him about the draft in his introductory press conference. He wanted a man to 'stop the run' and 'rush the passer'. Ellis is one huge chunk of meat, and the picture alone can show you why he'd be a perfect nose tackle for us.

(2nd Round [5]) OT - Chris Williams - Vanderbilt

williamsrv0.jpg

We missed Jake Long in the previous round because Kansas took him. Oh well, we take the next best valued offensive tackle that we can get in Chris Williams. He's a dominant left tackle who can block for the running game very well. Again I will emphasize our gameplan will most likely always going to be RUN THE BALL. Williams is the third best run blocker in this draft behind Jake Long and Jeff Otah IMO. He's yet to prove himself to be a valued first round pick, so he will fall to us relatively early in the second round. We don't pass up on him here having a big hole in left tackle.

(2nd Round FR/Houston [18]) QB - Joe Flacco - Delaware

flaccoch1.jpg

I was criticized in a lot of forums for drafting Ainge in the third round and passing on Flacco. I've decided to finally include him in my mock draft. Flacco's big, tall, and has got the body and tools that seems almost perfect for Atlanta. Small school competition and shotgun offense raise concerns, also was a D-1 recruit at Pittsburgh, but transfered because he was never going to beat out Palko. and he's got poor footwork dropping back because he's never had to do so in college. However, it's nothing unfixable. All in all, Flacco can end up being our signal caller here. He's quite certainly the most impressive quarterback this year.

(3rd Round [5]) RB - Ray Rice - Rutgers

ricezi8.jpg

Ray Rice decided to declare this year. Although he wanted to get to the NFL early, I think it was a pretty bad decision for him because he would end up being maybe in the second or third round. Luckily in this mock draft, Atlanta drafted him. The Falcons would be very lucky to grab a solid running back like Rice at this point of the draft. He's proved that he can be an NFL running back in the last game of his NCAA career. Rice is a great selection that I think would almost be perfect with Jerious Norwood and occasionally Jason Snelling.

3rd Round [COMPENSATORY] ILB - Beau Bell - U.N.L.V.

bellwp2.jpg

Beau Bell's stock has fallen a tad bit because of his underachieving performances in the Senior Bowl practices and his minor injury during them. I don't think they're really huge, but team scouts will look for every little negative they can think of and bring the other inside linebackers higher in their draft board because of how close all the inside linebackers seem to be in this draft. Beau Bell is a huge linebacker (240 pounds), and Smith has said that that's the kind of linebacker that he wants. Beau Bell is one of the biggest linebackers we would be able to get in this draft, and he's very stout against the run. This would be a great valued draft pick for Atlanta if we draft Bell.

(4th Round [5]) S - Tom Zbikowski - Notre Dame

zbikowskidc9.jpg

Despite a horrible senior season, I'm still ready to take all the hits I would need to if I say that Zbikowski is one of the best Notre Dame defenders ever. Zbikowski has 'leader' written all over him. If I were to choose a successor for Lawyer Milloy, it would be Zbikowski. He's a very versatile safety who makes solid hits and reads the offense very well. His draft stock has had to take its number of hits this year. However, I am still ready to say that Zbikowski is probably the most under-rated safety in this draft. This is my sleeper pick of the draft by the way.

(5th Round [5]) DE - WR - Dexter Jackson - Appalachian St.

jacksonsj2.jpg

Every thing that Appalachian State has been through this year has been nothing short of incredible and amazing. Dexter Jackson's stock has skyrocketed ever since his punt and kick returns for Appalachian State. Jackson was going to be my sleeper pick of the draft, but I decided to add Zibby in the fourth round, and there goes that. However, I'm still ready to say that Jackson will end up being more important to us than anyone will expect because of his special teams contribution. Jackson's stock will go higher once he shows off his skills and displays them in the Senior Bowl.

(6th Round [5]) K - Art Carmody - Louisville

carmodymf7.jpg

We passed on Mason Crosby last year in the fifth round. We had the pick right after Green Bays' three consecutive sixth round draft selections and RIGHT before we drafted, Green Bay selected Mason Crosby from Colorado the pick exactly one pick before us. That greatly infuriated me when that happened. It got me even more annoyed when I saw how well Crosby has played for Green Bay. He is now the next best kicker in the NFL. Art Carmody is the best kicker for us in this draft. We certainly need someone to replace Morten Andersen. Carmody's the most accurate and consistent kicker in this draft, and that's the kind of kicker that we will need for a while now. Enough of the free agent kickers that we always have to bring and then cut in the preseason. A kicker is as important as any other position on the team, if not, more important. Think of the kicker as a closer for a major league baseball team. We will need someone who can kick at clutch moments, and I'd want 'Art-O-Matic' more than any other kicker.

(7th Round [5]) DE - Tommy Blake - T.C.U.

blakepx1.jpg

Defensive line was one of the least durable positions last year. John Abraham hasn't exactly been the most durable player in his career. I'm surprised he was able to play every game last season without having to suffer a serious injury. Although he should be applauded for such a feat for a player like him, I still think we can't trust Abraham to stay healthy. Blake is very much like Abraham, and he can be a solid back up for quite a while. I think he will be well liked in Atlanta because of his mixed speed, pass rush technique, and awareness of the field.

(7th Round FR/Pittsburgh [23]) FB - Jehuu Caulcrick - Michigan St.

caulcrickfn2.jpg

I hate to admit it, but Mughelli hasn't proved he was worth those free agent cash that we paid him in the past offseason. I would still give Mughelli the benefit of the doubt and let him start, but we've still got to think of the future, and I don't think Mughelli will be included in it. He's been almost invisible this year, and I think we need to bring someone in to compete for that starting job. Jehuu Caulcrick is a great blocker. He's just a pure blocker though, and I don't think he can run nor catch too well. This is a very late seventh round pick, so the boom-or-bust factor should not even be accounted for.

DEPTH CHART

-OFFENSE

QB: Redman | Flacco | Leftwich

RB: Norwood | Rice | Dunn | Snelling

FB: Mughelli | Caulcrick | Snelling

TE: Crumpler | Blakely | Milner

WRy: White | Robinson | Jennings

WRz: Jenkins | Horn | Jackson

LT: Williams | Foster

LG: Blalock | Batiste

C: McClure | Datish

RG: Faneca | Clabo

RT: Weiner | Foster | Clabo

Analysis:

-DEFENSE

RDE: Abraham | Blake

UT: Coleman | Babineaux

NT: Ellis | Lewis

LDE: Anderson | Davis

SLB: Boley | Wilkins

ILB: Brooking | Bell

WLB: Williams | Nicholas

LCB: Hall | Sanders | Grimes

RCB: Houston | Irons

SS: Milloy | Zbikowski | Stone

FS: Williams | Stone

Analysis:

-SPECIAL TEAMS

PK: Carmody

H: Koenen

P: Koenen

KO: Koenen | Carmody

KR: Jackson | Jennings

PR: Jackson | Zbikowski

S: Schneck

Analysis:

There you have it. I hope you guys enjoy, and I'd appreciate any feedback at all. I'm sorry if you disagree, but keep in mind that this is MY mock offseason, and if you want to draft or sign anyone else, make your own respectable topic. I appreciate all the readers. Reply with your opinion as soon as possible. This will be my final mock draft before the NFL Combine. Expect a new one a while after the Combine- maybe a week or two before the NFL Draft.

I quickly updated it. I picked up Joe Flacco with our second second round pick, dropped Rice a round, and swapped T. Blake with D. Jackson.

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Libid21 (1/25/2008)
2008 Atlanta Falcons (Pre-Combine) Mock Offseason

by Matt Libid

January 25, 2008

It has been a while since I've done one of these things. I'm only forcing myself to do this because I promised you guys I would post a mock offseason once we hired a new head coach. Well, it seems like you want to know what I think of Mike Smith. Was he the best candidate on my list? I don't think so. I was looking for Spagnuolo. We waited this long to hire a head coach, why can't we just wait a week and a half longer? The scouting is mostly done by your scouting company anyways. However, I'm still happy about the hiring. At the date of this write-up, it looks like Mularkey will be our offensive coordinator and VanGordor has been hired as our defensive coordinator. I'd be all for Mularkey being our offensive coordinator, but can VanGordor really coordinate and call plays for this defense? He struggled in college, what makes Dimitroff think he will succeed in the NFL?

--Interesting hires for sure. But Van Gorder did a great job as LB coach in Jax and my gut feeling is that Smith will have a lot of input on the defense. Looks like Mularkey will get the complete reins to the offense, and have one order: ball control.

Oh well, enough negatives. Now I will post my mock offseason. This was done in roughly one and a half days. The mock draft isn't the most detailed like my previous ones, but I tried my best to do as much as I can with a limited schedule and free time. I also didn't add the cut/resign part and my free agency has only one key signing because I didn't have time to think the contracts out. So if a player isn't on my depth chart, consider that player cut and released. That would mean you as well, Ookie Dookie, Ron Mexico, and Michael VIck. Anyways, without further ado...

KEY SIGNING

-OG Alan Faneca FR/Pittsburgh

fanecayg9.jpg

This makes the most sense to sign out of any of the free agents. Faneca is on a franchise tag from Pittsburgh and wants to get out of there as quickly as possible. We'll have enough money won from Michael Vick's contract to make a big splash through the free agency, and I think this is the 'splash' we'll all be looking forward to. Mike Smith and Mularkey share the same offensive gameplan with each other, and that is 'Smashmouth Offense'. To those who don't know what that means, it means we will be running the ball... a LOT. We'll have to solidify the entire offensive line this offseason if Mularkey wants to run the ball up the middle any time soon. Faneca is the right man, and he's not too old nor too young.

Nice pickup. But Faneca is going for Steve Hutchinson type money. Is he worth it? Probably. The difference btwn. us and the Vikings is that Hutchinson was the final piece to a very talented OL. I'm not sure that tying all that money up in the G position is wise in our case. I'd rather us grab an experienced and talented LT to anchor the line and use the draft to shore up the other G and RT spot. Maybe even draft a guy like Oher, put him at OG to start; ride out Weiner at LT, sign Starks as RT and then move Oher the next year outside to LT if Starks is a better RT.

DRAFT

(1st Round [5]) DT - Sedrick Ellis - U.S.C.

ellisib7.jpg

I'm just guessing we lose the coin toss and end up with the fifth overall pick behind Miami, St. Louis, Oakland, and Kansas. I see these players going in order: Dorsey, C. Long, McFadden, J. Long. That leaves us with no one to draft except... Sedrick Ellis! This defensive tackle from U.S.C. is the kind of defensive tackle that Mike Smith would want in his defense. Mike Smith's emphasized a big man in the defensive line when someone asked him about the draft in his introductory press conference. He wanted a man to 'stop the run' and 'rush the passer'. Ellis is one huge chunk of meat, and the picture alone can show you why he'd be a perfect nose tackle for us.

I love this guy. I really do. But for some reason folks on this board have him as a big man. Folks, he's 6'1 285. He's an DT in a tampa 2 type defense. Smith at Jacksonville had mammoth DTs in Stroud and Henderson. Both went around 6'7 and 330. IF you watch Jax play, their DLine is not a one gap penetrating defense like Tampa or we used to be. They use those huge DTs to tie up blockers, stuff the run and block passes with their long arms and big bodies. Ultimately the Jax big physical line just bits the shat out of the opposing OL and breaks them down with sheer brute force

The shortest guy is Grady, who's a plug in the middle against the run. In fact Jammal Anderson will do great in this defense. Abraham might find himself more of an elephant end type situational rusher--which is probably a great thing. But Jax uses those big azz DTs to to tie up the lineman and let the athletic LBs make plays. Boley will be a stud in this scheme and we might not see Demarrio Williams let go after of all, as he is athletically gifted. I think Brooking is done for, though.

From a physical standpoint, I'm not buying us picking either Dorsey or Ellis with a top 5 pick. The only DT that jumps as a Jax type would be Red Bryant, who's a second or third rounder or Kentwan Balmer, who at 6'5 300 can play either DE or DT (like Paul Spicer) and is a ST ace. Heres a late round or UDFA http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/profile.php?pyid=16709 that we might see happen.

Bottom line Stroud and Henderson were just big time physical guys that aren't in this draft at the top.

(2nd Round [5]) OT - Chris Williams - Vanderbilt

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We missed Jake Long in the previous round because Kansas took him. Oh well, we take the next best valued offensive tackle that we can get in Chris Williams. He's a dominant left tackle who can block for the running game very well. Again I will emphasize our gameplan will most likely always going to be RUN THE BALL. Williams is the third best run blocker in this draft behind Jake Long and Jeff Otah IMO. He's yet to prove himself to be a valued first round pick, so he will fall to us relatively early in the second round. We don't pass up on him here having a big hole in left tackle.

Very nice pick. He's a guy who could also start at G as well.

(2nd Round FR/Houston [18]) RB - Ray Rice - Rutgers

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Ray Rice decided to declare this year. Although he wanted to get to the NFL early, I think it was a pretty bad decision for him because he would end up being maybe in the second or third round. Luckily in this mock draft, Atlanta drafted him. The Falcons would be very lucky to grab a solid running back like Rice at this point of the draft. He's proved that he can be an NFL running back in the last game of his NCAA career. Rice is a great selection that I think would almost be perfect with Jerious Norwood and occasionally Jason Snelling.

I like Rice and i think he'll be a great rb. I like this pick alot

(3rd Round [5]) QB - Erik Ainge - Tennessee

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Matt Ryan wasn't worth our fifth overall pick. We will have to find our signal caller later in the draft in the second day. Erik Ainge is the kind of quarterback Tom Dimitroff has shown interest in. Some people like Henne and Booty more than Ainge, but I don't understand why. They say Henne is the best leader quarterback out of the 'later round QBs', but if he was such a great leader, how come Michigan did so bad this year? When Michigan was showing leadership, it was mostly coming from Mike Hart- their running back. Booty has durability issues in which I have no interest to take part in. Joe Flacco, if no one has really noticed, runs in a shotgun offense just like Brennan does. Although Delaware's version of the shotgun offense differs from Hawaii's, I would call it unfair for people to criticize Colt Brennan for being in an offense that buffs his stats or being in an offense that rarely makes him drop back. Joe Flacco runs in an offense that would give him the same negatives that Brennan is in except he's got the better body and slightly better arm. We'll be looking to draft here for a franchise signal caller that can stay durable and can turn out to be a solid quarterback.

It'll be interesting to watch where Ainge falls. I'm thinking he's a second round guy. He's one of those college QBs that will translate to the pro game. He's got the size and mentality. Also his stats were pretty good, considering the talent level at UT this year.

3rd Round [COMPENSATORY] ILB - Beau Bell - U.N.L.V.

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Beau Bell's stock has fallen a tad bit because of his underachieving performances in the Senior Bowl practices and his minor injury during them. I don't think they're really huge, but team scouts will look for every little negative they can think of and bring the other inside linebackers higher in their draft board because of how close all the inside linebackers seem to be in this draft. Beau Bell is a huge linebacker (240 pounds), and Smith has said that that's the kind of linebacker that he wants. Beau Bell is one of the biggest linebackers we would be able to get in this draft, and he's very stout against the run. This would be a great valued draft pick for Atlanta if we draft Bell.

Maybe, but Jax's LBs arent really all that huge. 230 to 245 on average; not exactly Jerimiah trotter territory. I'm not sure we need LBs, that might be the one spot we have a lot of. Nicholas is talented and big enough; boley is a stud; With a big enough DL DMO is effective; Brooking may be cut; or he could restructure. I'd rather an OG here

(4th Round [5]) S - Tom Zbikowski - Notre Dame

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Despite a horrible senior season, I'm still ready to take all the hits I would need to if I say that Zbikowski is one of the best Notre Dame defenders ever. Zbikowski has 'leader' written all over him. If I were to choose a successor for Lawyer Milloy, it would be Zbikowski. He's a very versatile safety who makes solid hits and reads the offense very well. His draft stock has had to take its number of hits this year. However, I am still ready to say that Zbikowski is probably the most under-rated safety in this draft. This is my sleeper pick of the draft by the way.

Love this dude or Steltz from LSU in our new Defense. Donavan Darius was not the best cover guy in the world but he could lay the wood; and Sammy Knight has been the same. I like this pick or Steltz from a depth and STs perspective if nothing else. Milloy hasn't really aged badly, and in this defense he'll play close to the line. Darren Stone is so athletic that you have to believe he might compete for the FS position; making this pick good for the STs. Zibowski returns punts too, right?

(5th Round [5]) DE - Tommy Blake - T.C.U.

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Defensive line was one of the least durable positions last year. John Abraham hasn't exactly been the most durable player in his career. I'm surprised he was able to play every game last season without having to suffer a serious injury. Although he should be applauded for such a feat for a player like him, I still think we can't trust Abraham to stay healthy. Blake is very much like Abraham, and he can be a solid back up for quite a while. I think he will be well liked in Atlanta because of his mixed speed, pass rush technique, and awareness of the field.

Interesting pick and good comments about the Line. I'm wondering if we don't draft more DT/DE types which are all over the Jax roster (spicer)

(6th Round [5]) K - Art Carmody - Louisville

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We passed on Mason Crosby last year in the fifth round. We had the pick right after Green Bays' three consecutive sixth round draft selections and RIGHT before we drafted, Green Bay selected Mason Crosby from Colorado the pick exactly one pick before us. That greatly infuriated me when that happened. It got me even more annoyed when I saw how well Crosby has played for Green Bay. He is now the next best kicker in the NFL. Art Carmody is the best kicker for us in this draft. We certainly need someone to replace Morten Andersen. Carmody's the most accurate and consistent kicker in this draft, and that's the kind of kicker that we will need for a while now. Enough of the free agent kickers that we always have to bring and then cut in the preseason. A kicker is as important as any other position on the team, if not, more important. Think of the kicker as a closer for a major league baseball team. We will need someone who can kick at clutch moments, and I'd want 'Art-O-Matic' more than any other kicker.

Sure

(7th Round [5]) WR - Dexter Jackson - Appalachian St.

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Every thing that Appalachian State has been through this year has been nothing short of incredible and amazing. Dexter Jackson's stock has skyrocketed ever since his punt and kick returns for Appalachian State. Jackson was going to be my sleeper pick of the draft, but I decided to add Zibby in the fourth round, and there goes that. However, I'm still ready to say that Jackson will end up being more important to us than anyone will expect because of his special teams contribution. Jackson's stock will go higher once he shows off his skills and displays them in the Senior Bowl, but I think he still has a shot at falling to us with an early seventh rounder.

He won't be here. He will be a 2nd or 3rd rounder if he tears it up at the Senior bowl. This guy catches everything and he has Hester type ability

(7th Round FR/Pittsburgh [23]) FB - Jehuu Caulcrick - Michigan St.

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I hate to admit it, but Mughelli hasn't proved he was worth those free agent cash that we paid him in the past offseason. I would still give Mughelli the benefit of the doubt and let him start, but we've still got to think of the future, and I don't think Mughelli will be included in it. He's been almost invisible this year, and I think we need to bring someone in to compete for that starting job. Jehuu Caulcrick is a great blocker. He's just a pure blocker though, and I don't think he can run nor catch too well. This is a very late seventh round pick, so the boom-or-bust factor should not even be accounted for.

Why? Mughelli wasn't used because we ran a fricking 4 or 5 wr spread all year. With our team holes, i'd go secondary, OL or DL on a BPA philosopy.

DEPTH CHART

-OFFENSE

QB: Redman | Ainge | Leftwich

RB: Norwood | Rice | Dunn | Snelling

FB: Mughelli | Caulcrick | Snelling

TE: Crumpler | Blakely | Milner

WRy: White | Robinson | Jennings

WRz: Jenkins | Horn | Jackson

LT: Williams | Foster

LG: Blalock | Batiste

C: McClure | Datish

RG: Faneca | Clabo

RT: Weiner | Foster | Clabo

Analysis:

-DEFENSE

RDE: Abraham | Blake

UT: Coleman | Babineaux

NT: Ellis | Lewis

LDE: Anderson | Davis

SLB: Boley | Wilkins

ILB: Brooking | Bell

WLB: Williams | Nicholas

LCB: Hall | Sanders | Grimes

RCB: Houston | Irons

SS: Milloy | Zbikowski | Stone

FS: Williams | Stone

Analysis:

-SPECIAL TEAMS

PK: Carmody

H: Koenen

P: Koenen

KO: Koenen | Carmody

KR: Jackson | Jennings

PR: Jackson | Zbikowski

S: Schneck

Analysis:

There you have it. I hope you guys enjoy, and I'd appreciate any feedback at all. I'm sorry if you disagree, but keep in mind that this is MY mock offseason, and if you want to draft or sign anyone else, make your own respectable topic. I appreciate all the readers. Reply with your opinion as soon as possible. This will be my final mock draft before the NFL Combine. Expect a new one a while after the Combine- maybe a week or two before the NFL Draft.

Very nice effort and most of it makes very good sense. I do think some of your picks don't fit what Smith has done in Jacksonville. Will he change? Who knows, but I doubt it. You don't have top 10 defenses every year with huge studly DTs and then suddenly change it all and burn a top 5 on an UT tampa 2 guy like Ellis. Same with picks like the Rice; very nice player but Mularkey at Pitt had Bettis and a speed guy (zeroue?); here he'll have Norwood so i'm wondering if we don't see a 230 north south guy drafted (move up for Stewart? Forte? Smith?). Regardless all comments are my thoughts; and i appreciate the huge effort and time that you put into this--great work.

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Libid21 (1/25/2008)
I don't really know why you guys think Ainge is that bad. He's doing the best out of any quarterback in the Senior Bowl practices. I guess I'm the only Ainge lover on this board. I guess all you guys are rollin' one way on the Flacco/Henne bandwagon, eh? Oh well, understandable. They all have their ups and downs.
You shouldn't go by just Senior Bowl practice or the Combine alone, you need to look at their entire body of work in college.

And AInge will be lucky to be a clipboard holder in the NFL. Makes bad decisions when hurried(see UK game and SECC game), had an ungodly good O-line that only allowed 3 sacks on him all year and covered up a lot of his weaknesses. And he has no arm.

Now Chad Henne OTOH, is a great leader, was a 4-yr.starter for the winningnest program in CFB, makes very good decisions(87TD to 37 INT), has right at a 60% Compl.%(59.8) in a pro-style offense, and has a strong arm.

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