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A different way to look at the Atlanta Falcons draft


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Bird Watching: A different way to look at the Atlanta Falcons draft

April 28, 11:10 PM Atlanta Falcons Examiner Daniel Cox

Still stuck on the Atlanta Falcons draft haul?

No one seems to like a draft that includes an immediate-starter type (that's Sean Weatherspoon for those not following along at home) and a bunch of guys that at worst provide some serious quality depth.

First, if you think quality depth isn't a necessary evil in today's salary-cap NFL (yeah, I know...no cap this year...but just wait, it's coming back) need I remind you of Atlanta's 2009 season? A season that saw the hometown birds scratch and claw--or talon, whichever the case may be--their way to 9-7. They were a few stronger backups away from a playoff appearance in back-to-back seasons.

Second, look at the bigger picture. One of the reasons you're seeing average grades for the Falcons' 2010 draft (average being around a C grade) is because those analysts are looking on the surface. They either want quantity (Is it possible to have two first-round picks and not get an A?) or the sexy names in the middle rounds.

Names like Dickson, Williams, McCoy, Graham, Gilyard, Campbell, McKnight, and Hernandez are all sexy.

Names like Peters, Johnson, Hawley, and Franks aren't sexy.

But let me give you a different spin.

You want sexy names? Here you go:

Dunta Robinson

Tony Gonzalez

I won't use "sexy" anymore in this column, but I think you see where I'm going.

(Safe to say you'd take Gonzalez over any pick at No. 19 in the second round and on? (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Another way to look at the draft is by viewing it through the eyes of a team executive, say a GM...maybe one the fans (and obviously Weatherspoon as well) call "TD".

What would TD do?

Well, he's looking at his draft picks in tandem with what he accomplished in free agency.

So before we even begin to consider the possibilities that Mike Johnson and Joe Hawley are starters for the Falcons on the offensive line in 2-3 seasons, look in the immediate future. Three starters (and upgrades by all accounts) have been added to this team.

The $57 million-dollar man, Dunta Robinson, comes to Atlanta to shore up a secondary that at times last season seemed to only catch Smith's glaring eye from the sideline.

And of course Tony Gonzalez is already a legend in Atlanta sports. How many team's tight end is paired with the quarterback by the franchise's marketing team as the only players that will absolutely be available to the media on certain days after practice? That speaks volumes about the future Hall of Famer's importance, don't you think?

A few more things on Adonis, I mean Tony Gonzalez.

He's a Hall of Famer, at least a future one. Dimitroff and the Falcons landed him for a second-round pick. This year's second-round pick. So last season they were playing with house money with the tight end that is now entering his 14th season. This season, he's what they get for what would have been their second-round pick.

Also, do you think this is his last season? No way.

He loves this team. After all those years of struggling in Kansas City, you think he's not enjoying this run with the Falcons, a team with some seriously developing young talent? He is and he'll play the length of his contract, which incidentally runs out in 2011.

So three years from the best tight end in the history of the game for this year's second-round pick? Yes, please.

And yes, I heard the pleas for the Falcons to draft a tight end this year.

"Let him learn at the feet of Tony Gonzalez, the best there ever was," they said.

When the Falcons selected guard Mike Johnson, tight ends Aaron Hernandez, Dennis Pitta, Garrett Graham, Clay Harbor, and that guy from Illinois were all still on the board.

Dimitroff went with a guard over the tight end.

My rationale for that is this:

The draft is always a gamble, but I'm much more inclined to gamble that Gonzalez is less likely to sustain an injury than Harvey Dahl will. So which backup would you rather draft there?

Also, look at the first-round tight ends in the last few drafts. Starters, the whole lot of them. And solid ones.

Who knows where the Falcons could be in 2012 when Gonzalez may finally hang it up. He'll be 35 when that season ends and there's a good chance it'll come then. So if Dimitroff follows the draft path he's set already, why wouldn't they be in a position to take a tight end then?

So I repeat, which is more valuable this season? Harvey Dahl's backup or Tony freakin' Gonzalez' backup?

Never mind the fact that Dahl is known as the league's dirtiest player. A dirty player whose contract is up next season. Some team will pay for that nickname and reputation alone. The Falcons...well, they probably won't.

So, in short, look at the Falcons draft in conjunction with free agency. They are not independent of each other. The addition of players comes both ways.

And look at what Atlanta has added.

Weatherspoon, Gonzalez, and Robinson.

And some dudes that may start for your team in a few years.

And I haven't even mention the return of two rookies that essentially lost their entire 2009 season.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1778-Atlanta-Falcons-Examiner~y2010m4d28-Bird-Watching

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I have to say, I really enjoyed this article. He is spot on when he said we got low grades because they weren't the 'sexy pick'

If I remember correctly, the exact words were used when we got Mike Smith. He was not the 'sexy pick' at head coach. And look where we are now.

I think we drafted very SOLID players, and had a pretty succsesful draft.

Edited by ConnFalcon
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One thing about this draft is that we've set up ourselves for a serious compensatory package in 2012. At least that's what I think. I think we may see a large number of vets depart next year which could translate into many mid-to-low rounds compensatory picks. Clabo, Dahl, Abe, Keonon, Norwood (and a bunch of less prominent players or retirements on roster) could go next year and we have replacements for most (not all though).

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this is what i've been arguing all along. Of course SEA and SAN FRAN got "A's". They had multiple 1st round picks. ATL drafted an impact player with their 1st round pick. No DE from this draft will provide the type of impact Weatherspoon will provide. The remaining picks that mattered most added to talent between the tackles both offensively and defensively.

I don't know about everyone else in viewing this draft, but I love the picks in the mid-rounds. We get a mauling guard who paved the way for a national championship team and a heisman trophy winner. Yes please, and thank you is what I have to say about that.

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Thanks for posting the article. I think he captured me feelings exactly. Too many people play WAY too much value in what ANALysts say before and after the draft. There is a very good reason they are ANALysts and not employed by an NFL team to make the hard choiced guys like TD make.

BTW, as was previously mentioned, not only was Smitty not the "sexy" pick, but TD was a big unknown when we got him, and not one of the names you had heard spouted from the mouths of the ANALyts in the weeks before he was hired. Only the fact that he came from the Pats kept the ANALysts from serioulsly dissin that hire as well.

I love the way TD and Smitty are building and managing this roster with a sense of direction and purpose. I have never seen that done in the 30 years I have been a fan of the team. It makes me feel like we are finally a legitimate NFL organization.

Thank you Mr. Blank :D

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Thanks for posting the article. I think he captured me feelings exactly. Too many people play WAY too much value in what ANALysts say before and after the draft. There is a very good reason they are ANALysts and not employed by an NFL team to make the hard choiced guys like TD make.

BTW, as was previously mentioned, not only was Smitty not the "sexy" pick, but TD was a big unknown when we got him, and not one of the names you had heard spouted from the mouths of the ANALyts in the weeks before he was hired. Only the fact that he came from the Pats kept the ANALysts from serioulsly dissin that hire as well.

I love the way TD and Smitty are building and managing this roster with a sense of direction and purpose. I have never seen that done in the 30 years I have been a fan of the team. It makes me feel like we are finally a legitimate NFL organization.

Thank you Mr. Blank :D

+1 to that. Amen brotha drive home safely folks.

The Atlanta Falcons have definitly established their presence, regardless if anyone other then ourselves believes it. This FO has accomplished in 3 years, what no other FO in the history of the franchise was ever able to do, in any amount of time. That means we are going places baby.

The guy who wrote this article must cruize our boards lol. But yea he makes some valid points.

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Bird Watching: A different way to look at the Atlanta Falcons draft

April 28, 11:10 PM Atlanta Falcons Examiner Daniel Cox

Still stuck on the Atlanta Falcons draft haul?

No one seems to like a draft that includes an immediate-starter type (that's Sean Weatherspoon for those not following along at home) and a bunch of guys that at worst provide some serious quality depth.

First, if you think quality depth isn't a necessary evil in today's salary-cap NFL (yeah, I know...no cap this year...but just wait, it's coming back) need I remind you of Atlanta's 2009 season? A season that saw the hometown birds scratch and claw--or talon, whichever the case may be--their way to 9-7. They were a few stronger backups away from a playoff appearance in back-to-back seasons.

Second, look at the bigger picture. One of the reasons you're seeing average grades for the Falcons' 2010 draft (average being around a C grade) is because those analysts are looking on the surface. They either want quantity (Is it possible to have two first-round picks and not get an A?) or the sexy names in the middle rounds.

Names like Dickson, Williams, McCoy, Graham, Gilyard, Campbell, McKnight, and Hernandez are all sexy.

Names like Peters, Johnson, Hawley, and Franks aren't sexy.

But let me give you a different spin.

You want sexy names? Here you go:

Dunta Robinson

Tony Gonzalez

I won't use "sexy" anymore in this column, but I think you see where I'm going.

(Safe to say you'd take Gonzalez over any pick at No. 19 in the second round and on? (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Another way to look at the draft is by viewing it through the eyes of a team executive, say a GM...maybe one the fans (and obviously Weatherspoon as well) call "TD".

What would TD do?

Well, he's looking at his draft picks in tandem with what he accomplished in free agency.

So before we even begin to consider the possibilities that Mike Johnson and Joe Hawley are starters for the Falcons on the offensive line in 2-3 seasons, look in the immediate future. Three starters (and upgrades by all accounts) have been added to this team.

The $57 million-dollar man, Dunta Robinson, comes to Atlanta to shore up a secondary that at times last season seemed to only catch Smith's glaring eye from the sideline.

And of course Tony Gonzalez is already a legend in Atlanta sports. How many team's tight end is paired with the quarterback by the franchise's marketing team as the only players that will absolutely be available to the media on certain days after practice? That speaks volumes about the future Hall of Famer's importance, don't you think?

A few more things on Adonis, I mean Tony Gonzalez.

He's a Hall of Famer, at least a future one. Dimitroff and the Falcons landed him for a second-round pick. This year's second-round pick. So last season they were playing with house money with the tight end that is now entering his 14th season. This season, he's what they get for what would have been their second-round pick.

Also, do you think this is his last season? No way.

He loves this team. After all those years of struggling in Kansas City, you think he's not enjoying this run with the Falcons, a team with some seriously developing young talent? He is and he'll play the length of his contract, which incidentally runs out in 2011.

So three years from the best tight end in the history of the game for this year's second-round pick? Yes, please.

And yes, I heard the pleas for the Falcons to draft a tight end this year.

"Let him learn at the feet of Tony Gonzalez, the best there ever was," they said.

When the Falcons selected guard Mike Johnson, tight ends Aaron Hernandez, Dennis Pitta, Garrett Graham, Clay Harbor, and that guy from Illinois were all still on the board.

Dimitroff went with a guard over the tight end.

My rationale for that is this:

The draft is always a gamble, but I'm much more inclined to gamble that Gonzalez is less likely to sustain an injury than Harvey Dahl will. So which backup would you rather draft there?

Also, look at the first-round tight ends in the last few drafts. Starters, the whole lot of them. And solid ones.

Who knows where the Falcons could be in 2012 when Gonzalez may finally hang it up. He'll be 35 when that season ends and there's a good chance it'll come then. So if Dimitroff follows the draft path he's set already, why wouldn't they be in a position to take a tight end then?

So I repeat, which is more valuable this season? Harvey Dahl's backup or Tony freakin' Gonzalez' backup?

Never mind the fact that Dahl is known as the league's dirtiest player. A dirty player whose contract is up next season. Some team will pay for that nickname and reputation alone. The Falcons...well, they probably won't.

So, in short, look at the Falcons draft in conjunction with free agency. They are not independent of each other. The addition of players comes both ways.

And look at what Atlanta has added.

Weatherspoon, Gonzalez, and Robinson.

And some dudes that may start for your team in a few years.

And I haven't even mention the return of two rookies that essentially lost their entire 2009 season.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1778-Atlanta-Falcons-Examiner~y2010m4d28-Bird-Watching

first off,thanks for the article,once again...and 2nd...the writer nailed it,and i hope this opened some peoples eyes as to why we drafted the way we did...if they read this, then...nothing more needs to be said,you now understand

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I've said it many times and I'll say it again... Daniel Cox is a MUCH better beat writer than anyone the AJC has ever had. They really should hire the guy.

Daniel Cox is far and away the best Falcons beat writer, period. I hope the AJ "Godawful" C doesn't hire him, cause they would ruin him. They wouldn't have a clue what to do with him.

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One thing about this draft is that we've set up ourselves for a serious compensatory package in 2012. At least that's what I think. I think we may see a large number of vets depart next year which could translate into many mid-to-low rounds compensatory picks. Clabo, Dahl, Abe, Keonon, Norwood (and a bunch of less prominent players or retirements on roster) could go next year and we have replacements for most (not all though).

I think Dimitroff does take those picks into account, but I don't think they'll all walk. We'll give at least Clabo and Dahl offers, but probably won't negotiate much.

Another couple of things that Cox didn't mention are that a few of these guys will not just be immediate backups and future starters, but will also create a 'starting' rotation, (Peters and Meier); will push current starters for their jobs- particularly on the OL (Hawley and Johnson); and bolster our Special teams imediately (Schillinger and Franks).

He also didn't mention how well we did in UDFA. A few of those guys will make the team and may contribute immediately.

By the way, if you like Cox's articles, click on his link. I think that's how he's compensated- it's more or less volunteer writing otherwise, and this guy gives us better coverage than any of the 'pros' from AJC, ESPN, etc.

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