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Falcons to workout safety Phillip Thomas

March 22nd, 2013 Comments off

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Fresno State FS Phillip Thomas

Ricardo Cano of The Collegian reports that the Falcons have scheduled a work out with Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas. Thomas worked out with fellow Fresno State draft prospects on Wednesday at the school’s pro day, and it’s not known if the team conducted a campus workout or will invite Thomas to Flowery Branch.

Nineteen NFL teams were on hand this week to watch Fresno State’s pro day, which likely included the Falcons, but that is as of yet unconfirmed. Thomas was able to improve his 40 time from last month’s Scouting Combine, able to shave his time down from 4.65 seconds to 4.53. Also improving on previous 40 times Wednesday was running back Robbie Rouse, who ran an unimpressive 4.8 second 40 at the Combine. He managed a 4.56 at his pro day.

Thomas is the third-rated free safety by CBS Sports/NFL Draft Scout and projected as a second day draft pick. Thomas missed all of his junior season (2011) with a broken leg, but returned stronger than ever as a senior this past fall. He had 8 interceptions, which led the nation, along with 84 tackles, 12 for loss, and 4 sacks. Three of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns.

In other workout-related news, it was reported Tuesday by Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News that Texas A&M outside lineback Sean Porter has already had a private workout with the Falcons. A&M held their pro day on March 8, where Porter reportedly ran a 4.63. CBS Sports projects Porter as a third or fourth round pick. Porter replaced current Denver Broncos star Von Miller as A&M’s primary pass-rushing linebacker as a junior in 2011, recording 9.5 sacks, 79 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 2 pass breakups. He was supplanted by Damontre Moore this past season, and got more reps in coverage. He still managed 3.5 sacks, 66 tackles, 6.5 for loss, but also had an interception and 5 pass breakups

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Falcons Pro Day Round-Up 3/22

March 22nd, 2013 Comments off
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

SDSU WR Brice Butler

This past week, the Falcons were confirmed to be at the pro days of Albany State on Monday, San Diego State and Sam Houston State on Tuesday, N.C. State and Tennessee on Wednesday, and Middle Tennessee and Kentucky yesterday.

The Falcons were one of just four teams to watch Albany State’s prospects work out. Defensive tackle Justin Blash measured in at 6-5, 320 pounds and ran a wind-aided 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds. He also did 29 bench reps of 225 pounds. Running back Nathan Hoyte had a 4.47 second wind-aided 40, and recorded a 10-foot-3-inch broad jump and 33.5-inch vertical jump.

The Falcons reportedly showed interest in wideout Brice Butler at San Diego State’s pro day. Butler is the son of former Falcon cornerback Bobby Butler, who played 11 seasons with the team from 1981-92 and his 27 career interceptions currently rank sixth on the team’s all-time leaders list. Butler is a former USC trojan that transferred to San Diego State this past year. He caught 24 passes for 347 yards (14.5 avg) and 4 touchdowns, after catching 41 passes for 554 yards (13.5 avg) and 3 touchdowns in three years with the Trojans. At the pro day, Butler clocked a 4.36 second 40 time, with a 6.60 second 3-cone drill, 10-foot-9-inch broad jump, and 39-inch vertical. Butler being a native of Norcross, GA may be eligible to work out at the Falcons local pro day.

Two other highly-rated Aztec prospects are tight end Gavin Escobar and cornerback Leon McFadden, both of whom worked at last month’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Escobar was able to improve his 40 time, going from a 4.84 second time in Indianapolis to a 4.70 time on Tuesday. He reportedly spoke to Falcons officials. McFadden stood on his Combine numbers, except he repeated his 34.5-inch vertical.

Most eyes were likely drawn to quarterback Mike Glennon and cornerback David Amerson at N.C. State’s pro day, as both are projected as second round picks. But other players might have turned a few heads with some impressive athleticism being on display. Wideout Tobias Palmer led the Wolfpack in receptions this past season with 54, clocked a 4.33 second 40 time, with a 33.5-inch vertical, 10-foot-1-inch broad jump, and 14 bench reps of 225 pounds. Cornerback C.J. Wilson also clocked a 40 time of 4.33 seconds, 37-inch vertical, 10-foot-6-inch broad jump, and 17 bench reps. Running back Jonathan Fisher had a 4.37 second 40 time, 38-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-7-inch broad jump, and 16 bench reps.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports that every NFL team was on hand to check out Tennessee’s pro day on Wednesday. Assembled there was an impressive collection of receivers including projected first round pick Cordarelle Patterson. Justin Hunter recorded a 40.5-inch vertical jump and 11-foot-6-inch broad jump. Former UT receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who transferred to Tennessee Tech after being suspended by the team was also on hand and had a 38-inch vertical jump. All three were invited to last month’s Combine. The Vol’s third receiver, Zach Rogers did not receive a Combine invite, and measured in at 6-1, 182 pounds, and ran a 4.49 second 40 time with a 9-foot-7-inch broad jump, 32-inch vertical, and 6.72 second 3-cone drill. Tight end Mychal Rivera also had a 31-inch vertical and did 21 bench reps.

The Falcons were among 13 teams represented at Middle Tennessee’s pro day. Running back Benny Cunningham is coming off knee surgery that ended his 2012 season prematurely. In five games however, he rushed for 600 yards and 11 touchdowns. He still managed to lift at the pro day, putting up 225 pounds 26 times.

Impressing at Kentucky’s pro day was running back CoShik Williams, who measured in at 5-9, 182 pounds. He did 20 bench reps, clocked a 4.62 second 40 time, 10-foot-1-inch broad jump, and 35-inch vertical.

Updating previous reports from last week, Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports that all 32 teams were represented at the March 13 pro day of Rutgers.

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Falcons awarded four compensatory picks

March 18th, 2013 Comments off

This evening the league announced which teams would receive compensatory picks in next month’s draft, and the Atlanta Falcons were awarded four of them. Annually the league gives out 32 picks to teams that suffered significant free agent losses in the preceding off-season. Dependent on the player’s significance, determined by secret formula taking into account salary and playing time, picks are given at the end of Rounds Three through Seven. Last year the Falcons lost Curtis Lofton, Eric Weems, Kelvin Hayden, and James Sanders. Lofton’s departure to New Orleans netted the Falcons a fourth round pick, the final pick in that round. The other three free agent losses give the Falcons three additional seventh round picks. The Falcons now hold eleven total picks, holding picks in each round prior to tonight’s announcement.

First round: No. 30 overall
Second round: No. 60 overall
Third round: No. 92 overall
Fourth round: No. 128 overall
Fourth round: No. 133 overall*
Fifth round: No. 164 overall
Sixth round: No. 199 overall
Seventh round: No. 237 overall
Seventh round: No. 243 overall*
Seventh round: No. 244 overall*
Seventh round: No. 249 overall*

* Denotes a compensatory pick.

Compensatory picks are ineligible to be traded.

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Falcons Pro Day Round-Up 3/17

March 17th, 2013 Comments off

The Falcons were confirmed to be at seven different pro days last week, starting with Penn State on Monday, Lehigh on Tuesday, Colorado State and Alabama on Wednesday, with Arkansas State, Georgia Tech, and Oregon on Thursday.

Per Rob Rang of CBS Sports, defensive tackle Jordan Hill was able to improve upon his Combine numbers, clocking a 4.97 second 40 time at the pro day, down from 5.23 seconds he ran in Indianapolis. Linebacker Gerald Hodges was able to record a 35.5-inch vertical jump, while cornerback Stephon Morris blazed a 4.35 second 40 time. At 5-8, 168 pounds, he’s undersized but showed impressive athleticism with a 35-inch vertical and 10-foot broad jump.

While the Falcons were not listed among the official attendees at California (PA)’s pro day on Monday, they are expected to hold a private workout for center Eric Kush per Damond Talbot of NFL Draft Zone.

Wideout Ryan Spadola was the star of Lehigh’s pro day per Gil Brandt of NFL.com. He measured in just under 6-2 and 204 pounds. He recorded a 37-inch vertical and did not drop a pass during positional drills. Linebacker Billy Boyko clocked a 4.5-second 40 time, with 15 bench reps of 225 pounds and a 37.5-inch vertical jump.

Among the attendees at Colorado State’s pro day, was former CSU Ram long snapper Scott Albritton, who briefly played for the Falcons in the 2012 off-season. Albritton is looking for a chance to get back into the NFL. One of CSU’s top 2013 draft propsects is offensive lineman Joe Caprioglio, who measured in at 6-6, 315 pounds and did 27 bench reps of 225 on Wednesday.

Every NFL team attended the pro day of the national champs, Alabama. Not all of the former Crimson Tide prospects opted to work out this past week, as they will have two more opportunities in April. Linebacker Nico Johnson measured in at 6-2, 250 pounds and clocked a 4.74 second 40 time. He also had a 30-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-2-inch broad jump. Safety Robert Lester was able to improve on some of his times from the Combine, with a 4.60 40 time, improving from 4.66. He was able to add half an inch to his 33.5-inch vertical leap from the Combine, and five inches on his 9-foot-8-inch broad jump.

Safety Don Jones was the star of Arkansas State’s pro day, clocking a 4.40 second 40 time with a 42-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-7-inch broad jump. Jones measured in at 5-11, 191 pounds, and also did 17 bench reps.

Falcons head coach Mike Smith was among attendees at Georgia Tech’s pro day. Cornerback Rod Sweeting is their top prospect and worked out at last month’s Combine. He did positional drills and also looked to improve in other areas, including a 7.09-second three-cone drill.

Oregon sent a strong contingent of athletes to last month’s scouting combine. One player that was not invited was linebacker Michael Clay, who measured in at 5-11, 230 pounds on Thursday. He ran a 4.76 second 40 time with a 31.5-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-6-inch broad jump, and a 6.73 second three-cone drill. He also benched 225 pounds 23 times.

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Falcons eye Jackson State Prospects at Pro Day

March 9th, 2013 Comments off

Jackson State announced that the Falcons were among attendees at their pro day on Friday. The school also released unofficial results of their prospects. Two chief prospects that had promising workouts were linebacker Joseph LeBeau and wide receiver Rico Richardson.

LeBeau played defensive end at Jackson State, but measured in just barely above 6-0 and 219 pounds at January’s Casino Del Sol All-Star game. He led FCS schools with 16 sacks as a junior, and produced 10.5 this past year. Per the school site, he ran a 40-yard dash in the 4.4 second range, with 26 bench reps of 225 pounds, a 35.5-inch vertical jump, and 10-foot-7-inch broad jump.

Richardson is listed at 6-0, 185 pounds by NFL Draft Scout.com and led the school in receiving this year with 56 catches for 1081 yards and 10 touchdowns. His unofficial pro day results include a 4.3-second 40 time, 12 bench reps, 35.5-inch vertical jump, and 10-foot-1-inch broad jump.

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Falcons check out Southern Miss Pro Day

March 9th, 2013 2 comments

Tim Doherty of the Hattiesburg American reports that the Falcons were among several teams that attended Southern Mississippi’s pro day on Friday.

The prospect drawing the most attention was linebacker Jamie Collins, who lit up last month’s Combine in Indianapolis. Collins opted only to go through positional drills, standing pat on his Combin numbers. Collins measures 6-3, 250 pounds, with only 8 percent body fat. He clocked a 4.64-second 40 time, fourth fastest among all linebackers. His 11-foot-7-inch broad jump and 41.5-inch vertical jump topped the linebacker group. His broad jump was the best of any prospect in Indianapolis and his vertical jump was the second best overall. He also ranked in the top five of his position group with a 7.10-second 3-cone drill and 11.55 60-yard shuttle. Collins is a former high school quarterback that converted to defensive back upon arrival at Southern Miss. He was moved to linebacker during his sophomore year, and he had a breakout senior as a senior with career highs of 92 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 5 pass breakups. His Combine performance has him moving up the boards, as he is listed second on Mike Mayock’s 3-4 outside linebacker rankings on NFL.com. He is projected as a likely second day pick, but his climb up boards could potentially see him get drafted in the latter part of Round One come April.

Per Gil Brandt of NFL.com, tackle Jason Weaver measured at 6-5, 312 pounds. Weaver also attended last month’s combine, made slight improvements on his Combine numbers clocking a 5.33 second 40 (5.44 in Indianapolis), 22-inch vertical jump (up from 21), and 24 bench reps of 225 pounds (up from 23). Weaver started at right tackle opposite current Falcon Lamar Holmes at Southern Miss in 2011. Similar to Holmes, he is a former JUCO transfer that was granted a sixth year of eligibility this past fall due to a knee injury he suffered in 2010. He is projected as a potential late round pick.

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Falcons attend Nebraska Pro Day

March 7th, 2013 Comments off

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.

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Falcons to work out TCU DE Stansly Maponga

March 7th, 2013 Comments off
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

TCU DE Stansly Maponga

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.

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Falcons Pro Day Round-Up March 4

March 5th, 2013 Comments off
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Terron Armstead at the Combine

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.

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2013 First Round Mock

March 3rd, 2013 Comments off

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Where does Geno Smith go?

Is it March already? I just updated the 2013 mock muncher today, but I figured I would offer my own mock draft as well. Here are my projections for the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

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.

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