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Falcons Draft 2008

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Falcons' Pick Comments

1st Round (No. 3 overall)

Chris Long (DE)

Height: 6-3

Weight: 272

40-Time: 4.75


Positives: Has long arms and large hands, with good upper body muscle tone, tight waist and hips and shows good lower body thickness...Uses his long reach well to keep blockers away from his body, also utilizing it, along with good timing and leaping ability to bat down a fair share of passes at the line of scrimmage...What sets him apart from most young defensive ends is his keen knowledge of the game and his uncanny ability to read block pressure and quickly locate the ball...Quick-twitch athlete who shows good quickness, agility and flexibility, showing good knee bend...Builds to top acceleration nicely in long pursuit and shows good redirection skills in his pass rush off the edge...Lacks an explosive burst, but has good leverage and reach to separate from blocks and close on the quarterback...Shows solid football instincts and is able to learn and retain information easily, showing the quick instincts to locate the ball through trash...Plays and practices hard and with a purpose, showing good effort and toughness throughout the play...Leads by example, as well as with his voice, as the coaches encourage the younger players to emulate his great work ethic...Can handle tough coaching and is harder on himself than the staff is when he fails to make a play or blows an assignment...Has active hands and feet, showing outstanding quickness off the ball and natural movement ability to close...Comes off the snap with good pad level, getting into the blocker quickly with a solid hand jolt to rock the opponent back on his heels (needs to do a better job of staying on the lead blocker to clog the rush lane, though)...Has very crisp plant-and-drive agility to make quick change of direction moves working down the line...One of his better assets is his lateral agility...Has a good feel for blocks and knows what to do to avoid in pursuit...Defends the run well, using his hands and extending at the point-of-attack, as he has the hand punch to quickly shed blockers and has developed into an efficient, physical, hip-roll tackler working in-line... When he extends his arms (and keeps them active), he plays with good leverage and can hold ground at the point of attack vs. the isolated blocker (struggles some vs. double-teams)...Has better leverage than strength to anchor, knowing how to use his lower body...Has enough size and strength to hold up at the point-of-attack and the flexibility to sit in the crease and hold his ground or get off blocks...When he keeps his hands inside the framework, he can keep separation from the blocker (exposes his chest when his hands get too wide)...Moves very well laterally and displays good effort in pursuit, as he has the knee bend to slip by blockers in-line...High energy type who had better success disengaging in 2007 than he did in the past, thanks to clearing his feet and chasing hard to run down plays in pursuit...Shows adequate flexibility to fight off cut blocks (needs to protect feet better still, but has improved), as he takes good angles when pursuing downfield...Physical tackler who can bend, roll his hips and drive through the ballcarrier...Might not generate explosive hits, but he has the strength to push the pocket...Makes a good effort to arm tackle...His above average lateral quickness is utilized well in his back-side pursuit...Does a good job when asked to wrap up and drag down the ballcarrier in space and he has the functional strength to generate inside pressure vs. offensive line-man's outside shoulder...Shows good body lean coming off the snap and has developed a solid inside counter move to generate pressure...Has the upfield speed, along with swim and rip moves to go with the inside counter and bull rush (asset needed for a potential move to defensive tackle)...Uses flexibility and a good burst to collapse the pocket and displays the quick hands and feet, along with good hip-flex to turn the corner on edge rushes...Can keep separation vs. the run when he uses his hands to control, and when he takes dead aim on the quarterback he shows good intent to get there...With his leverage, he can beat the blocker in and out to close on the passer, as he demonstrates good hand placement and the ability to separate from blockers.

Negatives: Lacks suddenness off the snap to surprise a lethargic blocker...Best when taking angles to the quarterback, as he does not have the foot speed to take the wide loop in pursuit...Needs to be more active with his hands, especially when executing counter moves, as he struggles to shed when a blocker locks on to his jersey...Susceptible to the low block and needs to do a better job of slipping off double teams (must execute his spin move more)...Might be a better fit as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment, so as not to expose his adequate closing burst...Does not use his reach or counter moves with consistency and can be engulfed by the larger blockers...Plays better on the move (can get stuck on the bigger blockers at the X's).

Compares To: AARON KAMPMAN-Green Bay...Like Kampman, Long is not the fastest, nor is he the strongest defensive end you will find. He lacks the blazing speed you look for in an edge rusher and will struggle to shed blocks at times, but like the Packers standout, he has great field savvy, vision and determination. He knows when he needs to avoid blockers rather than try to overpower them, as he really doesn't have that blow-up strength (good, not great) to dominate, anyway. What he does is take good angles in pursuit and display excellent lateral range working down the line. In a scheme that will let him press the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle, he will have good success. With his pad level and in-line instincts, he could also earn quality minutes as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment, but is more ideally suited to play defensive end in a 3-4 formation.

Injury Report

2004: Sat out the Syracuse (9/25), Clemson (10/07), Florida State (10/16), Duke (10/23) and Maryland (11/06) games due to mononucleosis.

2nd Round (No. 36 overall)

Sam Baker (OT)


Positives: Has a tall frame with solid overall muscle development, good arm length, wide hips and thighs, good lower-body thickness -- especially in the thighs and calves -- big, strong hands and room on his frame to add at least another 20 pounds of bulk without a negative impact...Has good quickness off the snap, running with a normal stride and builds his acceleration nicely...Has the initial step to gain advantage off the ball and will generally play on his feet when stationary, showing good balance to slide and re-adjust in pass protection...Knows how to sink his weight and drop his pads to generate a strong anchor...Hits the defenders instantly coming off the ball, delivering power behind his arm swipes...Gains position and sustains blocks when he plays with a wide base and arms extended...Has the leg drive to steer and pin the defender, but needs to be more consistent with his knee-bend...Can gain position working in-line when he keeps his pad level down and shows decent explosion when generating cut blocks...Plays a bit bent at the waist, but has the upper-body strength to jolt and control his man...Once he gets his hands on an opponent, the battle is over...Uses hands properly to turn the defender, as he is very quick to set and extend, delivering a forceful jab and punch on the pass rusher...Better gaining position on in-line blocks than on the move, as he aggressively works to control and widen rush lanes...Has enough agility to make the reach block, doing a solid job of walling off on screens...Alert to stunts and the blitz, working hard to maintain a low base, using his long arms to extend and lock into the defender...Competes and works hard in the weight room and shows good communication skills to work well with the offensive guard in picking up stunts with ease...Shuffles his feet well setting up in pass protection but lacks sustained quickness...Can quickly redirect a defender when he gets his hands on him, as he throws those hands with very good timing to press and keep the defensive end at bay...Compensates for a lack of ideal lateral movement by playing flat-footed when trying to recover in his kick-slide...While he might struggle with fast movement in the second level, he does a good job of blocking when his man is directly in front of him.

Negatives: Can lock on and control his man at the line of scrimmage and runs with a normal stride, but will struggle to adjust to movement working into the second level...Not used much on traps and pulls, as he takes poor angles in attempts to neutralize linebackers...Needs to keep his feet when working in space, as he will overextend at times in attempts to engage a moving target...Balance is much better working in-line, as he gets his base too narrow when having to move long distances...Has a strong hand punch, but his hands are not quick, causing him to have problems adjusting instantly to counter moves (especially cross-face action)...Will sometimes get his hands outside his frame, resulting in wild whiffs in attempts to sustain...Crosses his feet at times when trying to retreat in pass protection and is susceptible to speed moves off the edge...Just an adequate student, but does show good coverage recognition skills on the field...For a player with his impressive strength, he needs to generate a strong hand jolt with better consistency...Plays with good effort, but needs to stay on blocks longer...Relies more on power than technique, lacking the true explosion you would want from someone his size coming off the snap...Needs to improve his footwork a bit, as he seems hesitant redirecting to inside moves...Will punch and jab at defenders rather than trying to push off.

Compares To: JEFF BACKUS-Detroit...Baker is a strong, physical straight-line blocker who is best when working in-line. He struggles with second-level defenders because he lacks ideal lateral range, but is a good mauler who sustains blocks and widens the running lane. He has enough initial quickness off the snap to gain advantage and plays flat-footed, demonstrating the hand punch to shock and jolt his man. He needs to be quicker with his hands, as he is too inconsistent with cross-face counter moves and, when he gets too tall in his stance and narrow in his base, the defender has some success in pulling him off balance. Finishing his blocks is an area in which he could improve, but Baker is a good mauler with the hand strength to dominate in one-on-one situations.

Injury Report

2005: Suffered a bone chip in his left knee vs. California (11/12), but did not miss any playing time.

2006: Played all year with a left knee sprain, undergoing arthroscopic surgery after the season that limited him in 2007 spring drills.

2007: Suffered a slight cracked rib in a mid-August scrimmage...Did not play vs. Notre Dame (10/20) after missing the second half of the previous game vs. Arizona (10/13) with a hamstring strain...Returned vs. Oregon (10/27), but re-injured his hamstring and was forced to sit out the next two contests vs. Oregon State and California.

2nd Round (No. 49 overall) From Houston

Josh Johnson (QB)

Height: 6-2 3/4

Weight: 213

40-Time: 4.55


Positives: Has a lean, angular frame that needs to add more bulk, but shows no loss in quickness after increasing his weight by 10 pounds from his junior to senior seasons... Has a tight abdomen, toned thighs and calves, adequate arm length and minimal body fat...Quick, mobile scrambler with above average balance and body control to make all the throws when on the move...Possesses that second gear needed to elude when rushing past the line of scrimmage and the vision to locate the cutback lanes... Very smooth in his retreat from center to his throwing point, demonstrating the slide-and-adjust agility to step up in the pocket or roll out to avoid pressure...Shows very good knee bend and the ability to weave through traffic, making a good effort to provide ball security before heading up field...Capable of handling the mental aspect of the game, as he makes all of the required reads and checks to excel in a pass-oriented offense...Won't hesitate to square his shoulders and drive his legs to gain tough yardage up the middle rather than passively head to the sidelines to avoid any contact...Doesn't force the ball into traffic and can keep defenses honest with his long-range arm strength or ability to weave in and out of traffic as a ball carrier...With his body control, agility and hip flexibility, he is quick driving back from center, doing a nice job of setting his feet in either 3-step or 5-step drops...Gets to his throwing point fluidly and has the balance to make all the throws on the run...Nimble and agile rolling out of the pocket and has the balance to step up and avoid pocket pressure...While patient waiting for the plays to develop, he is not the type who will hold on to the ball too long and then try to force the action to make the play, as he knows when he needs to throw the ball away...Demonstrates the compact delivery and throwing motion, along with the wrist flick, to get the ball out cleanly and quickly. He has a compact motion, holding the ball chest-high to execute a fluid three-quarter release...Seems more comfortable airing the ball out, rather than playing dink-and-dunk with a short-area passing game (accuracy is a bit off on screens, wheel routes)...Effective at throwing ropes 40 yards downfield with ease...Accurate throwing from the pocket and has the balance to also make those throws on the move...Consistent setting his feet and shows good mechanics delivering the ball on time...Likes to air the ball out more than stay underneath, as he knows how to get the ball to his targets in stride rather than have them wait or come back for it...Keeps his cool under pressure and knows that when all else fails, he has the feet to step up and avoid the pocket pressure...Stands tough under duress and shows confidence in his ability to execute the play...Patient waiting for plays to develop and does a very good job with ball security...Vocal on the field, demonstrating a little bit of Brett Favre with his bravado...Capable of getting big yardage with his feet and is a dangerous threat running with the ball...As a ballcarrier, he shows good strength and body lean to gain additional yardage after the initial hit and is conscious of protecting the ball and shielding it from the defenders...Builds to top acceleration nicely and is alert to coverages (won't run into spots too often)...Knows how to get the ball to his deep targets over their outside shoulder without the receiver having to adjust.

Negatives: Needs to add more bulk and has just adequate height for a drop-back position, but does a good job of scanning the field and his mobility could be an asset in a spread offense...Must work on his timing a bit (needs to take a bit off those tosses to make it easier for the receiver to secure without having to adjust), but has the vision to scan the field and make good progression reads...Gets the ball through the throwing arc well and has a lively arm, but needs to learn how to vary his speed at times (puts too much zip on his short throws)...Has good arm strength, but when he fails to set his feet properly, his throws will wobble...Has not faced as many complex defenses as he will experience in the NFL, but he shows good anticipation and timing making all of his throws.

Compares To: RANDALL CUNNINGHAM-ex-Philadelphia (1986-95), Minnesota (97-99), Dallas (2000), Baltimore (2001)...Like Cunningham, Johnson's athletic ability separates him from the rest of this quarterback crop. He is not as big or strong as Randall, but has the same body control, balance and scrambling ability that forces defenses to account for not only his arm, but also his feet. He will need to add more bulk to compete at the next level, but with his developing arm strength and excellent vision, he would be an ideal fit for a West Coast/spread offense.

Injury Report

2002: Missed six games during his high school football season due to a right ankle fracture.

2005: Underwent surgery in February to repair his right knee meniscus.

2006: Left the Cal-Davis game (11/25) for four minutes in the third quarter, playing most of the game with severe leg cramps.

3rd Round (No. 67 overall)

Jordy Nelson

Height: 6-2 5/8

Weight: 217

40-Time: 4.51


Positives: Intriguing combination of size, hands and overall athleticism for the position. ... Developed into an All-American wideout after signing with Kansas State as a safety. ... Good initial quickness off the snap to get into his route. ... Sneaky deep speed made more effective by good route-running. ... Best attribute might be his hands and toughness. ... Can adjust to the poorly thrown ball and pluck it out of the air or off his shoe laces. ... Knows when to make the body catch when defenders are near. ... Good body control to get his feet down in bounds and knows where the first down marker is. ... Enjoyed strong games against quality cornerbacks (Dwight Lowery, Terrence Wheatley, Aqib Talib). ... Enjoyed a monster senior campaign -- but was very effective as a sophomore and junior (pre-injury) as well. ... Faster on the field than his timed 40-yard dash would indicate.

Negatives: A better athlete than given credit for, but isn't the elite athlete his senior production may have you believe. ... Good route-runner, but lacks explosiveness out of his breaks and elite deep ball speed. ... Primary target in this offense, receiving more than twice as many passes his way than any other Wildcat receiver. ... Big play artist for KSU, but may lack the acceleration to be anything more than a possession receiver at the next level. ... Suffered a sprained PCL in his left knee that hampered him throughout the 2006 season.

4th Round*

Chad Rinehart (OT)/OG

Height: 6-5

Weight: 308

40-Time: 5.20


Positives: Has a tall frame with good overall body thickness, especially in his legs...Has room to add additional bulk, but it could affect his overall quickness...Has good arm length and very good straight-line quickness and explosion for his size...Durable athlete with the ability to play through pain...Has very good balance on the move and takes good angles in pursuit of second-level defenders, evident by his high amount of downfield blocks every year...Shows good body control and adequate change-of-direction agility...Could shift inside to guard at the next level because of his trap-blocking skills and his ability to pick up stunts and blitzes when working in-line...All-out battler with a solid work ethic, showing a good mental grasp of the game, quickly taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field...Hard worker in the weight room and does a nice job of using that power to deliver a jarring hand punch...Shows the explosion off the snap to easily seal the corner and has a "take no prisoners" approach taking on defenders, as he plays until the whistle and will not hesitate to punish him man...Respected team leader who will not hesitate to get vocal when a teammate fails to perform to standards...Must improve his knee bend, but backpedals quickly in pass protection, taking full advantage of his big chest, powerful arms, wide hips and thick thighs to easily wall off the defender...Has adequate quickness off the snap, showing the balance to keep his feet in attempts to gain position blocking in-line...Classic mauler who has the hand pop to shock and surprise a defender, doing a nice job of getting under the opponents' jerseys to sustain...When he keeps his pads down, he generates the explosion needed to create and maintain the rush lanes and has the ability to execute good angles to stalk and neutralize second-level defenders (eight downfield blocks in five 2007 games and 15 more in 11 game in '06)...With his strength, hand punch, body control and ability to square up, he is very effective at getting out in front on pulls and traps...Does a nice job of getting position to wall off the blitzers and displays very good balance and anchor taking on the bull rush...Very active going after other defenders after the initial block...Will deliver the crunching hand punch to keep defenders on their heels and is a very focused drive blocker who simply knocks over defenders with true aggression...Generates movement, firing low to take the defender off his feet...Knows how to extend his arms and take proper blocking angles to prevent the bull rush.

Negatives: Has good explosion coming off the snap, but might be a better fit to play inside at guard, as he is a bit of a waist-bender and struggles at times to move laterally, but does compensate with a strong hand punch and ability to maintain his anchor...Has a very powerful hand punch, but must do a better job extending to make reach blocks and keeping placement longer in attempts to sustain...Has the explosion to get back and take on edge rushers, but lacks the speed to recover when beaten off the snap...Might not have the flexibility to play tackle at the next level, but he shows the strength to leverage and create movement, along with holding the crease for the running game when redirecting inside (traits needed for an offensive guard).

Compares To: LOGAN MANKINS-New England...Like Mankins, Rinehart is a collegiate tackle who might have a quicker route to a starting job at the professional level with a potential shift to offensive guard. He is a punishing trap blocker with good explosion getting out in front when pulling. He uses his strength well to sustain and widen rush lanes, but must work on bending more at the knees than at the waist. He has a hand punch that will shock and jolt an opponent, showing improvement placing those hands as a senior than he did in the past. In isolated coverage, he will dominate a smaller opponent. With his body control and ability to square up and wall off second level defenders, he could bring immediate value with a possible shift in-line.

Injury Report

2004: Sat out the Youngstown State (10/16), Western Illinois (10/23) and Southwest Missouri State (10/30) games after undergoing a laparoscopic appendectomy (10/21).


5th Round*

Tom Zbikowski (FS)/SS

Height: 5-11 1/4

Weight: 211

40-Time: 4.55


Positives: Well-chiseled frame. ... Intelligent and has the instincts for the position. ... Can break on the ball and is effective in zone coverage. ... Understands his role as a last line of defense and takes good angles to the ball. ... Aggressive in run support. ... Willing to take on blocks to make the play and an effective open-field tackler. ... Can lay the big hit. ... Has seen action at strong and free safety. ... Has the combination of athleticism and smarts to be effective in man and zone schemes.

Negatives: Athletic, but his pure speed is a concern. ... Forty time has been estimated at 4.55 and he can be caught out of position on deep passes. ... Has a slight hitch in his hip turn and loses a half-step in his transition. ... Quickness is evident as a returner, but is not always there as a defender. ... Can be too aggressive and will at times be caught in poor position against effective play-action.


6th Round*

Chris Harrington (DE)

Height: 6-4 3/8

Weight: 264

40-Time: 4.81


Positives: Very good size and may be able to play either end spot on early downs. ... Motor runs high, gives everything on almost every play. ... Chases plays down the line and downfield. ... Reads-and-reacts well, rarely getting fooled by misdirection. ... Uses hands to get under the pads of and fend off offensive tackles. ... Decent closing speed in the pass rush for his size. ... Played hurt with a shoulder injury through most of 2006.

Negatives: Only an adequate initial step to the quarterback. ... Doesn't have enough lower body strength and may struggle against larger tackles to bull rush or hold his ground. ... Lacks great pass-rush moves, gets most tackles behind the line due to coverage and effort. ... Production dropped his senior year (11.5 TFL and 7.5 sacks in 2006 to seven and 2.0 in '07).


7th Round*

Jeremy Leman (LB)

Height: 6-1 3/4

Weight: 245

40-Time: 4.80


Positives: Has a thick chest and broad shoulders...His intelligence and field vision are his best assets...Made all the defensive calls and is a highly emotional and vocal leader who compensates for a lack of speed by taking good angles and generally being in position to make plays...More of a downhill tackler, but when he keeps his pads down, he is decent at locking on and dragging down the opponent (when he gets too tall in his stance, blockers have success standing him up)...Has a keen knack for seeing the play develop and can make situational changes with no problem...Works hard in the training room and in practice...Solid work ethic...Needs room to build up power, but has enough straight-line quickness to take on the lead blocker in rush lanes...Has a lack of speed, but works around blocks, showing a good swim move to escape the bigger one-on-one blockers...Showed marked improvement covering tight ends and trying to reroute the opponent (no longer takes forearm swipes but extends to reach and lock on)...When he gets a clean lane, he can generate a short-area pursuit to pressure the pocket (just not fast enough to sustain speed going long distances)...Helped out by his instincts, rather than speed, when closing on the play...When he brings his hands to wrap, he brings ballcarriers down...Makes very good reads coming off the snap and reacts quickly when he locates the ball...Can cover the pass in the short area because of he takes proper angles (has decent depth in his pass drops)...Needs to break down and come under control better when working in space, but is an adequate collision-type player with good timing closing on the action in front of him...Brings added value with his ability to play on all the special teams units.

Negatives: Has a slender lower body that needs more bulk and strength...Has had two ankle surgeries in the last year and durability issues are sure to arise...There are concerns about him adding bulk, as the additional weight will impact his adequate quickness...Does not always play up to his weight-room strength and struggles to hold ground at the point of attack vs. strong double-team activity...Has marginal change-of-direction agility, making him a liability playing on the outside...Good tackler, but struggles to adjust to ballcarriers redirecting to the cutback lanes and, while he gets a high amount of tackles, he needs to explode behind those hits...If he takes a false step to the ball, he doesn't have the plant-and-drive skills to recover...Does not have the brute strength needed to stack and control...When he fails to deliver a forceful punch, a lineman can get into his jersey, pinning him back to seal...Can get overwhelmed by blockers when he tries to shoot the gaps...Must do a better job of sticking his foot in the ground and anchoring, as he can get run over due to a poor base...Has to use his hands better in attempts to protect his feet and absorbs too many blocks when he fails to use his hands...Must cover the pass in the short area only, as he has problems locating the ball or reading patterns properly playing in the deep third of the field (marginal zone-coverage skills).

Compares To: NICK GREISEN-Baltimore...Like Greisen, there are quicker and stronger athletes, but few in this draft have the intelligence and instincts Leman can bring. A possible late-round find, his draft status is now in question after ankle surgery was required to repair an injury suffered in the 2008 Rose Bowl. Not known for his speed, teams will have a hard time evaluating his physical skills leading up to the draft if he is unable to recover before post-Combine workouts. Still, some team might bring him into camp as a developmental type. There is just something about him that tells you he will contribute in the future -- not likely as a starter -- as a reserve and on special teams.

Injury Report

2006: Bothered by a left ankle sprain, underwent arthroscopic surgery after the season (1/10/07).

2007: Suffered a right ankle injury vs. Southern California in the Rose Bowl (1/01/08), underwent surgery to repair in late January..."It will be a three- or four-month recovery process," said Leman's agent, Rick Smith of Priority Sports. That timetable means Leman will be unable to work out for scouts before the NFL draft April 26. He still will attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis to interview with teams, but he won't be able to run. He had been working out for the draft in Nashville when he decided on surgery.


7th Round* From Pittsburgh

Jamie Silva (FS)

Height: 5-103/4

Weight: 204


Positives: Has a thick upper-body frame with good chest and arm tone, tight waist and hips, thick thighs and calves and minimal body fat...Physical tackler with the frame to add at least another 10 pounds without any loss of quickness...Outstanding coverage man for the kickoff and punt units, playing with reckless abandon (see 2007 Georgia Tech, Army and Virginia Tech games)...Has the balance and body control to slip under blocks and apply backside pressure...Very alert of the action on the field, playing with impressive strength to quickly gain leverage...Competitive player, who makes quick decisions and excels at keeping the action in front of him, showing proper wrap-up tackle technique, as he does a good job of attacking the ballcarrier's outside leg to impede forward progress (see 2007 Wake Forest, Maryland and Virginia Tech/ACC Championship games)...Sets the tone of the game with his aggressive play and does not hesitate to close once he spots the ball, as he plays with good functional strength that allows him to explode behind his hits...Has the field awareness to adjust to the ball in flight and is efficient at handling the switch-off when working in the zone...Has a good feel for his assignment, showing the ability to anticipate to get a jump on the ball...Plays well within the defensive game plan and is not the type that will neglect his responsibilities...Has a strong desire to fill the rush lanes, extending his arms properly to engulf ballcarriers...Charges with good urgency to fill the rush lanes and is a good force-type safety with the athletic agility to make plays in the open field...Consistently goes for the ball, taking proper angles as he times his hits...Displays the vision to turn and locate the ball in a crowd and while he lacks blazing speed, he is quick to close, staying low in his pads...Secure tackler who displays his power as he consistently drives the opponent back...Exceptional worker in the training room, so much so, the coaches have to force him to leave...Plays with great emotion and desire, knowing he has the strength to deliver crunching tackles when asked to play near the line of scrimmage...Shows good route awareness and maintains contact on the receiver playing in the short area, demonstrating the natural hands and leaping ability to compete for the ball at its high point...Keeps his shoulders square and stays low, driving with his legs to rock the ball carrier back at the line of scrimmage...Runs with an effortless stride and is very decisive in his movements on plays in front of him...Plays with a total disregard for his own safety and is the type that plays through pain...Gets a good jump on the ball to stay with the receivers in the short-range area, using his hands well in attempts to impede the route's progression...Rare to see him take wasted steps in transition coming out of his backpedal and into his breaks...Loves to compete for the high passes, as he is good at elevating to catch the ball in his hands and away from his body...Always sticks his head into the pile and is very good at coming up and filling the rush lanes, looking like the Colts' Bob Sanders with his ability to use his hands to slip blocks and push the fullback back into the hole (uses his hands well to counter the bigger blocker's moves)...Highly intelligent player (note Wonderlic score of 29) and will have no problems digesting a complicated playbook...On special teams, he is a highly effective and fearless wedge-buster who breaks loose up the middle in a flash...Not used often, but has that low center of gravity and leg drive to surprise a lethargic blocker when asked to shoot the gaps and blitz...Has no trouble mirroring tight ends, backs and slot receivers, turning and trailing well while not allowing any separation underneath.

Negatives: Has shorter-than-ideal arm reach and small hands, but compensates with good leaping ability, timing and natural hands to reach and pluck the ball at its highest point...Earlier in his career, he looked a bit stiff in his hip turn when transitioning, but had better lateral range as a senior, as he refined his backpedal, staying lower in his pads to come out of his breaks with few wasted steps and no longer rounds his cuts...Lacks that sharp burst or second gear needed to recover when beaten deep, but uses his hands well to press and makes a conscious effort to turn and trail the receiver throughout the route...Has improved his backpedal technique, but he will round his breaks at times (gets caught in his feet at times trying to break in the open and needs to improve his hip swerve in order to get a more fluid motion when turning on the ball)...Takes very good angles to close on the ball, but when he over-pursues, he is not always capable of recovering and getting back into the play...Might be a better fit at strong safety, where he excels at playing downhill, as he might not have the desired range to handle the speedy receivers in their attempts to separate in the deep secondary.

Compares To: COREY CHAVOUS-ST. Louis...Few safeties in the professional ranks have the instinctive feel for the ball and knowledge of the action in front of him that Chavous displays. Silva plays with the same field vision, ball anticipation and determination. He is a physical tackler who excels in run support and does a nice job of impeding the ballcarrier's forward progress with his hard-hitting wrap-up tackling skills. He has small, yet natural hands to make the interception and is very good at gaining placement in attempts to reroute the receiver. What he lacks in hip fluidness and explosive second gear, he makes up for with solid tackling skills, taking proper angles and great anticipation skills. Toss in his total disregard for his own well-being, determination to make the play and an added bonus with his kamikaze-style of play on special teams and you have player who is certain to be a fan favorite.

Injury Report

2006: Suffered a medial collateral strain in his left knee vs. North Carolina State (9/23), missing the following game vs. Maine (9/30).

2007: Did not run on Pro Day (3/20) due to a lower right hamstring strain.



Derek Lokey DT

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 290 | 40-Time: 5.15

Red Keith LB

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 242 | 40-Time: 4.85

Danny Woodhead RB

Height: 5-9 | Weight: 200 | 40-Time: 4.45


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Free Agency

Pickup Michael Turner from SD for the power running game

NO qb's needed: Redman is capable of being a good starter with a good OLine and power

running attack to take pressure off him....

No TE's needed: Team needs to resign Blakely who is solid and courtney anderson for depth continue to develop Milner for the future after his injury

Draft 2008



2nd--Pat Sims-DT, Auburn...Athletic and Strong against run and pass

3rd--Chilo Rachal, OG, USC....Nimble guard with good size for the power run game

4th--Frank Okam, DT, Texas...Massive run stopper to rotate on DLine

5th--Ezra Butler, OLB, Nevada-Reno..Boley like skills to revamp LB Core

6th--Chris Harrington, DE, Texas A&M...Nonstop motor to backup the DE's

7th--Brandon Coutu, K, Georgia....Kicks 50-60 yds with ease and accuracy

7th--Darius Reynaud,WR/KR, W.Virginia...Dynamic returner with great hands

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It's not a bad draft, I like most of the players picked (Josh Johnson the main exception), but it's just not a draft I can get excited about.

Long just isn't a fit here I don't believe.

Josh Johnson is taken about 2 rounds too early.

The rest are fairly solid picks.

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