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Graham Could Be A First Round Pick For Falcons


hawkeye
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I don't think there's too many Falcons fans who wouldn't be satisfied with Brandon Graham as our first round pick.

You have to try very hard to find someone who is willing to say bad things about Graham. He's a capable pass rusher, a willing run-stopper and an intelligent, hard-working defensive end in general. Everyone likes him, and yet he's not ranked as the top defensive end in the draft by almost anyone.

Why? I'll tell you why.

Graham is not a stunning athlete. He's not Jamaal Anderson or Jason Pierre-Paul. He doesn't have tantalizing speed, etc. etc. Or so draft experts, their hearts fluttering with thoughts of athleticism, would tell you. Even Scott Wright of Draft Countdown, one of the experts I trust most, has him pegged as not a great athlete. Okay then.

But then you look at his Combine stats. He ran a 4.69 40 yard-dash, just behind Pierre-Paul's 4.64. He posted 31 reps, showing his strength. Thomas Dimitroff has proved time and time again that he will look at a guy who scouts have deemed a "midget" or "stubby armed" or "fatty fat mcfatterson" and see whether the guy can actually play the game of football, which Graham clearly can. He was extremely productive in his four year career at Michigan, where he piled up more than 120 tackles and almost 30 sacks. He's a safe pick, but he's also a smart pick.

So now that we've dispelled that, what are his actual weaknesses? Well, for one, some scouts seem to think he'll have to change to outside linebacker in the NFL. So he can take over for Mike Peterson in a year? Score! But if that doesn't alarm you, there's concerns (Wright is one of those who mentions this) that he can't generate that sudden burst of speed and power that allows a defensive end or linebacker to get from Point A to Point Eating A Quarterback's Face. That would be a legitimate concern, because we are pretty obviously drafting a guy like Graham to be a factor as a pass rusher.

In the end, though, he's the most obvious pick for the Falcons if they're inclined to look at defensive end. He'll probably be there at 19, he's been an extremely productive football player all his life, and his athleticism and strength seem to be criminally underrated. He could step in immediately and provide a boost as a starting defensive end, and he might never look back once he gets that position. The worst case scenario for Graham is that he doesn't fit particularly well at end and has to move to outside linebacker, but no matter where he plays I believe he'll be at minimum a solid pro. That sounds like the kind of guy Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith would like to have around.

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2010/3/2/1332729/brandon-graham-could-be-a-first

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I woulkd like it if they picked Graham even if Weatherspoon was still available.

AND yes I think Weatherspoon will be a very good NFL linebacker

Team need (ie pass rush) fisrt

I can understand that. But I think we can get a player in the 3rd (Greg Hardy) that can give us that pass rush we need. I really believe Spoon will be an All-Pro LB.

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I can understand that. But I think we can get a player in the 3rd (Greg Hardy) that can give us that pass rush we need. I really believe Spoon will be an All-Pro LB.

I agree that he will be good BUT what need does he fill in 2010?

Will he start instaed of Peterson, will he start instead of Nicholas.

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I agree that he will be good BUT what need does he fill in 2010?

Will he start instaed of Peterson, will he start instead of Nicholas.

Yep. Don't be fooled by the stats, Peterson is a liability at WLB, especially against the pass. He is strong, can shed blocks etc, but is not great in pursuit and is slow flowing to the ball, and this will only get worse this year at his age. A ROY type OLB, which Weatherspoon would be for us, is a HUGE upgrade over Peterson.

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He would start over Nicholas. The man is a beast in coverage. And rookie LB's tend to make a bigger impact than rookie DE's.

Nicholas would stay at SLB and Peterson would be the backup, filling in at all three positions. Nicholas/Lofton/Weatherspoon is an elite LBer unit.

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If we're drafting DE in the first round, I honestly don't think we'll choose Graham over Griffen. Griffen is underrated coming out of his junior season. He ran a 4.66 40 yard and mimiched Suh in the bench press. This guy gets off the block like a madman, he reminds me of Dwight Freeney.

Plus, he's got a great football mentality:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4910328

I'd be much more satisfied with Griffen or Weatherspoon over Graham.

Edited by abstract
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I don't think there's too many Falcons fans who wouldn't be satisfied with Brandon Graham as our first round pick.

You have to try very hard to find someone who is willing to say bad things about Graham. He's a capable pass rusher, a willing run-stopper and an intelligent, hard-working defensive end in general. Everyone likes him, and yet he's not ranked as the top defensive end in the draft by almost anyone.

Why? I'll tell you why.

Graham is not a stunning athlete. He's not Jamaal Anderson or Jason Pierre-Paul. He doesn't have tantalizing speed, etc. etc. Or so draft experts, their hearts fluttering with thoughts of athleticism, would tell you. Even Scott Wright of Draft Countdown, one of the experts I trust most, has him pegged as not a great athlete. Okay then.

But then you look at his Combine stats. He ran a 4.69 40 yard-dash, just behind Pierre-Paul's 4.64. He posted 31 reps, showing his strength. Thomas Dimitroff has proved time and time again that he will look at a guy who scouts have deemed a "midget" or "stubby armed" or "fatty fat mcfatterson" and see whether the guy can actually play the game of football, which Graham clearly can. He was extremely productive in his four year career at Michigan, where he piled up more than 120 tackles and almost 30 sacks. He's a safe pick, but he's also a smart pick.

So now that we've dispelled that, what are his actual weaknesses? Well, for one, some scouts seem to think he'll have to change to outside linebacker in the NFL. So he can take over for Mike Peterson in a year? Score! But if that doesn't alarm you, there's concerns (Wright is one of those who mentions this) that he can't generate that sudden burst of speed and power that allows a defensive end or linebacker to get from Point A to Point Eating A Quarterback's Face. That would be a legitimate concern, because we are pretty obviously drafting a guy like Graham to be a factor as a pass rusher.

In the end, though, he's the most obvious pick for the Falcons if they're inclined to look at defensive end. He'll probably be there at 19, he's been an extremely productive football player all his life, and his athleticism and strength seem to be criminally underrated. He could step in immediately and provide a boost as a starting defensive end, and he might never look back once he gets that position. The worst case scenario for Graham is that he doesn't fit particularly well at end and has to move to outside linebacker, but no matter where he plays I believe he'll be at minimum a solid pro. That sounds like the kind of guy Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith would like to have around.

http://www.thefalcoholic.com/2010/3/2/1332729/brandon-graham-could-be-a-first

I'd be okay with the Graham pick, but only if Weatherspoon and the top 4 OTs are gone. Even then, I'd rather us take Benn or Tate than a rookie DE that won't be a significant upgrade over what we have already, IF he's an upgrade at all.

Biermann made huge progress from year one to year two. A small improvement this year would make him a solid starter, and a big jump (like from year one to two) would make him a good starter. Five sacks from a second year player, while being decent against the run, might mean he's an 8 sack guy as a starter, especially with the return of Jerry and the increased blitzing that will result from the upgraded DBs.

I don't think DE is a very big need at all to be honest, we have PLEMTY of depth there, and a rookie would just be part of an already large rotation. Abe, Biermann, Davis, Sidbury, JA98 is enough to get it done. Biermann should make a jump, Sidbury should improve to about where Biermann was last year, Davis is servecable, Anderson can stop the run and be a decent reserve. We're fine at DE.

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If we're drafting DE in the first round, I honestly don't think we'll choose Graham over Griffen. Griffen is underrated coming out of his junior season. He ran a 4.66 40 yard and mimiched Suh in the bench press. This guy gets off the block like a madman, he reminds me of Dwight Freeney.

Plus, he's got a great football mentality:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4910328

I'd be much more satisfied with Griffen or Weatherspoon over Graham.

I like Griffin more as well, he has much more upside than Graham.

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If we're drafting DE in the first round, I honestly don't think we'll choose Graham over Griffen. Griffen is underrated coming out of his junior season. He ran a 4.66 40 yard and mimiched Suh in the bench press. This guy gets off the block like a madman, he reminds me of Dwight Freeney.

Plus, he's got a great football mentality:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4910328

I'd be much more satisfied with Griffen or Weatherspoon over Graham.

I would be find with any one of the top 4/5 DEs, It's the most straight forward way to fix the pass rush and to me that is the highest priority-- fix the pass rush.

I think Peterson/Wire

Lofton/ ??/James??

Nicholas/Adkins

are adequate at LB BUT the DL sucks in pass rushing

Edited by delaigle
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The only thing i disagree with that article is him being able to play LB in a 4-3. Mayock said he is not as good in coverage as Woodley was and he is stiffer than Woodley was. I think the he is destined to be a 4-3 DE. Having said that, he has shown he is a hardworker and quick learner so anything is possible with him.

People seem to forget that just because your not super athletic does not mean your ceiling is lower. The fact that he does work so hard and is a smart player actually raises his ceiling more than just an athletic freak like JPP.

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I would be find with Griffen or any one of the top 4/5 DEs, It's the most straight forward way to fix the pass rush and to me that is the highest priority-- fix the pass rush.

I think Peterson/Wire

Lofton/ ??/James??

Nicholas/Adkins

are adequate at LB BUT the DL sucks in pass rushing

Drafting a rookie DE is not the way you improve the pass rush my friend. A good season for a starting rookie DE is 5 sacks or so. We will get that and more in Biermann. The pass rush sucked because of 1) no Jerry and 2) a bad secondary that forced us to be conservative with the defensive scheme. Jerry's return will free things up for Babs and the DEs, particularly Abe. Biermann and Sid will improve. Signing Dunta means better coverage which means more aggressive play calling. The rush will be much better this year. Adding a rookie DE won't affect it very much at all.

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The only thing i disagree with that article is him being able to play LB in a 4-3. Mayock said he is not as good in coverage as Woodley was and he is stiffer than Woodley was. I think the he is destined to be a 4-3 DE. Having said that, he has shown he is a hardworker and quick learner so anything is possible with him.

People seem to forget that just because your not super athletic does not mean your ceiling is lower. The fact that he does work so hard and is a smart player actually raises his ceiling more than just an athletic freak like JPP.

I feel the same way. Clark you are a smart man. From reading a lot of your posts I can tell you are smart about

football.

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I would like Graham but I agree that Spoon could possibly win the starting job over Peterson and I take Peterson as a guy that would help teach Spoon and not pout about it and do whatever is best for the team. Graham and Spoon both seem like high character and strong work ethic guys and would fill a long term need but I think Spoon is the better option. Plus if we were to go DE, size and athletic ability wise Carlos Dunlap would be the best fit.

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I would like Graham but I agree that Spoon could possibly win the starting job over Peterson and I take Peterson as a guy that would help teach Spoon and not pout about it and do whatever is best for the team. Graham and Spoon both seem like high character and strong work ethic guys and would fill a long term need but I think Spoon is the better option. Plus if we were to go DE, size and athletic ability wise Carlos Dunlap would be the best fit.

You were doing ok til you got to Dunlap. It's like you went to the basket but couldn't finish.

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Drafting a rookie DE is not the way you improve the pass rush my friend. A good season for a starting rookie DE is 5 sacks or so. We will get that and more in Biermann. The pass rush sucked because of 1) no Jerry and 2) a bad secondary that forced us to be conservative with the defensive scheme. Jerry's return will free things up for Babs and the DEs, particularly Abe. Biermann and Sid will improve. Signing Dunta means better coverage which means more aggressive play calling. The rush will be much better this year. Adding a rookie DE won't affect it very much at all.

Teams either play a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 defense

When Perry gets back ATl goes from a 2-3 defense to a 3-3 defense

I do not think that having Jerry back will change much in the way of pass rush,, total pass defense maybe but not pass rush. I also do not think that Bierman will make a big difference in the pass rush either

ie I do not see an improvement from 09 to 10 in Bierman, I think Bierman is at his top already and it is not good enough.

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At 268 and he supposedly lacks pursuit speed I don't know why anyone would consider him an LB. As long as he doesn't struggle with larger OT's then I don't care how tall he is. Jamaal Anderson played DE for about a season and a half at Arkansas. He had 22 reps at the bench press at the combine. I know the combine isn't everything. I think it is more of a warning than anything. 22 is pretty weak for a Dline guy. I think that is what explains some of his not being able to disengage from blocks or move the Oline guy(s). 2007 was one of the most disappointing top round DE classes. I think there are plenty of DE's in this class. It is a matter of which ones are legitimate DE's and which ones are tweeners.

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People seem to forget that just because your not super athletic does not mean your ceiling is lower. The fact that he does work so hard and is a smart player actually raises his ceiling more than just an athletic freak like JPP.

I guess by "people" you mean NFL scouts and GMs. If his ceiling were as high as JPP he'd be a top ten pick if not top five (based on his high floor). He will probably be there at 19 despite his high floor because his upside, or at least his precieved/probably upside, is not as high as the other top DEs.

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Teams either play a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 defense

When Perry gets back ATl goes from a 2-3 defense to a 3-3 defense

I do not think that having Jerry back will change much in the way of pass rush,, total pass defense maybe but not pass rush. I also do not think that Bierman will make a big difference in the pass rush either

ie I do not see an improvement from 09 to 10 in Bierman, I think Bierman is at his top already and it is not good enough.

Interior pass rush makes a BIG difference, and Jerry will be a big upgrade over Thomas in that regard. Pass rushing DTs collapse the pocket, which opens things up for the DEs even if the DT doesn't get the sack. And I find it very hard to believe that Biermann has peaked after his second year, when DEs typically take several years to reach their prime. Even if he has peaked, though, a rookie DE won't be an updrade over him as a pass rusher. 5 sacks last year, more interior rush and more agressive play calling would mean about 7 sacks even if he doesn't improve. No rookie DE at 19 will be a better pass rusher out of the gate than Biermann.

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I don't think coach smith would bench Peterson this year. I think he would keep his starting job

Smith seems like the kind of guy that goes with skill/talen over loyalty. If Spoon is better, which he certainly would be, then he's be the starter imo.

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