Over 15 scouts were present at Nebraska’s pro day today, including the Falcons according to Grant Muessel of Huskers Illustrated. Linebacker Will Compton shined per Rich Kaipust of the Omaha World-Herald, clocking a 4.54 second 40 time, 24 bench reps, and a 32-inch vertical jump. Tight end Kyler Reed also impressed with a 4.45 40 time, 41-inch vertical jump, 19 bench reps, and a 10-foot-7-inch broad jump. Running back Rex Burkhead clocked a 40 in the 4.7-range at last month’s Combine, but improved on his numbers by running in the 4.5-range today.
Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com reports that the Falcons have an upcoming workout with TCU defensive end Stansly Maponga, scheduled for this Sunday. Maponga worked out for more than 20 NFL teams today for TCU’s pro day. Per Watkins, he ran a 4.84-second 40-yard dash, benched 225 pounds 30 times, and had a vertical jump of 29.5 inches. Maponga didn’t run at last month’s Combine due to a broken toe, which he is currently in the midst of seeking opinions to determine if it requires surgery. Maponga opted to forgo his senior season at TCU, after a disappointing junior season where he had 26 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. That production came on the heels of a strong sophomore year where he had 55 tackles, 13.5 for loss, and 9 sacks. Maponga is projected as third day (Rounds 4 through 7) draft pick. He measured in at 6-2, 256 pounds at the Combine with 34-inch arms.
Also at the TCU pro day, wideout Skye Dawson put up impressive numbers, clocking a 4.39-second 40 time and a 35.5-inch vertical jump. Dawson caught passes from former TCU quarterback and current Cincinnati Bengal Andy Dalton.
Pro days began in earnest this past Friday, and Chris Steuber of Ourlads.com tweets that the Falcons were among over a dozen teams that each attended the pro days at Alabama State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Massachusetts on Monday.
Per Gil Brandt of NFL.com, offensive tackle Terren Jones was the star of the Alabama State pro day. He measured in at nearly 6-8 and 341 pounds with 36-inch arms. He clocked a pair of 40s at 5.59 and 5.50 seconds and had a 24-inch vertical jump and 8-foot-7-inch broad jump. Jones did not lift.
The biggest name of the three pro days belonged to Arkansas-Pine Bluff tackle Terron Armstead. Armstead shine at last month’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, clocking a 4.71 40 time, the fastest ever for an offensive lineman. At 6-5, 306 pounds with 34-inch arms, Armstead has the build of a smooth, athletic left tackle and has moved up boards in recetn weeks. His athleticism was so alarming, that Brandt indicates some teams might work him out at tight end. Armstead only did positional drills at his pro day, standing pat on his Combine numbers. He did 31 bench reps of 225 pounds, jumped 34.5 inches on the vertical leap (also the best among linemen at the Combine), and had 9-feet-7 inches on the broad jump in Indianapolis.
Linebacker Brandon Thurmond also put up impressive workout numbers at Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s pro day. He measured at 6-1, 253 pounds. His fastest 40 time was clocked at 4.74 per Brandt, and had a 32-inch vertical jump, and did 20 bench reps of 225 pounds.
UMass tackle Stephane Milhim was invited to the Combine, where he measured 6-4, 314 pounds with 34.25-inch arms. He clocked a 5.23 second 40, 28.5-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-8-inch broad jump, and 4.87 short shuttle. According to reports he was able to improve on all those numbers.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
With the Chiefs trading for Alex Smith, it means that they won’t be taking a quarterback with the top pick in the draft. That likely leaves the Chiefs looking to address either their offensive or defensive lines. With Branden Albert being an impending free agent, it’s questionable if he’ll be back in Kansas City next year. Joeckel can potentially slide immediately into that vacant spot across from Eric Winston, continuing what should be a formidable ground attack helmed by Jamaal Charles.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
The Jaguars reached on Tyson Alualu a few years back and he has not developed into the player hoped for. Terrance Knighton is also a free agent that may or may not be back. With new head coach Gus Bradley in town, the Jaguars will look to bolster their defensive line. Floyd has the versatility, size, and power to be a dominant player up front, something the Jaguars have lacked since they heydays of Marcus Stroud and John Henderson.
3. Oakland Raiders – QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
It’s been stated by the Raiders organization that Terrelle Pryor and Carson Palmer will compete for the starting job next year. But neither player was acquired by the current regime and thus they aren’t tied to either. Dennis Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie will look to put their stamp on the team by taking Smith to be their future franchise passer.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Lotulelei’s heart condition may affect his draft stock, but presuming it’s not a big deal, he would be a good addition up front for Philly. They’ve already cut Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. Lotulelei can come in and be an immediate upgrade to their front and give them some much needed beef on defense.
5. Detroit Lions – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
The team nabbed Riley Reiff as their top pick last year to be the heir apparent to Jeff Backus. But Gosder Cherilus is likely to part as a free agent, which could mean they could move Reiff to the right side and plug Fisher into the left tackle position. Protecting Matt Stafford and beefing up their run game are priorities for the Lions moving forward,and Fisher is a hometown kid that has risen up the boards the past few months.
I wanted to get this up sooner, but I finally gone back and looked at tape of the Falcons newest fifth round pick on the defensive side of the ball. Massaquoi was a player that first came to my attention in the 2010 New Orleans Bowl, where he utterly dominated Ohio’s offensive line to have 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks in that game. From that game he looked like he had the potential to be a stud pass rusher at the next level.
But after watching four games of his from this past year, I’m not nearly as impressed with him. Here are some of the things I saw on tape:
Pros: Has nice straight-line burst off the edge. He plays with a high motor and continues until the whistle. Does a good job timing snaps and getting a good jump to get the offensive tackle off-balanced. Will use his hands at times to keep blockers off him and get extension. Flashes ability as a bull rusher, able to get his hands inside and jolt the tackle off the snap. Can make the quick inside counter move to collapse the pocket from the edge. Has experience dropping into coverage on zone blitzes, and does a nice job with his backpedal and footwork.
Cons: Doesn’t have the first step or burst off the edge to really wow you. His first step is really only effective against the lesser tackles he faces. If he cannot win with his first step, he struggles to disengage and win battles. Gets pushed around too easily and knocked off his rush when tackles get their hands on him. Struggles to get leverage at the point of attack and tends to get swarmed under when you run directly at him. He doesn’t show great recognition to maintain the edge. Not a very good open field tackler because he doesn’t do a great job breaking down and ducks his head. Doesn’t change direction well when you get him in space, and can get caught out of position against the run there. Doesn’t show great hips when he drops in coverage, and is very straight-line.
I think part of hte reason why Massaquoi shined in 2010 vs. Ohio was because he was much lighter than he was in 2011. He was listed at 252 back in 2010, but appeared to play much closer to 260-265 range as a junior in 2011. That additional weight seemed to make him lose a step. While he does have decent burst, it didn’t look good enough where he was going to really beat starting-calber NFL tackles with it. The hope for the Falcons is that the burst can return once he gets a bit more used to playing at the additional weight.
Another reason is that Troy’s defense doesn’t really take full advantage of Massaquoi’s skillset. He plays left defensive end in their defense, and too often I saw him lined up in a 5-technique or over the tackle. Forcing him to use his hands rather than his speed. His hands are by far his weakest aspect. But he still managed to be productive in the four games I saw when he was able to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. But a lot of his pressures came from him being able to time snaps very well rather than him being able to simply win with his burst alone.
Overall, Massaquoi reminds me a lot of Lawrence Sidbury. Sidbury playing at Richmond also didn’t have a high degree of competition on a weekly basis. Sidbury too could prey on the weakest offensive tackles he faced. Massaquoi and Sidbury’s burst are similar, and like Sidbury I think Massaquoi can be a very good situational/rotational player. But he’ll likley be very limited in a starter’s role because of his lack of size and the fact that he doesn’t have the burst to really be a force off the edge.
And thusly, like Sidbury, I don’t see Massaquoi doing a whole lot his rookie season. And may not be a guy that will contribute until his third year. Unless he can add strength and learn how to use his hands better, it’s hard to see Massaquoi doing much more. One thing I did like about him that could be developed is his bull rush. He could at times get his hands inside and jolt tackles off the ball. He still hasn’t quite mastered the ability to lock on and drive the blocker into the backfield, but that can come in time.
Overall, I believe Massaquoi is a nice depth option for the Falcons that can be developed to help out the rotation in time. His potential to play in coverage might be a little better than the Falcons current group of edge rushers, but it’s probably not a skillset that will be developed to any high degree.
When the Falcons drafted Southern Miss offensvie tackle Lamar Holmes, I’m sure I was among many Falcon fans that were perplexed. Holmes had been designated by many draft sites as a late round project, and here the Falcons a team that desperately needed a left tackle had just taken him in the third round. It suggested they thought much more highly of Holmes than many of the so-called experts.
I’ve learned over the years, that when it comes to rookies and draft prospects, you shouldn’t have any strong opinions about them until you’ve seen them play. Guys that are initially judged as reaches can often become studs. And others that are deemed sure-fire studs and can potentially become busts.
I went back and watched three games of Southern Miss on ESPN3.com to form my own impression of Holmes. I saw him from this past year against Virginia, Houston, and Nevada.
Pros: The first thing you notice about Holmes is his size. He has very good size for an NFL tackle with the long arms and bulky frame you want. He is a fairly good athlete that is able to move his feet and slide in pass protection. His technique and footwork are pretty solid. His long arms allow him to get extension in pass protection, as he’s able to initiate contact with pass rushers on the edge. He bends his knees well and can get leverage at the point of attack as a run blocker. He can drive his feet when he does lock on as a run blocker to get some push. He is able to block on the move and does a nice job getting downfield to hit assignments on the second level. He also flashed nice potential as a cut blocker.
Cons: Holmes lacks great feet. He can struggle at times with speed, mainly because while he does a good job initiating contact on the edge, the contact is lackluster. He tends to push rather than punch pass rushers, which allows them to continue to work their way around the edge. He doesn’t do a great job locking on which prevents him from maintaining his blocks. And he doesn’t possess the short-area power as a run blocker that even when he gets leverage he is able to consistently push defenders off the ball. Doesn’t do a great job finishing his blocks either because of his inability to lock on. Doesn’t dominate smaller defenders in a short-area the way a guy with his size should.
Holmes is expected to compete right away for the left tackle position for the Falcons. But in watching Holmes in these three games I do not think he’s quite ready to be an NFL starter. While he is technically sound in the sense that you can tell he’s been well-coached, he hasn’t quite polished that technique to make him effective against speed. He needs to refine his technique, and getting at least a year in the weight room and on the bench should help him go a long ways towards doing that.
But even if Holmes does get a year to learn and improve, I’m still not convinced he’s ideally suited to play left tackle in the NFL. At least not a high level. He looks more like a player that is better suited to playing right tackle in the league because of his struggles against speed.
Whoever plays left tackle for the Falcons this year is not going to have an easy task over the first half of the season. Likely matchups include going against Tamba Hali (12 sacks in 2011), Elvis Dumervil (9.5 sacks), Shaun Philips (3.5 sacks), Charles Johnson (9 sacks), Brian Orakpo (9 sacks), Matt Shaughnessy (7 sacks in 2010), Trent Cole (11 sacks), and DeMarcus Ware (19.5 sacks) over the first 8 games.
That’s not going to be an ideal situation for a player like Holmes. I believe Holmes can be a good player for the Falcons, but probably not in 2012. In time, he can potentially become a Donald Penn-caliber of left tackle. He won’t set the world on fire, but is more than capable of doing more good than bad if he can be developed. That should begin with patience from the Falcons.
It’s the final update for the mock muncher, compiling projections for the Falcons pick at No. 55 overall in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Because only two-round mocks are being collated, there is a lot of diversity and not a lot of consensus on who the Falcons will take with their top pick. Most mocks seem to be going after the tight end position, as 31 of the 94 mocks munched have chosen that position for the Falcons top pick. The second most popular position seems to be offensive linemen with 28 of the mock drafts choosing a player at that position. A total of 17 mocks have chosen a pass rusher.
Coby Fleener was the most popular pick through January and February, but in March the tide has turned towards Dwayne Allen as most mocks feel that Fleener has moved up on draft boards due to a solid Combine and pro day. Allen edged out Fleener to appear in 16 total mocks (14 unique), while Fleener only appeared in 12 (9 unique). Next on the list are Cam Johnson, Kelechi Osemele, and Mitchell Schwartz, all tied with 5 total and 5 unique mocks. Out of the 39 players projected to be the Falcons top pick, 22 one of them are “one-shots” meaning they have yet to appear in a second mock draft.
4.26 – Draft Tek: Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
4.26 – Draft Countdown: Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
4.26 – NFL Draft Blitz: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
4.26 – Walter Football: Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
4.26 – Walter Football (Charlie Campbell): Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
4.26 – Sideline Scouting: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
4.26 – NFL Draft Geek: Chris Polk, RB, Washington
4.25 – Great Blue North Report: Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
4.25 – My NFL Draft: Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern St.
4.25 – The Football Expert: Andre Branch, LB, Clemson
4.25 – NFL Draft 101 (Zach Bohner): Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
4.25 – FF Toolbox (Ryan McKenzie): Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
4.25 – FF Toolbox (Ricky Dimon): Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern St.
4.25 – FF Toolbox (Jonnie Stoneberg): Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State
4.25 – FF Toolbox (Jeff Christiansen): Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
4.25 – FF Toolbox (Ben Standig): Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
4.25 – Draft Season (Lupagus): Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
4.25 – Draft Breakdown (Eric Stoner): Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
4.24 – FF Toolbox (Walton Spurlin): Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern St.
4.24 – Draft Season (Ultimate): Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
As usual, I’ll keep track of which are “unique” mocks, indicating a mock that was updated and had the Falcons taking a different player than that site’s previous projection. Since we just got started in January, and a relatively late start, all of them were unique.
January Mocks (14 total, 14 unique)
1. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford (5 total, 5 unique)
2. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson (2 total, 2 unique)
February Mocks (30 total, 27 unique)
1. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford (6 total, 3 unique)
2. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson (3 total, 3 unique)
3. Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia (3 total, 3 unique)
March Mocks (22 total, 20 unique)
1. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson (5 total, 4 unique)
April Mocks (28 total, 28 unique)
1. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson (6 total, 5 unique)
2. Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern St. (4 total, 4 unique)
3. Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State (4 total, 4 unique)
4. Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California (3 total, 3 unique)
As part of our continuing draft coverage and our efforts to bring you the fans a way to connect with your fellow Falcon fans, we will be doing a live draft show Thursday night on our broadcast channel on Justin.tv. Also we will be hosting a live chat on our channel during the course of night.
Our show will be kicking off just minutes before the draft begins at 8 pm Eastern on Thursday night. Falcon fans don’t need to be left out on the first night of the draft with the Falcons being without a pick, as they can stop by and discuss any and everything during the chat while listening to myself and co-host Ryan discuss the draft. We’ll be answering questions, talking prospects, and discussing the Falcons of course. We’ll also feature a live show on Friday night to get the immediate reaction of the Falcons pick when it comes off the board. And if you still haven’t gotten your draft fix by Saturday, you can stop by then as well.
In order to participate in the chat, you’ll need to create a free user account at Justin.tv. It’s quick and easy and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday night and throughout the weekend.
This is my third mock and as such I figured I would expand it from the two rounds of my previous one.
1. Colts – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
It’s no secret that the Colts have been locked in on Luck from day one. He’ll be asked to fill the huge shoes left by Peyton Manning.
2. Redskins (from Rams) – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
The Redskins gave up
too much a lot to move up to this spot to get Griffin. But he’ll be the potential franchise QB that this franchise has been wanting for over a decade now.
3. Vikings – OT Matt Kalil, USC
Kalil is a virtual lock for this position, as the Vikings have been waiting many years to get the next bookend left tackle.
4. Browns – WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.
Since the Browns appear committed to Colt McCoy for at least another year, they’ll do their best to surround him with some weapons.
5. Buccaneers – CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
Despite their acquisition of Eric Wright, the Bucs still need a lot more help in their back seven.
6. Rams (from Redskins) – RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Needing an heir apparent to Steven Jackson, the Rams don’t see this as settling with a player many think could be comparable to Adrian Peterson in the pros.
7. Jaguars – DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
Ingram has the athleticism without the question marks of Coples which will cause the Jags to view him as the top pass rusher in this year’s class.
8. Dolphins – QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
The fact that they had to settle on David Garrard means that they are locked in on Mike Sherman’s former protege at Texas A&M.
9. Panthers – DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina
They will roll the dice on the inconsistent athletic marvel from Chapel Hill just like they did a decade ago with Julius Peppers.
10. Bills – OT Riley Reiff, Iowa
If they lose Demetrius Bell in the coming days, they will be on the lookout for a replacement at left tackle.
Bentley has been rising up boards in recent months. At 5’10″ 182-pound corner performed well at the Combine last month. He had 13 bench reps, ran a 4.43 40 seconds, 31.5-inch vertical jump, 9-6 broad jump, and 6.99 3-cone drill. Bentley is the 9th ranked cornerback on CBS Sports, and is projected as a 2nd/3rd round pick.
It’s likely that both players will be performing on-campus workouts for the Falcons given that teams are allowed a limit of 32 prospects to bring to their own facilities for private workouts.