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I Know The Falcons Draft Was Over A Month Ago But...


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I know the Falcons Draft was over a month ago but......I'm still having a hard time containing my euphoria.

The Draft was simply.......RIDICULOUS!!!!

While nothing is guaranteed and the players have to stay healthy and realize their potential, I see a minimum of 5 serious contributors and maybe a few stars included in the 5.

I am not great at player comparisons but here is what I see - just to give you an idea:

NFL Player Comparisons:

Vic Beasley = Robert Mathis (Bill Polian made this comparison)

1389381908000-123-122913-Colts.jpg

Jalen Collins = Antonio Cromartie (Mike Mayock made this comparison)

antonio-cromartie-arizona-cardinals-deal

Tevin Coleman = Darren McFadden (Mayock comparison again)

HEISMAN_MCFADDEN_ARKANSAS_FOOTBALL_38181

Justin Hardy = Danny Amendola (but hopefully healthy) - my comparison

1353601745_7234_Danny%20Amendola.jpg?ito

Grady Jarrett = Jonathan Babineaux - my comparison

jonathan-babineaux-branden-albert-nfl-pr

I even believe Akeem King might be a sneaky good player in time. I won't project him because that seems a little over-the-top given his draft status, but I have a good feeling about him.

History tells us that at least 2 out of these 5 players will likely bust, but I don't know - if they can stay relatively injury-free - I believe this draft will beat the historical odds.

While there was no franchise QB drafted (nor needed), I believe this 2015 Falcons draft haul has the chance to be the best in the 49 years of Falcons history. We got the right players and I believe we have the right NFL head coach to get the most out of our players.

I am sure there will be some struggles in 2015 season and our overall roster still is not where it needs to be, but we definitely made a significant down payment on the talent needed to be an upper echelon contender for the SuperBowl in the next 3-4 years.

Happy, Happy, Happy.

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Guest Mr Plow

I agree G-Dawg. I'm a numbers man and I totally believe that history repeats itself. As such, we should only "hit" on a couple of the guys we drafted this year, but I just don't see it being limited to that. There are always exceptions to the rule, and I think this year's draft will be just that. I think we have several contributors in this draft and several potential long-term stars.

Having said that, rookies very rarely have immediate, dominant impacts, so I am tempering my excitement for more of a long term excitement. I still think we will see a well improved Falcons team though.

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I agree G-Dawg. I'm a numbers man and I totally believe that history repeats itself. As such, we should only "hit" on a couple of the guys we drafted this year, but I just don't see it being limited to that. There are always exceptions to the rule, and I think this year's draft will be just that. I think we have several contributors in this draft and several potential long-term stars.

Having said that, rookies very rarely have immediate, dominant impacts, so I am tempering my excitement for more of a long term excitement. I still think we will see a well improved Falcons team though.

I agree Plow Boy!

We won't see these 5 players be "as good as they are going to be" - in their rookie seasons. I am NOT predicting double-digit sacks for Beasley his first year - Jalen Collins will likely be "part of the rotation" at corner - Coleman could be on the short-end of the RB rotation w/ Freeman, maybe Jarrett is mostly an understudy his first year, etc. If I had to bet, I would bet that Justin Hardy might have the 2nd biggest impact his rookie year behind Beasley.

I won't be surprised if these guys don't dominate early - rooks rarely do - but, like you said, long term, I am very bullish on this draft class.

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I know some of you will cringe at the McFadden(Run DMC) and Amendola comparisons - but both of those guys are very talented and just saw their careers get derailed by injury.

McFadden especially was ridiculously talented - it is a shame he could not stay healthy for the better part of his career - he is past his prime now but it will be interesting to see what he can do behind the best offensive line in football now that he is playing on the Dallas Cowboys.

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Read this and see if you don't come away thinking about the comparison of Robert Mathis to Vic Beasley. Only real difference is Beasley played for a bigger school and was higher profile coming out of college because of it.

January 9, 2014

AN UNLIKELY CAREER

robert-mathis-peyton-manning-800.jpg?w=8

By Dan Pompei

INDIANAPOLIS -- When the Colts first heard about an undersized outside linebacker from Alabama A&M back in the spring of 2002, they could not possibly have known Robert Mathis might someday merit consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The team's area scout who first vetted him had understandable concerns about his lack of size (6-foot-2, 235 at the time) and the level of competition he faced. Mathis was not deemed impressive enough to get an invitation to the combine. But when Dom Anile studied the tape, the Colts' wise director of football operations saw something special. "The more I watched him, the more I thought he was a little shorter version of [Dwight] Freeney," said Anile, a legend in the scouting community who since has retired. "I fell in love with him. I made sure we made a great highlight tape, and then Bill [Polian] and I looked at him. He had tremendous speed, and could turn speed into power."

Polian, then general manager of the Colts, quickly saw the same thing. So did many on a gifted scouting staff that included future general managers David Caldwell, Chris Polian and Tom Telesco, and possible future general manager Tom Gamble. Mathis' 44 career sacks were impossible for them to overlook, no matter who he was playing against. Mathis might not have fit on every NFL team, but Tony Dungy, who was the Colts head coach, assured the scouts that Mathis was a fit. "This guy is ideal for us," Dungy said in draft meetings.

When the Colts targeted Robert Mathis as a player they should select, nobody could have dreamed that 11 years later only three players chosen ahead of him would be invited to play with him in the 2014 Pro Bowl. The area scout put a second round grade on Mathis. Polian and Anile put a first round grade on him. The Colts thought most teams would devalue Mathis because of his size. "Bill, the master of masters, figured we could get the kid in the fifth round," Anile said. So the Colts traded a 2004 fourth round pick to the Texans for the 138th overall selection in 2003, which was used on Mathis.

When Robert Mathis showed up for his first meeting with the Colts defensive linemen, the veterans had no inkling he would one day be the king of their room. Mathis was about three inches shorter than a defensive end is supposed to be. He spoke so infrequently, it was easy to forget he was even around. And then came his first practice. "The minute he stepped on the field, we could tell," Polian said. "John Teerlinck, our defensive line coach, had him for one practice and said, 'Whoa, we have something special here.'" Mathis was beating the Colts' best offensive tackles in one-on-ones, something he has done with consistency for 11 years now.

Being short was part of his gift, not his curse. "His lack of height actually helped him," Anile said. "He was so low to the ground, those 6-6 tackles couldn't get their hands on him." His stature also gave the man his fuel. "People tell me what I can't do," Mathis told reporters in Indianapolis last week. "It makes me want to do it and show you that you don't have to be a 6-5, 315-pound end just to be this stud. You can play ball. Football doesn't discriminate. You can be 5-10, 5-11 and play some good football just like 6-5 guys."

When Robert Mathis was merely a pass rush specialist early in his career and most of his plays were being made on special teams, no one could have foreseen that he eventually would develop into an all around, every down force. Colts owner Jim Irsay brought up the possibility of moving Mathis to weakside linebacker. Polian and Dungy spoke repeatedly and at length about the possibility and wondered if Mathis could be a younger Derrick Brooks. "We were sending him up the field every down, so it was difficult for him to set the edge," Polian said. "We thought Robert could wreak havoc every down if he moved him to Will. But there is an old axiom. Don't move 'blues.' He was a 'blue' from day one. Tony finally said, 'The front four is the engine of the defense. Let's leave him where he is.'" Mathis put on about 10 pounds and learned to set that edge just fine. "People don't give him enough credit for how well he plays the run," one AFC general manager said. "He plays with rare leverage and strength for a guy that size."

When teammates voted Robert Mathis the Ed Block Courage Award winner in 2011, no one outside of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center could have possibly known why they considered him a model of courage, inspiration and sportsmanship. Jim Caldwell, his head coach at the time, said he was "amazed at the level of intensity Robert plays with each week," and called Mathis a "true professional in every way."

Mathis helped set the standard for work ethic and toughness on a team that made eight consecutive playoff appearances and won a Super Bowl. In a very understated way, he became the Peyton Manning of the Colts' defense. And today, on a team that has been almost completely made over, he is every bit as respected. Andrew Luck has said it's an honor for him to be able to high-five him. "If you said, 'Describe the type of player on your team you want everybody on your team to be like,' it would be Robert Mathis," Polian said. "He is completely and totally self-effacing. A total team guy. He is such a worker, that he perfected the strip sack, the tomahawk punch out. He is there every day. I can't remember him being hurt, I cannot. He is the ideal teammate, the ideal football player."

When Colts new general manager Ryan Grigson signed Robert Mathis to a four-year, $36 million contract and gave him $15 million up front in March of 2012, nobody was convinced his best football was yet to be played. He was 31 years old at the time, an age when most football players are checking their retirement funds every few hours. Mathis, however, was not in decline. "He has gotten better with age," Polian said. "He's such a smart player that he has learned by film study and conscientious effort how to attack various styles of tackles." And age somehow has made Mathis harder, hungrier. "The older you get, the more important it is to you and you just know how precious that time is," Mathis said last week. "You can't give it back, you got to seize the moment."

When the Colts decided to allow Freeney to leave as a free agent last spring, nobody predicted Robert Mathis would have more production by himself than he and Freeney had combined the year before. Mathis always had operated in the shadow of Freeney, but he was one heck of a Robin. Four times, they each hit double digits in sacks in the same season, giving them the most seasons of 10-plus sacks by teammates in NFL history. Their 186.5 combined sacks from 2003 through 2012 made them the most productive pass rushing duo in the league.

It was fair to question if Mathis would still be able to get to the quarterback as frequently without Freeney giving the quarterback nowhere to run. Mathis would have the added disadvantage of having to learn a new position-rush linebacker in Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defense. Instead of primarily rushing from the left side, he now would be rushing from the right. One NFL scout said the changes actually benefited Mathis because the Colts have been able to scheme him free at times, and rushing from the quarterback's blindside also was an advantage.

All he did was win the inaugural Deacon Jones Award for leading the NFL with a career-high 19.5 sacks. With 111 career sacks, Mathis now has three more than Freeney, the former first-round pick who preceded Mathis on the Colts by one year.

When the Colts were trailing the Chiefs by 21 points with 9:11 remaining in the third quarter last Saturday, no one would have believed Robert Mathis' strip-sack would have been the turning point in the Colts' stunning 45-44 wildcard victory. Mathis blazed past tight end Anthony Fasano, and then bounced off a block from pulling guard Jeff Allen. He flushed quarterback Alex Smith from the pocket, closed from behind and chopped. Out came the football. Colts linebacker Kelvin Sheppard recovered and the Colts outscored the Chiefs 28-6 the rest of the game.

It was a defining play for Mathis. But also a typical one. In his 11 seasons, his 49 forced fumbles are most in the NFL. No other defensive lineman is within ten of him during that span. "You have to understand where he's at," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told reporters in New England this week. "He really has a sense of urgency. It's one thing to sack the quarterback. It's another thing to strip-sack him and the ball's flying all over the place."

When Robert Mathis takes the field against Brady's Patriots Saturday, no one will think of him as the most important player wearing a horseshoe. And he may prove everyone wrong. Again. Said Anile, "The heart and soul of that team is my boy Robert Mathis."

Robert Mathis. We had no idea.

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G-Dawg good post. My comparisons are a little different though.

Tevin Coleman = Clinton Portis who apparently ran an unofficial 4.28 at his Miami pro-day. (Den & Was)

Justin Hardy = Julian Edelman

Grady Jarrett = Sen'Derrick Marks

Akeem King = Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner:

40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds

Vertical jump: 36 1/2 inches

Broad jump: 10 feet, 3 inches

Short shuttle: 4.24 seconds

3-cone: 7.20 seconds

Bench: 13 reps of 225 pounds

Akeem King

40-yard dash: 4.41 seconds

Vertical jump: 37 1/2 inches

Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches

Short shuttle: 4.38 seconds

3-cone: 7.08 seconds

Bench: 20 reps of 225 pounds

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I'm very happy and optimistic about our draft, but you never know how these players turn out. I think all the players we drafted, with the exception of Jarret and Hardy, have bust potential as well as great ceiling. So we have to wait and see, but the good news is that we may actually have coaches that develop talent for a change.

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I'm very happy and optimistic about our draft, but you never know how these players turn out. I think all the players we drafted, with the exception of Jarret and Hardy, have bust potential as well as great ceiling. So we have to wait and see, but the good news is that we may actually have coaches that develop talent for a change.

I don't really see "bust potential" in Vic Beasley - I could see him being nothing more than a situational passrusher who averages about 7 sacks/yr - to me, that is his downside - which would still be better than anything we have on the roster (even though I would be disappointed if that is all he became).

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G-Dawg good post. My comparisons are a little different though.

Tevin Coleman = Clinton Portis who apparently ran an unofficial 4.28 at his Miami pro-day. (Den & Was)

Justin Hardy = Julian Edelman

Grady Jarrett = Sen'Derrick Marks

Akeem King = Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner:

40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds

Vertical jump: 36 1/2 inches

Broad jump: 10 feet, 3 inches

Short shuttle: 4.24 seconds

3-cone: 7.20 seconds

Bench: 13 reps of 225 pounds

Akeem King

40-yard dash: 4.41 seconds

Vertical jump: 37 1/2 inches

Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches

Short shuttle: 4.38 seconds

3-cone: 7.08 seconds

Bench: 20 reps of 225 pounds

King has all the measureable prerequisites that's for sure!

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Remember my man, Herschel Walker? I am not comparing the overall talent of Tevin Coleman to Herschel (Herschel was a freak!) but there are some similiarities on the plus side and the downside.

Herschel was not the NFL player he was in college at UGA because he did not have the "shake-n-bake" just like Tevin Coleman does not have that - generally those type players do not become GREAT in the NFL - however, Hershcel has some really, really good years in the NFL and missed a lot of his prime years playing for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL.

Tevin is a homerun hitter who runs full speed. I remember watching Herschel play for Cowboys, Vikings and Iggles and when he ran wide and started tippy-toeing I knew it was gonna be a 3-yard loss. Whenever he strayed from what he did best - which was hitting the hole at full speed - he was not very good.

I believe Coleman can be a 1,000yd rusher but I don't see greatness in him - but I do see a consistent threat in the running game who will have 4-5 big games per year if given enough chances each game.

LOL, of course 70% of you guys are too young to remember Herschel anyway - I am one of the TATF graybeards.

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I felt like this was an exciting draft this year and the best part is that we stayed the course and didn't give up any picks to move up except in the fifth round to grab Jarrett but I think that was a good move as I actually had us grabbing Jarrett in the fourth. Considering I thought we were going after Coleman in the second and the Falcons snagged Collins in the second and still reeled in Coleman in the third, I felt like the cards were really starting to fall and the likings of what can be a very good draft were in motion. Although excited, I know we won't really know what we actually got out of this draft for another two-three years at best. I think the picks that were made definitely show that the new regime is very aware of what is needed to put this team back into being very competitive again.

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I see more Steve Smith than Amendola for Hardy, and I'm not just saying that because they're both considered short. Hardy and Smith both have that scrappy, strong handed way of catching the ball. Both good blockers as well.

Steve Smith has raw speed - he is one of the few sub 6'0" WRs that can play the outside effectively. No offense Lornoth, because they do both have the similiar scrappy personalities, but that is where the comparison ends - skills-wise, there is a big difference between Steve Smith and Justin Hardy.

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Steve Smith has raw speed - he is one of the few sub 6'0" WRs that can play the outside effectively. No offense Lornoth, because they do both have the scrappy personalities, but that is where the comparison ends - skills-wise, there is a big difference.

Amendola's not exactly a turtle out there mate.

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Amendola's not exactly a turtle out there mate.

nowhere near as fast as Steve Smith - who had ELITE speed coming out of college. Amendola is slot receiver, Hardy is slot receiver - Steve Smith - for first 12 years of his career - was not a slot receiver - except in certain situations.

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nowhere near as fast as Steve Smith - who had ELITE speed coming out of college. Amendola is slot receiver, Hardy is slot receiver - Steve Smith - for first 12 years of his career - was not a slot receiver - except in certain situations.

Yeah fair enough. I just think it does Hardy's hands a disservice to liken him to Amendola, and I'm an Amendola fan. I guess you'll never find an exact match for anyone though.

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I know the Falcons Draft was over a month ago but......I'm still having a hard time containing my euphoria.

The Draft was simply.......RIDICULOUS!!!!

While nothing is guaranteed and the players have to stay healthy and realize their potential, I see a minimum of 5 serious contributors and maybe a few stars included in the 5.

I am not great at player comparisons but here is what I see - just to give you an idea:

NFL Player Comparisons:

Vic Beasley = Robert Mathis (Bill Polian made this comparison)

1389381908000-123-122913-Colts.jpg

Jalen Collins = Antonio Cromartie (Mike Mayock made this comparison)

antonio-cromartie-arizona-cardinals-deal

Tevin Coleman = Darren McFadden (Mayock comparison again)

HEISMAN_MCFADDEN_ARKANSAS_FOOTBALL_38181

Justin Hardy = Danny Amendola (but hopefully healthy) - my comparison

1353601745_7234_Danny%20Amendola.jpg?ito

Grady Jarrett = Jonathan Babineaux - my comparison

jonathan-babineaux-branden-albert-nfl-pr

I even believe Akeem King might be a sneaky good player in time. I won't project him because that seems a little over-the-top given his draft status, but I have a good feeling about him.

History tells us that at least 2 out of these 5 players will likely bust, but I don't know - if they can stay relatively injury-free - I believe this draft will beat the historical odds.

While there was no franchise QB drafted (nor needed), I believe this 2015 Falcons draft haul has the chance to be the best in the 49 years of Falcons history. We got the right players and I believe we have the right NFL head coach to get the most out of our players.

I am sure there will be some struggles in 2015 season and our overall roster still is not where it needs to be, but we definitely made a significant down payment on the talent needed to be an upper echelon contender for the SuperBowl in the next 3-4 years.

Happy, Happy, Happy.

You hit it dead on,, I agree 100% and the reason why I have not written these same thoughts is people just think we're over emotional about the draft every year. But I've never seen a draft we've had that I also fell like every player may play for years on this team.. Lastly, I will say this,, If I had to pick one player who I thought will not have a good career in the NFL ? It would not be King, Because I think he will play for a long time as long as he can stay healthy.

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