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Ia Falcons' Mock Off-Season / Draft V1.0


IA Falcon07
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This is a fairly long read as I have tried to include reasoning for most decisions. It probably won’t make much sense if not read in its entirety.

Every year our front office seems to set a theme and tries to pick up players that fit that mold, my theme for this offseason period is DYNAMIC AGRESSION.

Now since this isn't really a term that is A-typical I will explain briefly what I mean by that and what it has caused me to look for:

1. When you first think of a player one word that should come into your head is impact.

2. This player can fill multiple roles (dynamic).

3. This player changes the game by helping players around him (dynamic) or making great individual plays (aggression).

Free Agency

Going into the free agency period there are going to be some very difficult decisions to make as we re-evaluate our roster and try to improve. Last year we did not make many changes and while we did improve as a team, I think we have a better idea of what we need to further improve on in order to continue to win and take steps towards everyone's ultimate goal. I will be the first to say some people are not going to like the moves I have made, but I believe they will benefit the team the most, not only this year, but also over the next 3-5+ years.

We are starting with roughly $8 million in cap room and a few moves will be made along the way to free up more space.

Not Resigned / Released / Retired

Mike Cox (can resign later if Ewing doesn't work out)

Tim Toone

Lawrence Sidbury

Dominique Franks

Chase Coffman

Mike Peterson (Retired)

Todd McClure (Retired)

Tony Gonzalez (Retired)

Brent Grimes

Vance Walker

Peria Jerry - frees up a little bit of money, not sure of exact amount.

Chris Hope - unless he plays for vet min

William Moore - this is the part where everyone starts to wonder what in the world I am thinking. I love Willy Mo as much as the next guy and think he is a great safety, we know it, he knows it, and his agent would be an idiot not to know it. Three reasons why I have decided to let Willy Mo walk: 1. I don't think he is coming back on a Thomas Decoud level contract and we are going to save some money here while fixing other positions (if this assumption isn't true my entire offseason would change) 2. While Moore is not by any means old we are going to get a true injection of young talent to fill this void (explained later) 3. This is a very small portion of why, but the dude just can't seem to stay on the field for 16 games. I realize injuries happen and he could possibly never miss a game the rest of his career, but missing time year after year kills even if it is only a few games.

Dunta Robinson - has played much better this season, but a $10 million contract is just not worth his play. I think McClain can do just as well on the outside as Dunta and has more upside to make plays on the ball. Dunta's tackling is terrible as we have seen and while he connects on a big hit once in a while it just isn't worth the extra yardage given up on the many misses. McClain will be just as good filling this position as I believe he is our most solid tackler at CB and has the upside to play tighter coverage than Dunta given the opportunity. Another youth infusion with big play upside (imo). Saves us $8 million in cap.

Michael Turner - A move that most people are ready to make. Turner was great for us in the past, but the time has come to cut the deadweight and bring in some fresher, younger, and cheaper talent. Saves ~$5.5 million in cap.

Cap Total with Cuts: ~$22 million

Bring Back

Sam Baker - only on a team friendly deal, if not I would look elsewhere as there are other options available even if some are high priced. I believe the multitude of quality LT free agents this year should make Baker fairly cheap. Baker improved a lot and kept Matt clean, but his run blocking was just as much of a problem as any of our other o-linemen and we need better balance next season.

Michael Palmer

Garrett Reynolds

Chris Owens

Drew Davis - I think he has potential. Cheap and have to fill roster anyway.

Luke McCown - alternatively another cheap veteran QB

Free Agents

Jared Cook - everyone knows this guy; young dynamic TE that hasn't really broke out but has shown potential. His biggest complaint this year was that he wasn't involved in the offense enough. What better place to go than Atlanta where our TE has seen well over 100 targets the last few seasons. No one can replace Tony G, however Cook is more athletic at this point in his career than Tony was when we had him. He can stretch the field from the TE position and is a good playmaker for a TE. I am not sure he would be considered a top 10 TE at this point and I am estimating a contract off of the #10 ranked TE cap hit for the next 4 years. Contract 4yr - $16 million (willing to hear input).

Alternatively: Brandon Myers

Terrance Knighton - Knighton has played pretty well on one of the worst d-lines in the entire national football league. He brings solid ability to play as both a 4-3 DT and a 3-4 NT in a hybrid defense. He is not the greatest pass rusher, but he can push the pocket and will require double teams which will help to free up players next to and behind him. Defensive tackle has some quality players in free agency so I'd say Knighton can be had on a decent contract. This was the most difficult to find a realistic number in my mind, but I estimate based off high end DT contracts his value is around 4yr - $16 million so the same as Cook. Again open to input.

Osi Umenyiora - I know, I know he's washed up, this is a terrible signing etc. First let me say we are not paying top dollar for Osi. There is a pretty good crop of talent in free agency as well as tons of first round DE talent in the draft. Remember last year when Abe presumably tested out the open market to see how much money he could get? It didn't happen. Osi has had his payday and when his phone doesn't start ringing during the first week of free agency he will know that his value has decline. Now you can argue that Osi had a down year last year (won’t fully disagree with that), but THE ENTIRE Giants d-line played awful last year and it hurt them as a unit. Osi still put up 43 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 FF. He still has two good years and we will have protection for him (via the rest of our d-line) to make sure he can still play at the top of his game. He will get a contract similar to Abe and be somewhat of a stop gap. 2yr $11 million.

I am going to assume these contracts are split evenly over the duration since no one truly knows the whole cap situation in the future and TD will obviously have to make some moves throughout the years to come. So it would come out to:

$22 million

-$4-5 million (Baker $5 million max or look elsewhere)

-$4 million (Cook)

-$4 million (Knighton)

-$5.5 million (Osi)

__________________

$3.5 -$4.5 million remaining

Now $3.5-$4.5 million will be a little short of signing a draft class and filling out some cheap veteran / rookie contracts, but slight restructures are made every year and we aren't too far off in cap.

For player rankings I have used an average of three sites to calculate approximate draft position. Seeing as we haven’t had the senior bowl, combine, pro-days etc. much of this has the possibility to change as it does for anyone putting together a mock. This is why this mock offseason is v1.0 and will likely be different in the coming months.

The pick in red is only because I am sure to get crucified if I don’t address OG. It is a pick I am experimenting with, but I am not 100% sure I’d really go for it and I don’t really like mocking trades.

Draft

1st - Matt Elam, SS, Florida – this is a guy who can step right in and replace Moore’s production. He is a very sure tackler in the open field that still delivers a good blow on ball carriers. He’s very active at the line of scrimmage, recording 11 TFL and 2 sacks in 2012. Coverage skills are very good for a SS as he was lined up in single coverage on both slot receivers and tightends routinely at Florida. What impressed me most about his coverage was his ability to stick with receiving and make a play on the ball or rake the receiver’s arms to jar the ball loose. Very opportunistic vs. the pass and always positions himself in a place to make a big play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rREjDTpTedE

2nd (#48 via Rams) – Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky **Read Disclaimer Above** I would be willing to give our offensive line (Baker, Blalock, Konz, Reynolds, Clabo) one more year as I think with Konz switching to C and Reynolds at OG it would be much improved, however I know some won’t like the idea. The Rams have two 1st rounder picks in 2013 so they will be able to address their two largest needs before this pick and Jeff Fisher has shown he loves stock piling high picks. We will trade our 2014 1st round pick for the Rams 2013 2nd (#48) and 2014 3rd. The Rams will then have three 1st round picks in 2014 which would allow Fisher lots of options with trading up etc. Probably wouldn’t bring back Reynolds if this trade happened.

The pick itself (Warford) I debated picking Warford with our #2 pick, but thought d-line was more important and with his stock rising don’t think he will be available when we pick in the second round. This guy is probably the most talked about player on this board (maybe besides Okafor). He is big, he can pass block and run block. Very nimble for his size and has shut down some good competition. Would be a mainstay on our o-line for 10 years next to Konz.

2nd - Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC – capable of taking on multiple blockers allowing 1-on-1 matchups for other linemen as well as freeing up linebackers. Has good lateral movement and is a solid hand fighter. Shows a very good swim and spin move, but will need to develop more bull rush technique at the NFL level as you cannot always rely on skill moves inside. Williams will allow the Falcons some very good line combinations with Knighton and Williams able to stuff the run early downs and on obvious passing situations the combination of Knighton / Williams and Babineaux will provide a solid pass rush. It could also allow for the big 3 DT rotation of Knighton and Williams lined up at DT with Babineaux at DE on short distance plays.

3rd – Cornellius (Tank) Carradine, DE, Florida State – Still a bit raw, but lots of natural ability and upside and who better to learn from than Abe and Osi. Quick first step and good upper body strength. Does a good job of converting speed-to-power. Can line up at both LDE and RDE and willing in pursuit chasing ball carriers past the line of scrimmage. Had 80 tackles in 2012 which shows he doesn't give up on plays.

4th – Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida – this guy could be a riser depending on his senior bowl and combine performance, but for where he is ranked now this is who I am taking. Fast and deceptively powerful for his size, he is slightly undersized but not as much as he appears on film. Has shown the ability to pass protect which is valuable as we will be able to switch between backs on any down and distance to keep the defense off balance. Will form a very good running back trio with Quizz and Snelling to wear down defenses and open up our weapons on the outside.

4th comp - Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State – Very competitive player who does well to match up in zone coverage and pass receivers off to the next man. Reads the QB well and anticipates the ball well, jumps underneath routes in order to break plays up. Has some concerns about getting beat over the top which is why I would primarily play him in the slot where a safety would be over the top on most plays. Does a good job of taking on blockers and is willing to come up to the line of scrimmage to make plays in the running game.

5th – Michael Williams, TE, Alabama – the ideal blocking tightend. 6-foot-6 270 with long arms. He won’t dazzle with his big play ability, but can be crucial in getting a tough yards in the ground game and is good enough to get out on short routes in the play action pass game.

6th- Bruce Taylor, LB, Virginia Tech – Often injured, but did show flashes of being a solid player when healthy. We will need some LB depth so here is a little risk reward player. Has good instincts and recognizes plays pretty quickly. Adequate closing speed and takes mostly solid angles. Will need to work on using hands better to get off blocks from offensive linemen and wrapping up since he is not a big hitter, generally will stick his facemask in a running backs chest.

7thDustin Harris, DB / RS, Texas A&M – Small and pretty quick, I am hoping he is physical enough to be a gunner because I personally am tired of seeing WRs and RBs run down to cover punts. One of the better punt return men in college football this year and we need someone to make big plays in the return game. Harris is a decent CB and jumps routes, once the ball is in his hands can make plays. I’ll be honest and say I am mostly picking him as a special teamer and if he turned out to be a good dime-back I’d be more than pleased.

Depth Chart

QB: Matt Ryan, Luke McCown, Dom Davis

RB: Mike Gillislee, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jason Snelling, Smith

FB: Brady Ewing

WR: Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Drew Davis

TE: Jared Cook, Michael Palmer, Michael Williams

LT: Sam Baker, Will Svitek

LG: Justin Blalock, Mike Johnson

C: Peter Konz, Joe Hawley

RG: Larry Warford, Garrett Reynolds, Manley

RT: Tyson Clabo, Lamar Holmes

DE: Jon Abraham, Tank Carradine, Cliff Matthews

DT: Terrance Knighton, Corey Peters, Travian Robertson

DT: Jonathan Babineax / Sylvester Williams

DE: Osi Umenyiora, Kroy Biermann, Jonathan Massaquoi

Will: Sean Weatherspoon, Pat Schiller

Mike: Akeem Dent, Bruce Taylor

Sam: Stephen Nicolas, Robert James

CB: Asante Samuel, Leon McFadden

FS: Thomas Decoud, Charles Mitchell

SS: Matt Elam

CB: Robert McClain, Chris Owens, Dustin Harris

Punter: Matt Bosher

Kicker: Matt Bryant

LS: Josh Harris

KR: Jacquizz Rodgers

PR: Dustin Harris

Edited by IA Falcon07
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Like the draft especially Sylvester in the 2nd who I think is versatile. He can take up blocks and be stout in the middle but he is also quick as sin. He looked pretty good in senior bowl practices. The letting go of Willy Mo and getting Elam is the only thing i'm iffy on. Other than that good draft.

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Like the draft especially Sylvester in the 2nd who I think is versatile. He can take up blocks and be stout in the middle but he is also quick as sin. He looked pretty good in senior bowl practices. The letting go of Willy Mo and getting Elam is the only thing i'm iffy on. Other than that good draft.

I knew going in to this that would be the biggest concern for everyone, but I don't think we can pull off the rest of the off-season without saving money. I think Elam will be as good if not better than Moore by year two, especially in coverage.

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I am not sure if WillMO will demand top $. I think the exMizzou stays with his fellow mate Spoon. I am starting to get worried about Grimes though. There is "0" status on his condition and he has yet to stick his head out to say "don't forget about me". He did end up hovering at a LV store. I am agreement on Dunta's contract situation, I am not sure if he will agree to take another restructuring...TD needs to work his magic here. Vance is not leaving tho, the last thing you want to do is shave off the rotational players who have done exactly what was asked. I think the biggest high-light will be Ryan's big payday and it will come cap friendly. At least a 50 mill guarantee at around 16-20 mill/yr. I would also wait to hear what Tong G says after a few more weeks before starting on a mock draft. Very nicely written though. These are the ones I love reading.

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I am not sure if WillMO will demand top $. I think the exMizzou stays with his fellow mate Spoon. I am starting to get worried about Grimes though. There is "0" status on his condition and he has yet to stick his head out to say "don't forget about me". He did end up hovering at a LV store. I am agreement on Dunta's contract situation, I am not sure if he will agree to take another restructuring...TD needs to work his magic here. Vance is not leaving tho, the last thing you want to do is shave off the rotational players who have done exactly what was asked. I think the biggest high-light will be Ryan's big payday and it will come cap friendly. At least a 50 mill guarantee at around 16-20 mill/yr. I would also wait to hear what Tong G says after a few more weeks before starting on a mock draft. Very nicely written though. These are the ones I love reading.

It's funny you mention Vance because I actually had him resigned until the very final version when I realized I had 6 DTs on the roster. I suppose we could cut Travian and resign Vance, it will cost slightly more though.

Grimes I am not too worried about, I do like the dude a lot, but we played well without him and if we are better in the front 7 next year the back end will be even better.

Thanks for the input.

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you put in a lot of work/thought on this thread. i don't see any of this happening, sorry. maybe warford in the 2nd, and a couple of the resign players.

Mock probably wasn't the best description, but this scenario is meant to be more of a realistic take on how we could field the best possible team next season. I also didn't want to just do a cookie cutter round 1 Okafor round 2 Warford round 3 Gillislee same thing over and over.

It's early in the off-season, free agency is nearly impossible to predict at this point and it's hard to draft without knowing what we will need after free agency.

Luckily I had a lot of free time at work today but it only took me like 45 minutes smile.png . Pretty much already knew what I wanted to accomplish going into it.

Edited by IA Falcon07
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