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TheDirtyWordII

A TDWII Observation: Why Are We Mad at How Round 1 Went?

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Let’s harken back 3 years ago.  The pick was Keanu Neal.  It was a bit of a surprise…we knew DQ/TD liked him, but he was seen as more of a 2nd round type value.  Three years later, are we upset we didn’t trade down to get ‘good value’?

No…we got one of the best young safeties in the game, a guy other teams say to their personnel staffs ‘find me a guy like Keanu Neal’.

4 years earlier, Peter Konz was seen as absurdly great value.  The 55th pick in the 2012 draft…the Falcons were said to have found late 1st/early 2nd round gold late in Round 2.  Boy were we excited about him.  We know how that turned out.

These are stark reminders that there is pre-draft thinking and then ultimately what matters most – post-draft results.  Remember how great of a draft move trading down one spot was for the SF 49ers in 2017.  They were at #2 and they moved down to #3 so the Bears could draft Mitch Trubisky.  Mitch Trubisky???!!!  That’s what everyone said at the time.  The 49ers…got great value.  They also picked Solomon Thomas, a player so valued by the team that 2 years later, they put him on the trade block and drafted his replacement.  27 picks later – they made another great ‘value’ move – Reuben Foster.  We know how that turned out.

Was I over the moon that after signing 2 guards in FA that with our most prized draft pick possession, we drafted another guard?  Honestly…not really.  Did I think prior to the draft that he was a mid-first round value?  No…my mock had him as a late 1st rounder.  But how he’s measured moving forward no longer has anything to do with draft capital.  It's about this - Can he play?

Lindstrom was seen as a plug and play prospect.  So we’ll get our first clues on how that is coming along come September 8?  Is he playing – good sign.  It means he beat out players we made not marginal, but not exorbitant investments in free agency wise.  If he works out – he’ll be a Falcon in 2029.  Doubling up with McGary, a RT prospect?  Same deal.

Listen – we’ve spent the better part of the last 2 months rationalizing, perhaps justifiably, that we had definitely improved along the OL.  Carpenter = solid veteran.  Brown = young untapped potential.  Sambrailo = perhaps he’s finally earning that 2nd round draft status.  But if there is one tenant that the 2019 Falcons espouse now – it’s this.  If it helps Matt Ryan directly, it trumps all else.  The Falcons have seen just what a composed and protected Ryan can do – that’s why he’s getting $30M per.

They’ve scotch-taped their way into thinking previously they were ‘good’ along the OL - and if we're being frank, the signings of Sambrailo/Brown/Carpenter could qualify as a higher quality model of scotch-tape.  Carpenter & Brown are on their 3rd franchises.  It doesn't mean that they suck...but it's also indicative that they've been disposable previously.  And Sambrailo - up until December 2018...most were angry we gave up a 5th round pick for him.

This off-season has been DQ & TD’s mea culpa – that piss poor rushing attack?  On us they said.  Matt Ryan getting hit 100+ times…yep.  On us.  And it’s still on them – and by golly if those things happens again on their watch, I suspect that DQ/TD won’t be making too many more Falcons draft picks.  They are no longer searching for ‘diamonds in the rough’.  We’ll no longer be crossing our fingers hoping that the Wes Schweitzer’s and Matt Gono’s of the world turn into something…more.

Nothing I’ve said guarantees that the OL problems have been fixed.  All 5 of our moves in this area could turn out to be failures and if that’s the case but those failures won't be due to under-emphasizeing how important it is to protect Arthur Blank's $150M asset.

At least not any longer.

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I said a few times earlier in the offseason that I wouldn't mind if the Falcons used every draft pick on OL if it meant they were able to put 5 out there at the same time who can play.

Presumably they are going to be able to do that now, and hopefully have a line that can sustain an injury or two and not fall apart.

So I can dig it. 

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I’m not bent about the picks themselves. Lindstrom and McGary look like solid starters for years to come.

I’m concerned that we only have Trufant, Oliver, Wreh-Wilson, and some guy named Calhoun as our corner depth, and we were near bottom in the league in pass coverage last year.

Beasley is an overwhelming disappointment, no clue what Takk and Means will bring for pass rush, and Clayborn is old and in the team-hopping phase near the end of his career.

Aside from Jarret, our interior DL looks average at best.  No clue what we have in Senat, Davison, oft-injured Crawford, and a guy who hasn’t played for 2 years.  That is scary.

And 2 of our safeties are coming off serious injuries.

So I’m very concerned about giving up 5000 passing yards, having crap pass rush again, and how screwed we’ll be if our best defensive players go down with injuries again.

And I don’t see how 6 day-3 picks is going to fix all that.  That’s the issue.

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1 minute ago, Beef said:

I’m not bent about the picks themselves. Lindstrom and McGary look like solid starters for years to come.

I’m concerned that we only have Trufant, Oliver, Wreh-Wilson, and some guy named Calhoun as our corner depth, and we were near bottom in the league in pass coverage last year.

Beasley is an overwhelming disappointment, no clue what Takk and Means will bring for pass rush, and Clayborn is old and in the team-hopping phase near the end of his career.

Aside from Jarret, our interior DL looks average at best.  No clue what we have in Senat, Davison, oft-injured Crawford, and a guy who hasn’t played for 2 years.  That is scary.

And 2 of our safeties are coming off serious injuries.

So I’m very concerned about giving up 5000 passing yards, having crap pass rush again, and how screwed we’ll be if our best defensive players go down with injuries again.

And I don’t see how 6 day-3 picks is going to fix all that.  That’s the issue.

So realizing that after Day 1, we could reasonably only assume that we would exit it with one player, OL was always on the table.  Was Lindstrom a surprise @ 14?  Sure...but I remind myself that I’m just some MB schmuck, not a pro scout/coach.  So I have to defer to their judgment/evaluation with regard to the player.  Doesn’t mean they are always right, but I can’t claim they’re wrong now.

I never understood the Day 1 (or even Day 2) clamoring for CB.  If the Falcons believe in Oliver, then he and Trufant will not leave the field.  And with Trufant only providing a little less than $5M in cap savings if we cut him in 2020...chances are, we are set at outside CB for the next two seasons.  Are we thin depth wise? Yes...but it doesn’t affect Matt Ryan.  OL depth affects Matt Ryan...hence the priority.

I was on the DT train...I get it.  My heart fell when Wilkins was picked.  It fell some more when Dexter went #17.  But the Falcons were always going to have to ‘scotch-tape’ certain areas of their game day 53.  And what we know now is that they were unwilling to do that at OL.

And I can’t argue with that rationale really.

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Here's what I think people aren't getting and it's causing them more grief on draft days every year than necessary:

The Falcons (and other teams I'm sure) have a "draft board" with guys ranked on there. The thing I think we are missing is that every player in the draft isn't ranked on their board. In other words, some players are solid NO grades from the team. That means if the media projects them to go in the 1st round and they make it to the 3rd round, the answer is still NO. They have determined that is not the right player for the team so there is no such thing as "good value" for that player. 

For the YES players, there are rankings and it's likely Lindstrom had a higher ranking for the Falcons than Cody Ford or Jawaan Taylor. Maybe Wilkins had a slightly higher rank than Lindstrom but not high enough that it is worth moving up and giving up picks for. So when Wilkins went the pick before, it was like "oh well, we can still get our next highest player in Lindstrom" which is why we practically ran to the podium. They understood he wouldn't make it to pick 45 (and they would have been correct) so it's now or never. 

I also hear "well you could have traded back a few picks and still got him" Well, probably, but who says they didn't try to do that and nobody was willing to make the trade? Teams were calling us in the top 10 asking us to move forward and we turned them down, how do we know the same thing didn't happen to us?

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I doubt most people are mad at us allocating lots of resources to the OL. I think most - including myself - are upset at how we've allocated to the DL by comparison. 27 mil to Grady and Vic, a bunch of dirt cheap vets, no real investment in the draft this year. That's a pretty understandable reason to be annoyed imho.

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I'm not mad about Rnd. 1 at all.  Last year proved that we needed guards/improvement on the O-Line. That was addressed yesterday.  Should have been done prior to last year, but I'm glad it finally happened.  Now focus on the defense., and we'll be in great shape.

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I have been critical of this FO, but in this draft, you might question the names, but not the approach.  Obviously, I hope we got the right guys, but we certainly needed to improve our OL and invested our 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks to do that.

A lot of people on this board said there was the depth in this draft to address both the OL and DL deficiencies.  I didn't think we had the picks or cap space to get this done in one year.

People also are critical of us spending on two free agent guards, then picking another guard with our first pick.  I get the criticism, but real life doesn't play out like "Draft Day", the Kevin Costner movie, where everything breaks perfectly for you, and you get exactly the player you want, exactly where you wanted him.

Our FO decided to protect Matt Ryan, which seems like a good idea to me. 

I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed to see the Falcons pick up a RB in the 4th round.  Julio and Ryan are in their prime, and we have to capitalize on that.   

 

 

 

 

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@TDWII

I like the two picks, but I don’t love them due to what now seems like an overreaction and over investment on OL and depth at the expense of the defense...

I think the reality that a lot of folks won’t let sink in is that I don’t think the FO ever had DT on their radar in1st round...

Now, to your last statement...you are correct, if Lindstrom is not Starter at OG in week 1, I’ve got a serious problem...I’m okay if McGary takes a year, but ideally they are both starters week 1, and if that’s the case, then I live the pucks...

We just got over 90 games of starting experience on the right side of the OL...I’m good with that

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Great post @TDWII - agree with everything you said.

As to Lindstrom,  we all know the Falcons did a ton of work on him and workouts, meetings, etc.

Also a reminder that a defensive head coach who is also taking over as DC signed off on two offensive lineman and no more picks until day 3.

When you turn on the highlights of both McGary and Lindstrom you see competitive, tough, nasty players - they are not passive at all - they have an ATTACK philosophy almost like a defensive player - I can see why DQ loves them.  We have fortified our offensive line for hopefully the next 5+ yrs - the balance of Matt Ryan’s career.

Do we still need a lot of help on defense?   You betcha!  Of course we do.

Quinn and Dimitroff need to parlay those remaining 7 picks into at least 2 defensive contributors and one eventual starter.

Still opportunity to add a bet on defense as well.

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3 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Great post @TDWII - agree with everything you said.

As to Lindstrom,  we all know the Falcons did a ton of work on him and workouts, meetings, etc.

Also a reminder that a defensive head coach who is also taking over as DC signed off on two offensive lineman and no more picks until day 3.

When you turn on the highlights of both McGary and Lindstrom you see competitive, tough, nasty players - they are not passive at all - they have an ATTACK philosophy almost like a defensive player - I can see why DQ loves them.  We have fortified our offensive line for hopefully the next 5+ yrs - the balance of Matt Ryan’s career.

Do we still need a lot of help on defense?   You betcha!  Of course we do.

Quinn and Dimitroff need to parlay those remaining 7 picks into at least 2 defensive contributors and one eventual starter.

Still opportunity to add a bet on defense as well.

I like the players. But @Knight of God is right. We need a top defense. Don't care about injury excuses anymore; if they aren't investing in the defense in any meaningful way in FA or the draft, that's on them. Period.

I expect a great defense and running game now.

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I agree @TheDirtyWordII

People get too hung up on where a guy was drafted. Apparently we have a bunch of Nostradamuses or something that are guaranteeing "this guy would have been available at such-and-such pick."

Like, how do you know this? 

TD and DQ before the draft talked about how good, starting caliber offensive lineman straight out of college are rare and hard to find nowadays. That's a sentiment shared among many scouts and executives around the league. With that in mind, can you afford to think like "oh he'll be available later in the draft?" 

No.

Sometimes you have to act preemptively and get your guy (or guys in this case), even at a higher cost, because the margin of error is slim to none. TD does NOT have the benefit of hindsight like armchair GMs do. It's even more important because we're talking about protecting our $150mm investment who we all know can shred defenses with solid protection. 

If these picks pan out, we have solid protection for Matt Ryan and bulldozers in the run game for the length of Ryan's contract at least. I'd say the risk taken by TD is well worth the potential reward.

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When speaking about draft value, once you get to the middle of the 1st round, there is very little that separates the next 20-30 prospects. IMO Wilkins at #13 was about the last prospect you would have expected to get picked in the top 15. After that, you could make the case for any of the next bunch to get picked at any point. 

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30 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

I doubt most people are mad at us allocating lots of resources to the OL. I think most - including myself - are upset at how we've allocated to the DL by comparison. 27 mil to Grady and Vic, a bunch of dirt cheap vets, no real investment in the draft this year. That's a pretty understandable reason to be annoyed imho.

This is the first time under Dan Quinn the Falcons have used either a Day 1 or Day 2 pick on OL...

Beasley/Takk were Day 1 picks...so I think that’s a tough stance to argue.  Fact is the top statement almost justifies last night...

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14 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

I like the players. But @Knight of God is right. We need a top defense. Don't care about injury excuses anymore; if they aren't investing in the defense in any meaningful way in FA or the draft, that's on them. Period.

I expect a great defense and running game now.

Holy crap dude, the first four years of the TD/DQ era most of our draft capital was spent on defense. I think last year was the first time a first rounder was used on an offensive player. I'd wager most of the remaining picks in this years draft will be spent on defensive prospects.

You can't always have your cake and eat it too. We sorely needed depth on the offensive line for years. Ryan ain't getting any younger and we've been fortunate he's never sustained long-term injuries. Making sure he's well protected is priority #1. As long as we have him and give him solid protection and a good running game, we'll be winning a lot more often than not. 

But I don't think DQ is planning on neglecting the defense. 

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1 minute ago, No.11 said:

Holy crap dude, the first four years of the TD/DQ era most of our draft capital was spent on defense. I'd wager most of the remaining picks in this years draft will be spent on defensive prospects.

You can't always have your cake and eat it too. We sorely needed depth on the offensive line for years. Ryan ain't getting any younger and we've been fortunate he's never sustained long-term injuries. Making sure he's well protected is priority #1. As long as we have him and give him solid protection and a good running game, we'll be winning a lot more often than not. 

But I don't think DQ is planning on neglecting the defense. 

3 minutes ago, TheDirtyWordII said:

This is the first time under Dan Quinn the Falcons have used either a Day 1 or Day 2 pick on OL...

Beasley/Takk were Day 1 picks...so I think that’s a tough stance to argue.  Fact is the top statement almost justifies last night...

It's already been neglected imho. Yes, we spent on Beasley and Takk. Yes, we've spent heavy on defense in the past. This isn't about the past to me. It's about spending all of our money in FA on OL, then our Day 1 and 2 picks on OL, all despite having one of the worst defenses in the league last year.

And people can blame injuries all they want - we lose a couple guys this year and it's likely going to be more of the same. I'm happy we drafted OL. I'm just unhappy the defense is being neglected in the draft. You can have both. This feels like one of those years we're "taking off" so that we can go heavy defense next year...well, there might not be a next year for DQ. Just think it's a big risk.

Top run game and defense. They need it or heads will roll. I'm rooting for em.

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5 minutes ago, No.11 said:

Holy crap dude, the first four years of the TD/DQ era most of our draft capital was spent on defense. I think last year was the first time a first rounder was used on an offensive player. I'd wager most of the remaining picks in this years draft will be spent on defensive prospects.

You can't always have your cake and eat it too. We sorely needed depth on the offensive line for years. Ryan ain't getting any younger and we've been fortunate he's never sustained long-term injuries. Making sure he's well protected is priority #1. As long as we have him and give him solid protection and a good running game, we'll be winning a lot more often than not. 

But I don't think DQ is planning on neglecting the defense. 

That’s my thing: we have put so much in defense already. That point gets lost. Yet, we’ve trotted our garbage and makeshift OL. Ryan got sacked 42 times, we’ve had trouble converting short yardage. It’s not a bad strategy to invest in a physical and deep OL finally

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3 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

It's already been neglected imho. Yes, we spent on Beasley and Takk. Yes, we've spent heavy on defense in the past. This isn't about the past to me. It's about spending all of our money in FA on OL, then our Day 1 and 2 picks on OL, all despite having one of the worst defenses in the league last year.

And people can blame injuries all they want - we lose a couple guys this year and it's likely going to be more of the same. I'm happy we drafted OL. I'm just unhappy the defense is being neglected in the draft. You can have both. This feels like one of those years we're "taking off" so that we can go heavy defense next year...well, there might not be a next year for DQ. Just think it's a big risk.

Top run game and defense. They need it or heads will roll. I'm rooting for em.

I love you as a poster, but really? A top run game to keep that defense fresh requires top OL

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21 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Great post @TDWII - agree with everything you said.

As to Lindstrom,  we all know the Falcons did a ton of work on him and workouts, meetings, etc.

Also a reminder that a defensive head coach who is also taking over as DC signed off on two offensive lineman and no more picks until day 3.

When you turn on the highlights of both McGary and Lindstrom you see competitive, tough, nasty players - they are not passive at all - they have an ATTACK philosophy almost like a defensive player - I can see why DQ loves them.  We have fortified our offensive line for hopefully the next 5+ yrs - the balance of Matt Ryan’s career.

Do we still need a lot of help on defense?   You betcha!  Of course we do.

Quinn and Dimitroff need to parlay those remaining 7 picks into at least 2 defensive contributors and one eventual starter.

Still opportunity to add a bet on defense as well.

Even with the trade up...DVC wise, we gave 645 to get 610.  So when we hear complaints about not trading down for Lindstrom...I would suspect that we don’t want to ‘clearance sale’ the #14 pick...and given we didn’t see any trades between #10 & #20...it’s likely our part of the draft wasn’t coveted, unlike #21-#31 when the trading frenzy started in earnest.

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12 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

I like the players. But @Knight of God is right. We need a top defense. Don't care about injury excuses anymore; if they aren't investing in the defense in any meaningful way in FA or the draft, that's on them. Period.

I expect a great defense and running game now.

We need a GOOD defense

We don't need a GREAT defense.

In 2016, we had a GOOD defense and should have won the SB.    Belicheck is a mastermind pulling strings but the defensive talent on that team is just OK.    We need to get more out of the players we already have and we need a few more players.

Anyone who watched the Falcons in 2018 can tell you that our #1 problem was protecting Matt Ryan.   Yes the defense was awful with the middle of our defense on Injured Reserve.    On top of that, a lot of bad performances by Alford, Vic, etc.    YES, we need better and more talented defensive players.  One thing we have seen in the Quinn regime - he knows how to find them late.

Defensive Players drafted by Quinn/Dimitroff  on Day#3

2015 - Grady Jarrett - 5th round

2016 - DeVondre Campbell - 4th round

2017 - Damonte Kazee - 5th round

2018 - Foye Oluokon - 6th round

 

He has been good for one starter a year since 2015 - usually with less picks - we have 7 right now.   My guess is we will do at least one trade up and probably end up with about 4-5 more selections.    May not be an eventual starter but I bet we get 2-3 contributors on defense and at least 1 eventual starter.

People in general have too high of expectations on what a draft will yield - we all want like 4-5 starters.   Truth is a good draft gets you two starters - a great draft "Perfect 10"  gets you three starters and anything on top of that is a HOF draft.

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5 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

It's already been neglected imho. Yes, we spent on Beasley and Takk. Yes, we've spent heavy on defense in the past. This isn't about the past to me. It's about spending all of our money in FA on OL, then our Day 1 and 2 picks on OL, all despite having one of the worst defenses in the league last year.

And people can blame injuries all they want - we lose a couple guys this year and it's likely going to be more of the same. I'm happy we drafted OL. I'm just unhappy the defense is being neglected in the draft. You can have both. This feels like one of those years we're "taking off" so that we can go heavy defense next year...well, there might not be a next year for DQ. Just think it's a big risk.

Top run game and defense. They need it or heads will roll. I'm rooting for em.

Last year, defensive injuries screwed us early on, but we managed to get back to .500 until we lost Fusco and O-line play significantly declined. The decline of the offense did us in. Ryan was doing the best he could but the pressure was too much.

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3 minutes ago, MSalmon said:

I love you as a poster, but really? A top run game to keep that defense fresh requires top OL

Don't know how you could read my post and not understand that I believe that same thing. I even talk about being happy we drafted OL. I can be happy we drafted OL and unhappy we completely neglected the defense in FA and the draft. It's not an either/or situation.

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Just now, Francis York Morgan said:

Don't know how you could read my post and not understand that I believe that same thing. I even talk about being happy we drafted OL. I can be happy we drafted OL and unhappy we completely neglected the defense in FA and the draft. It's not an either/or situation.

I guess. I don’t think we could have done both with the resources available and our obvious desire to deepen the OL. I wanted a defensive guy at one or two myself btw. But I can see goodnesses In this strategy

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