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2014 Falcons Mock Muncher (Updated Feb. 17)

February 17th, 2014 1 comment
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn’s Greg Robinson is becoming more popular as a potential Falcons target

The offseason is here and it is time to look at the many mock drafts that have been published around the internet’s top draft websites focusing on what the so-called draft experts are projecting the Atlanta Falcons to do with the sixth overall pick.

This is the third update with a total of 93 mocks munched from the beginning of January through mid-February. Anthony Barr still holds the lead, appearing in 27 total mocks. But Greg Robinson is starting to close the gap by appearing in 21 total, 12 of which have come in February. That latter figure is tied for the lead for the month with Jake Matthews, who has appeared in 24 total mocks thus far. Robinson is also tied for the lead in “unique” mocks with Barr with a total of 16. There’s more on what constitutes a unique mock after the jump.

2.17 – NFL.com (Pat Kirwan): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
2.17 - Walter Football (Charlie Campbell): OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
2.17 – NFL Draft Geek: OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
2.17 – FF Toolbox (Users): OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
2.13 – Draft Daddy (Glenn Bernardi): OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
2.12 – Walter Football: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
2.12 – Draft King: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
2.12 – Ourlads: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2.12 - Draft Tek: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
2.12 – Draft Season (Lomas): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
2.12 – FF Toolbox (Rob Warner): OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
2.11 – NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah): OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
2.11 – CBS Sports (Rob Rang): OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
2.11 – CBS Sports (Dane Brugler): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
2.11 – CBS Sports (Pete Prisco): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
2.11 – TFY Draft Insider: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
2.11 – FF Toolbox (Matt De Lima): DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2.10 – NFL.com (Charles Davis): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
2.10 – Blogging Dirty: DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2.10 - Draft Season (Onebar): OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
2.09 – Draft Ace: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
2.07 – FOX Sports (Joel Klatt): OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
2.07 – Draft Season (Ultimate): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
2.06 – ESPN Insider (Todd McShay): OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (subscription required)
2.06 – ESPN Insider (Mel Kiper): OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA (subscription required)
2.06 – Football’s Future: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA
2.06 – SI.com (Doug Farrar): OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
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2014 First Round Mock Draft

February 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Could Jake Matthews be Atlanta’s target?

Last offseason, I didn’t do nearly as much draft-related homework as I had done in past years, and thus the amount of draft-related content generated by the site was down. I only produced three mock drafts, and the first one didn’t get published until March.

This year, I plan on changing those things as I intend to dive head-first into the draft this offseason in what will be a pivotal one for the Atlanta Falcons. And thus, this change starts with my very first mock draft of the year.

Now, like anybody that understands the draft process should already know, doing a mock draft before free agency is essentially a shot in the dark. Mock drafts are highly inaccurate to begin with, but projections made before March are even more so. Teams will address key needs in free agency, thus eliminating the possibility that they draft a player at that position. In a lot of these instances in this pre-free agency mock, I’ll be guessing at what teams might do that could affect the draft and will make note of some possible scenarios that could play out.

Let’s get started. Underclassmen are denoted by an asterisk (*).

1. Houston Texans – QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville*
John McClain is arguably the most respected NFL beat writer in the country, and when he says the Texans will take a quarterback, then the Texans will take a quarterback. Frankly, Texans fans would riot and destroy the city of Houston if they opened up the 2014 season with Matt Schaub as their quarterback. So the only question is which of the quarterbacks the Texans will take. Ultimately, I think it’s going to be Bridgewater. Despite recent reports to the contrary, he’s the most complete passer in this class. I suspect that he won’t be a slam dunk selection, similar to last year’s No. 1 overall pick where we really didn’t know until the day of the draft that Eric Fisher would be the top selection. Thus, there will be plenty of drama that unfolds over the next three months.

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Categories: Draft Central Tags: ,

Falcons to Coach North Team in Senior Bowl

January 2nd, 2014 Comments off
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Smith

The Atlanta Falcons announced today that Mike Smith and the rest of the team’s coaching staff will coach the North Team in the Senior Bowl that will be played later this month in Mobile, Alabama. The Senior Bowl is an annual all-star game featuring the top senior players from college football preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars will coach the South team. Each team will handle the week of practices with their stable of players, and then coach them in the game which will be played at the end of the week on January 25 in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.

This will mark the first time the Falcons have coached at the Senior since 1978 per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC. Assignments for who coaches the two teams generally go to teams with stable coaching situations near the top of the draft. Given the changes made among coaching staffs with the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, and Cleveland Browns, and uncertainty surrounding the status of Dennis Allen with the Oakland Raiders, the Jaguars and Falcons became the obvious choices for heading up Senior Bowl practices. The Jaguars hold the third overall selection, while the Falcons are set to pick sixth.

The week of close exposure to the players on the North team should give the Falcons a leg-up in terms of player evaluations. In most years, it typically leads to several prospects being drafted for the respective teams.

Categories: Draft Central Tags: ,

Falcons to Select Sixth in 2014 Draft

January 2nd, 2014 Comments off

Although the order of the final twelve selections in the first round of May’s upcoming 2014 NFL Draft won’t be determined until the Super Bowl is played, the Atlanta Falcons do know where they will be selecting. Due to their 4-12 record in 2013, the Falcons will hold the sixth overall choice in the first round of the draft.

The first day of the draft is scheduled for Thursday, May 8, and will be held over the next two days through May 10.

Categories: Draft Central Tags: ,

Scouting Report: Sean Renfree

May 24th, 2013 Comments off

Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Sean Renfree

Here is my breakdown of the Falcons final pick in Duke quarterback Sean Renfree:

Height: 6-3 1/8
Weight: 219
School: Duke
Class: Senior
Speed: 4.76 (estimate)

Was recruited by Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, but ultimately chose Duke when Andrew Luck landed there. Became the starter as a redshirt sophomore. Showed improvement with his production every year, culminating in career highs in completions, completion percentage, and touchdowns as a senior. Posted his best record as a starter that year, leading Duke to a 6-6 record and their first bowl appearance since 1994. Nearly led the Blue Devils to a win over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, but a last minute touchdown pass lifted the Bearcats over them. Wound up injuring himself on the last play of the game, getting hit and tearing his pectoral muscle. That torn pec led to him not throwing in the off-season and not working out at either the Combine or his pro day. Is expected to begin throwing at some point in May before training camp begins. Renfree was coached by David Cutcliffe, a noted QB guru, at Duke. Pretty much every starting QB that has played under Cutcliffe since 1991 has played in the NFL: Heath Shuler (1991-93), Peyton Manning (1994-97), Tee Martin (1998), Romaro Miller (1999-00), Eli Manning (2000-03), Brady Quinn (2005), Erik Ainge (2006-07), Thad Lewis (2008-09), to Renfree. He was a three-time Academic All-ACC selection as well as served as Duke’s team captain his final two years.

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Scouting Report: Zeke Motta

May 23rd, 2013 Comments off

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Zeke Motta

Here’s a look at the second safety the Falcons selected in the seventh round in Zeke Motta.

Height: 6-2 1/4
Weight: 215
School: Notre Dame
Class: Senior
Speed: 4.71 (Campus)

He split reps with Jamoris Slaughter during his sophomore and junior seasons at strong safety, playing opposite Harrison Smith. After Smith was drafted in 2012, he moved to free safety as a senior in his lone season as a full-time starter. He had career highs in tackles. Not a great coverage guy, Motta has good size and is an active run defender. But like many of his Notre Dame brethren, Motta’s stock was hurt by the fact that he had an underwhelming game against Alabama in the National Championship. He did lead the team with tackles in that game, recording a career-high 16 but many of those were made several yards downfield after successful Alabama runs or throws. Then his stock was hurt even more with a slow 40 time at the Combine (4.83). His first name is short for Ezekiel.

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Scouting Report: Kemal Ishmael

May 22nd, 2013 Comments off
Beth Hall-US PRESSWIRE

Kemal Ishmael

I have to be honest, when the Falcons made Kemal Ishmael the first of three seventh round picks, I didn’t have a clue who he was. But I went back and watched tape of him while he was at Central Florida, and here is what I came away with…

Height: 5-10 3/4
Weight: 201
School: Central Florida
Class: Senior
Speed: 4.63 (Campus)

A four-year starter that started 49 consecutive games over his career at UCF at free safety. Ishmael was a highly productive run-defending safety that was a tackling machine during his days in school. He led the Golden Knights defense in tackles in his last three years, culminating in a senior year where he had career highs in every statistical category. He had a knack for making plays, including a total of 6 turnovers (3 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles). He set the school record for career tackles among defensive backs. A player that lacks ideal NFL measurables, but managed to get by with toughness, work ethic, and leadership. He hails from the same high school in Miami as Louis Delmas, currently with the Detroit Lions.

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Scouting Report: Stansly Maponga

May 20th, 2013 Comments off
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Stansly Maponga

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go back and watch more than one game from Maponga this past season. But I had broken down last year’s bowl game, so I will also factor in my notes from that game as part of this evaluation.

Height: 6-1 7/8
Weight: 251
School: Texas Christian
Class: Junior
Speed: 4.81 (Campus)

Maponga was born in Zimbabwe, but moved to the United States when he was a child. His career path to the NFL mirrors that of Falcons teammate Jonathan Massaquoi. Massaquoi, a native of Liberia came to the U.S. at a young age as well. Massaquoi shined at Troy during his sophomore year, but his production fell off as a junior. But he wound up declaring for the NFL draft and probably not going as high as he initially envisioned (fifth round). Maponga had a strong sophomore campaign, emerging as one of TCU’s top pass rushers with 9 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He looked much more pedestrian as a junior, although he was somewhat limited by a broken foot in October. But he only managed 1 sack and 2.5 tackles for loss in the six games prior to the injury. His production actually went up over the final 5 games with 3 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. Maponga opted to declare for the draft. TCU has been a school that has produced a steady line of productive pass rushers at the collegiate level, but not as many have translated well to the pro game in recent years. Jerry Hughes has struggled in Indianapolis since being a top pick, and players like Chase Ortiz, Tommy Blake, and Wayne Daniels are recent players that produced at TCU, but could not translate at all to the NFL level. If Maponga does find success at the next level, he will be the first former Horned Frog since Aaron Schobel (2001-09). Maponga was primarily used as a left defensive end while at TCU, able to exploit the slower feet of many right tackles.

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Scouting Report: Levine Toilolo

May 19th, 2013 Comments off

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Levine Toilolo

Let’s look at what I thought was an underrated tight end prospect in this year’s class in Levine Toilolo.

Height: 6-8 3/8
Weight: 259
School: Stanford
Class: Junior
Speed: 4.86 (Combine)

Toilolo continues the trend that the Falcons apparently adopted in 2013 by selecting a player with NFL bloodlines. Three of his uncles: Dan Saleaumua (1987-98), Edwin Mulitalo (1999-2008), and Joe Salave’a (1998-2006) all played in NFL. Toilolo comes from an athletic family of Samoan Americans. A top recruit for Stanford, he started as a redshirt freshman back in 2010 in the season opener, but tore his ACL which lost him for the year. He came back the following year mixing in the rotation with Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener. He had a solid year, putting up slightly better production than Ertz. But as junior, Ertz would take off while Toilolo would sort of languish at the status quo. Didn’t have the breakout year expected, and had basically the same production despite the uptick in opportunities with Fleener in the NFL. He is primarily a blocking tight end, but possesses the length and athleticism to create matchup problems and wreak havoc in the secondary. He continues a strong tradition of Stanford tight ends in the NFL, with Ertz being taken in 2013. Fleener was the top TE drafted in 2012. Jim Dray and Evan Moore each were backups this past year, while Alex Smith was a productive starter in Tampa Bay before becoming a backup in Cleveland. His name is pronounced La-Veen Toy-lo-lo.

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Scouting Report: Malliciah Goodman

May 19th, 2013 Comments off

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

Malliciah Goodman

Here’s my take on defensive end Malliciah Goodman, the first of a pair of fourth round picks by the Falcons in 2013.

Height: 6-3 5/8
Weight: 273
School: Clemson
Class: Senior
Speed: 4.87 (Combine)

Goodman was a highly recruited prospect at Clemson, and finished his career strong with a 3-sack effort against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. In that game, he was working against a true freshman who began the season as a backup and dominated him early before LSU made adjustments. He began his career as the backup to Da’Quan Bowers, recording 3 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. In his first year as a starter, he had 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. As a senior, he was shut out in terms of sacks for the first four games of the season. But finished the year with 7 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in the final 6 games, including the 3-sack, 3-TFL performance in the finale vs. LSU. Goodman transitioned to the Combine where he impressed again with his long arms. They were measured 36 and 3/8 inches, making them the longest of any of the prospects in Indianapolis. Those long arms give him a lot of developmental potential as a defensive end where they can be highly valuable as an edge rusher. He played exclusively at left end at Clemson.

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