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2013 Falcons Draft


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we trade 2014 RD-2 and 2014 RD-7 to minnesoca vikings for Toby Gerhart http://www.vikings.c...01-0106f547d87f

RD-1

ZACH ERTZTE STANFORD

Ertz had a strong incentive to leave The Farm after his redshirt sophomore season because high-profile teammates quarterback Andrew Luck, tight end Coby Fleener, and offensive line stars David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin are no longer around to aid his cause. But staying in Palo Alto for another year gave him the chance to be Stanford’s top offensive weapon and Ertz took advantage of the opportunity in 2012.

He was rated the top tight end recruit in the nation coming out of Monte Vista High School, which is located only one hour north of Stanford’s campus. After redshirting in 2009, Ertz became a regular contributor the next season (16-190, 5 TD), catching a touchdown in each of the team’s final three games. He started last season with the same type of streak, scoring once in each of the Cardinal’s three games, and played well throughout the first seven games. Unfortunately, Ertz suffered an injury to his right knee blocking while Stanford received the opening kickoff against USC. He missed the next three games and made a minimal impact against Notre Dame before appearing healthy again in the team’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State (4-38, TD).

Ertz became the feature tight end in 2012 as a junior and started all 14 games, leading the team in just about every receiving category. He finished with a team-high 69 catches for 898 yards and six scores, earning first-team All-Pac 12 and All-American honors.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS Smooth athlete with good route quickness to create some separation and sneaky speed to get behind the defense. Sturdy, well-built frame, adding 30 pounds of bulk and muscle since he arrived in Palo Alto. Tough with the ball in his hands and isn’t afraid to deliver hits, lowering his pads and finishing runs. Not afraid to get physical as a blocker and gives good effort in this area, always looking for someone to block downfield. Tracks the ball well and does a nice job adjusting his frame to make the tough catch, extending and plucking. Looks like he has glue on his hands with some of the catches he is able to make. Does a nice job selling his patterns, getting good depth in his routes and immediately looking for the ball out of his breaks. Nice job deceiving defenders and finding soft spots in coverage to make something happen after the catch, averaging over 13 yards per catch in 2012. Has experience all over the offense for Stanford, lining up in-line, slot and out wide, but looked most comfortable in the slot. In 2012 Ertz doubled Coby Fleener’s production from the year before, earning All-American honors as a Mackey Award finalist. Hard worker on and off the field and plans to graduate in June.

WEAKNESSES Missed half of his sophomore year due to injury. Must prove his straight-line speed to scouts. Will not elude NFL defensive backs after the catch with pure quickness. Inconsistent in-line blocker, can get after his man but also loses the leverage battle and gets pushed back too easily. Misses second-level blocks when lunging at targets instead of getting position. Nice job adding bulk to his frame, but needs to continue to develop his strength to sustain blocks at the line of scrimmage. Will round off some routes at times and needs to better control himself in/out of his breaks. Needs to do a better job coming down with contested throws and will drop some easy ones – seems to have at least one drop each game.

NFL COMPARISON Jason Witten

BOTTOM LINE Ertz was part of a crowded TE depth chart over his first few seasons at Stanford, but emerged as the team’s No. 1 offensive weapon in 2012 and led the nation in receiving yards by a TE. He has developed as a blocker and is usually sure-handed, but still needs to improve his consistency in both areas. While he’s No. 2 in the TE rankings for most, it wouldn’t be surprising if some teams grade him higher than Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert as he is a better TE prospect than Fleener a year ago –- projecting as a top-40 prospect, Ertz has a good chance to be the first TE in Stanford history to be drafted in the first round.

RD-2

HASE THOMAS OLB/DE STANFORD

OVERVIEW

In a November 2011 article about Thomas in the San Francisco Chronicle, former Stanford and current 49er defensive coordinator Vic Fangio aptly summed up scouts’ feelings about the versatile defender: “He was born to play football.” While quarterback Andrew Luck and the Cardinal’s offensive line received well-deserved hype over the past couple of seasons, Thomas impressed his coaches and pro scouts alike by wreaking havoc in opponents’ backfields.

The Georgia native redshirted in 2008 to add to weight to his lean sub-200 pound frame coming out of high school. He played 13 games, starting eight, in his freshman year after stepping in for injured defensive end Erik Lorig (36 tackles, seven for loss, four sacks). He earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 accolades as a linebacker in Fangio’s 3-4 scheme by leading Stanford in tackles for loss (11.5) and tying for the lead in sacks (7.5). His playmaking skills flourished as a junior, garnering All-American and first-team All-Pac 12 honors by increasing his production (17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks) for the second straight season.

The Stanford program didn’t miss a beat after losing Luck to the NFL. Riding the strength of their running game and defense, they lost just one game (in overtime to Notre Dame) and largely shut down many high powered offenses. Thomas had another year of gaudy production (71 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks) on his way to earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors once again.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS Versatile edge defender who finds the ball regularly and has made plays at linebacker or defensive end. Displays violent and strong hands to get past the shoulder of his blocker on an edge rush or disengage when containing his side. Works his way though trash well on this inside, showing a bit of quickness to cut into the A-gap for run plays (or B-gap as a blitzer), work his man upfield on the pass rush or spin inside to take advantage of that lane. Good club and swim move inside. Mirrors pretty well in coverage, takes good angles to running backs in the flats, and gets physical with tight ends and crossing receivers. Usually beats tight ends and running backs when they pass block against him. High-effort player, hustles through single blocks and doubles to the ball, consistently chases plays from behind, and keeps his balance after taking on linemen at the second level. Has enough upper-body strength to separate the ball and create turnovers or slow down/stop ball carriers trying to cut past him.

WEAKNESSES Not an elite pass rusher with pure power, great flexibility or upfield speed to turn the corner. Also lacks top closing speed, relies on hustle to make plays. Lacks lengths and bulk, offensive tackles can keep him at bay and mirror him easily as an edge rusher. Needs to continue to get stronger, getting off blocks and keeping leverage will be a bit tougher against NFL linemen. Most of his pressures come against tight ends/running backs or inside stunts. Has good enough movement skills to handle coverage responsibilities in the flat, but quicker ball carriers cut past him in space and he struggles changing direction due to playing upright. One speed player who lacks burst off the ball on the edge or closing speed in pursuit.

NFL COMPARISON Connor Barwin

BOTTOM LINE An aptly-named defender who earned All-American accolades as a junior (17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks) with great hustle and instincts, Thomas displays potential as a starter for teams needing a strong-side linebacker or utility defender that plays on the line of scrimmage. His lack of length and athleticism handicap his ceiling, but he has been an ultra-productive defender on a good defense. If he fails to develop into a starter, he should at the very least be a capable backup linebacker and special teams player. He will likely be chosen on the second day of the draft.

RD-3

david quessenberry LOT or OG

OVERVIEW

When Scott Quessenberry graduates from La Jolla’s La Costa Canyon High School in the spring, he’ll be the third brother to move onto the major college level. Paul will still be at the Naval Academy next year, but by the time Scott shows up on whichever campus he chooses, David will likely be playing in the National Football League.

David Quessenberry started every game on the blind side as a sophomore, as well, after playing in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman, mostly on special teams units. The Spartans took a step towards bowl eligibility in 2011, finishing 5-7 on the season partially due to the second-team All-WAC play of Quessenberry, who started all 12 games at the critical left tackle position. Both the Spartans and Quessenberry made major strides in his senior season. Quessenberry once again started at left tackle, and kept QB David Fales upright on his way to a monster season, which resulted in the Spartans finishing 11-2. Quessenberry’s play earned him first-team All-WAC honors.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS Plays with low pad level and flashes the mean streak. Possesses the natural bend to succeed in pass protection, both mirroring ends while leveraging a strong punch and riding edge rushers around the pocket. Plays under control, and shows some agility and quickness in his pass set. Recovers well if lunging off the snap. Used on trap plays inside from the left tackle spot and usually hits his linebacker target – just as he does when simply stepping forward to the second level. In short-yardage situations, able to drive off the snap and play with leverage. He’ll also hustle downfield after plays, taking out defenders standing around and cleaning up piles when necessary.

WEAKNESSES Good athlete, not an exceptional one. His average upper-body strength and thinner legs can cause him to be bull rushed, though he usually widens his base and plants to prevent it. He also leans into defensive ends to get leverage at times, allowing them to get him off-balance.

NFL COMPARISON Doug Free

BOTTOM LINE Quessenberry is around 300 pounds now after coming into college at around 240 pounds. He's still going to need to gain the necessary upper-body and leg strength to handle NFL defensive linemen, but the 2012 first-team All-WAC pick should win over scouts with his impressive overall skill set. Quessenberry may be able to stay at tackle at the next level, but might be a better fit for offensive guard.

http://www.nfl.com/c...erry?id=2539301

RD-4

JEFF BACA OG

OVERVIEW

Baca (pronounced BOCK-uh) grew up in Mission Viejo, California, and attended many UCLA games with his late father. And once arriving on campus after a successful high school career, he made an immediate impact. Unfortunately, the NCAA ruled him ineligible for the 2010 season because, as head coach Rick Neuheisel said “he got over his skis” in some of the classes he took the previous spring. Then he broke his left ankle in 2011 spring practice. But instead of getting down, he played as veraciously as ever for the Bruins in his junior season, earning the respect of NFL scouts.

An all-state pick at left tackle his senior year in high school, Baca stepped in for eight starts at that position in his true freshman year. He moved inside to left guard for all 13 contests in 2009, and then redshirted the 2010 season due to the aforementioned academic issues. After missing the opener in 2011 coming back from that spring ankle injury, he stepped into the weak side tackle spot (the team moved linemen from one side of the line to the other, depending on the play call) for 11 games before playing strong-side guard due to injuries on the line. In 2012, as a senior for the Bruins, Baca registered 12 starts, 11 at guard, and one at tackle. He was named to the second-team All-Pac 12 by the conference's coaches.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS As tenacious a blocker as there is in this draft class. Strong punch in pass pro, stuns tackles to knock them backwards and works to move the line, not just hold his ground. Quick to recognize blitzes. Re-directs blitzers out of the hole, keeps his feet moving to take them away from the play. Shows awareness in assisting teammates in pass protection. Gets after his run target, attacks with a venom. Hustles to help his tackle prevent inside rushes, at times just attacking the end without any need to. Stones twists inside. Good mobility to pull, gets around the line quickly and has the flexibility to adjust to inside defenders once through the hole. Fits on his second-level block well and engulfs the defender.

WEAKNESSES Average height and size for an NFL offensive lineman. Stronger defenders can push him back with a power rush, and can use their superior strength to rip off blocks or control his upper body. Aggressiveness can backfire when overextending his punch, as he lacks great length to re-direct once he loses contact.

RD 5

JOHN BOYETTSS OREGON

OVERVIEW

Some football players are measured more by their intensity than their height; Boyett certainly fits in that category. Though he won’t hit the 5-foot-11 mark on the measuring tape at the Combine, he’s had no problems making plays on the ball as a three-year starter at free safety and opposing receivers and running backs will tell you his hits come as hard as those from any prototypically-sized defensive back. Having his senior season end after just one game because he had surgery on both knees (partial tears in both patella tendons that had bothered him for the entire 2011 season) will be another knock against Boyett – but don’t count him out.

Boyett was a dual-threat high school quarterback (3,450 yards, 39 TD passing and rushing as a senior) and four-star prospect as a safety coming out of Napa, California, so it was no surprise when he played well filling in for an injured T.J. Ward during his redshirt freshman year; he earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors with 90 tackles, three interceptions, and five pass break-ups. He intercepted five passes and broke up nine others in his second year as an honorable mention all-conference starter in 2010, and followed that up with a second-team All-Pac 12 junior campaign (108 tackles, 3.5 for loss, interception, six pass break-ups). Boyett managed two tackles and an interception in the Ducks’ rout of Arkansas State in the 2012 opener before decided to have the corrective surgery.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS Usually plays single high safety, last line of defense and deepest player in coverage in spite of below-average height for the position. Adequate range on downfield throws, takes aggressive angles and really attacks the catch point. Not afraid in the least to lay out to cause a deflection or make the interception. Can change his angle to adjust to the pass or receiver. Very aware of the likely target on many passes, shuffles to that side. Plays with an attitude. Watches eyes of quarterback and can comprehend what is going on in the backfield. Stays in position and closes early on only route for reverse pass. When playing in the box, makes sure to stick nose in the action. Uses hands to fight cut blocks on screen passes. Even against quick moves in space he grabs a leg and holds onto it.

WEAKNESSES Will not meet the defensive back height minimums used by some NFL teams. Closing speed when flipping hips, turning and running is only adequate, not going to gain a bunch of ground in the aspect. Does not have the speed to reach vertical route on the end receiver on trips side. Gives too much cushion on slot receiver when aligned in man coverage, makes sure not to give up big play but allows outside breaking route. Sometimes too aggressive, not afraid to hit a defenseless receiver.

NFL COMPARISON Jim Leonhard

BOTTOM LINE Boyett might be a bit shorter than most scouts prefer at free safety, but he has good athleticism and is as tough and intelligent as any defensive back in this class. He’s made plenty of plays in coverage (nine interceptions, 20 PBU) and led the Ducks in tackles in a second-team All-Pac-12 junior season, but surgery to repair partial tears in both patella tendons ended his senior year prematurely. His Combine medical exams will need to check out before teams give him the mid-round grade his talent deserves.

RD 6

MIKE TAYLOROLB WISCONSIN

VERVIEW

Taylor is a two-time all-state pick from Ashwaubenon, Wis., the village that surrounds the Green Bay Packers’ revered Lambeau Field on three sides. In addition to his high school football honors, he wrestled for three seasons, finishing third in the state in his weight class as a sophomore. That toughness has helped him fight through multiple injuries to be a very productive college linebacker.

He redshirted the 2008 season to add weight as well as recover from surgery to shave down a bone spur in his neck. Coaches put him in the starting lineup as a freshman, but after starting the first seven games (46 tackles, 6.5 for loss, one interception) he suffered a torn right ACL. He recovered quickly enough to return for 2010 preseason practice, but a tweak of that knee put him under the knife again; he missed just one game, starting the final 12 and garnering consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten honors (58 tackles, eight for loss, two interceptions). Finally healthy enough to start every game in 2011, he was named second-team all-conference by league coaches (first-team by media) after finishing third in the NCAA with 150 tackles (nine for loss, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, three pass breakups; 22 stops against Ohio State). In the spring of 2012, he had surgery on a torn hip labrum which has caused him problems since before high school. However, Taylor still played in all 14 games in his senior season. He racked up 123 tackles (15 for loss), three sacks, and four pass breakups. He was an honorable mention to the Coaches All-Big Ten team.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS Hard-nosed, instinctive player who is always around the football. Plays with good bend and pad level, and has enough quickness to take advantage of open lanes to get into the backfield. Uses his hands to rip off while moving down the line, can get off blocks to either side of his man, and can take on and shed fullbacks in the hole. Hustle allows him to cut off backs before they can turn the corner. Heady player in who can follow the quarterback’s eyes to the spot.

WEAKNESSES Inside/outside ‘tweener, lacks a true position. Doesn't have great athletic ability, size, or strength. Needs to bulk up at the next level to stand up to NFL linemen and tight ends, which might hurt his pursuit speed. Quicker ballcarriers cause him to lose his balance in space, though he works hard to recover and often hustles back to the ball. More of a catch-and-drag tackler than an explosive hitter. Injury history is troubling.

NFL COMPARISON Dan Connor

BOTTOM LINE Despite fighting various injuries throughout his career, Taylor has worked himself into a a fantastic college player. (he ranked third in the NCAA with 150 tackles in 2011) with sheer determination. He's smart, and plays the game with great intensity and instincts. However, he lacks the size and overall athletic ability to be anything more than a special teams player at the next level.

RD 7

ARED SMITH DT NEW HAMPSHIR

OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

Even though the Colonial Athletic Association isn’t in the Football Bowl Subdivision, NFL scouts know to hit the conference’s schools hard in their travel schedule. Three or four players from the CAA are picked every year, including guys like quarterback Joe Flacco (Delaware), running back Tim Hightower (Richmond), cornerback Derek Cox (William & Mary), offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod (Towson State), and wide receiver Marques Colston (from the now-defunct Hofstra program), among many others. Smith’s game compares favorably to Sean Lissemore, who was a seventh-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys three years ago out of William & Mary, so it’s no surprise he’s caught the eye of scouts.

Smith grew up close to the West Virginia border, but flew under the radar enough to end up in New Hampshire. Smith played six games as a redshirt freshman in 2009 (eight tackles, three for loss, two sacks), and then worked his way into the starting lineup for five of the last six games of his sophomore year (played all 13 games, 38 tackles, 7.5 for loss, three sacks). He started all 12 games in 2011, making 43 stops, 5.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, and blocking the second extra point of his career. Smith played in 11 games his senior year, and totaled 33 tackles (10 for loss), four sacks, and three blocked kicks, including two in a game against William & Mary.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS Hustling five-technique prospect who spends a lot of time on the other side of the line. Continually works to the quarterback as long as the ball is in the pocket, also chases passers to the sideline if needed. Comes off the snap hard and low, usually gets his arms extended quickly to gain leverage. Can take out the shoulder of his man when playing one-gap, as well as hold his ground in two-gap alignments. Good backfield awareness, can shed to either side to attack ballcarriers coming through the hole or hustle towards the play down the line.

WEAKNESSES Average athlete who lacks great closing speed to make plays in the backfield or chase down backs outside the box. Ends up leaving his feet to try to grab quicker ballcarriers. Will turn his shoulders on occasion at the line, causing him to lose ground. Doesn’t have elite bulk for an inside player, stronger linemen can control him if he doesn’t get his arms extended.

NFL COMPARISON Sean Lissemore

BOTTOM LINE Smith's strength, hustle and still-growing frame could remind scouts enough of former CAA star and 2010 seventh-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys, Sean Lissemore, to spend a late-round pick on him.

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