ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli reports that any Falcon trade for Deltha O’Neal is unlikely at this point, mainly due to the Bengals desire to keep the seven-year veteran. This contrasts previous reports that indicated that the deal might be close.
The Bengals plan to promote second-year cornerback Jonathan Joseph into Tory James’s vacant starting position, and want an experienced veteran to start opposite him. Although if a deal that ships O’Neal out of Cincinnati were to occur, the Bengals have a contingency plan of moving free safety Madieu Williams to his vacant position.
Ed Thompson of Scout.com reports that Texas defensive end Tim Crowder is scheduled to visit the Atlanta Falcons on April 3.
Crowder had an impressive Combine, with a 4.69 40-yard dash, did 32 bench reps of 225-pounds and had a 30.5-inch vertical leap. He was a four-year starter at Texas, playing on their National Title team in 2005. As a senior, he shined with career-highs 59 tackles, 10.5 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss. For his career, he has 47 starts, 191 tackles, 19 sacks, 40 tackles for loss, 76 quarterback pressures, 13 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and 8 forced fumbles. He is rated as the eighth best defensive end prospect by NFL Draft Countdown is often projected as a second or third round pick.
Thompson also reports that the Falcons have already held a private workout with Hampton linebacker Justin Durant. Durant has quickly moved up boards due to a strong showing at the Combine. Durant ran a 4.51 40, did 25 bench reps of 225-pounds, and had a 36-inch vertical leap, displaying his outstanding athleticism. He started 39 games at Hampton, mainly at middle linebacker, where he recorded 353 career tackles, 47 for loss, 10 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 16 pass breakups.
Many draft websites project Durant to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. NFL Draft Countdown.com rates him the fifth best prospect at that position.
Matt Miller of New Era Scouting reports that the potential trade between the Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals for cornerback Deltha O’Neal could happen soon. Miller reports that the likely compensation for the Bengals would be a third round pick.
Earlier this month, O’Neal pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless driving stemming from a drunken driving arrest in December. O’Neal pleaded not guilty to the drunk driving charge. For his guilty plea, O’Neal was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence, 3 years’ probation, was fined $250, and donated $1000 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. His driver’s license was also suspended for six months from the date of his arrest, but is allowed to drive to and from work.
Adam Schefter of NFL.com reports that LSU safety LaRon Landry will visit the Falcons at some point next week for a pre-draft visit. Landry is considered the consensus top safety in the draft.
Landry impressed scouts at the Combine by running a 4.35 40-yard dash and a 37.5-inch vertical leap. The 4-time All-SEC selection has extensive experience, with 47 starts over his career at free safety. For his career, he had 315 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 12 interceptions, 22 pass breakups, and 22 sacks. He is often compared to top NFL free safeties such as Brian Dawkins, Ed Reed, and Troy Polamalu. NFL Draft Countdown considers him the sixth best prospect in the entire draft class.
Landry has been the most popular pick for the Falcons in various mock drafts around the internet the past few months.
Falcons seem intent on upgrading the free safety position, disappointed with the play of incumbent Chris Crocker. Past reports have indicated that the Falcons are tinkering with the idea of demoting him to be the backup to Lawyer Milloy at strong safety, opening up the team’s need for a starting quality free safety.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC dicloses more details of Grady Jackson’s law suit against the Falcons and his future plans with the team.
Included in the suit are three team officials, including head physician Scott Gillogly, head athletic trainer Ron Medlin, and director of pro personnel Les Snead. According to the suit, Gillogly’s medical exam had unreliable results due to the fact that the equipment was not made for a player of his size. Gillogly then reported this to Medlin, who then reported to Snead, which then was reported to KFFL.com and The Sporting News, which then spread to other national media outlets.
It was reported that he failed his physical, which directly prevented his ability to garner a contract of fair market value until the Falcons were able to agree to a lesser three-year deal with him in August.
Jackson does however indicate that he would like to continue to play with the Atlanta Falcons.
Adam Schefter of NFL.com reports that the Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals have begun trade discussions for cornerback Deltha O’Neal.
O’Neal had a down year in 2006, partly limited by injury. He finished with 37 tackles and 1 interception, a significant decrease from his ’05 season in which he had 65 tackles and tied for the league lead with 10 interceptions.
This would mark the second time that O’Neal would be traded in his career. He was traded to the Bengals in 2004 from the Denver Broncos after four disappointing years there. Over his career, O’Neal has appeared in 100 games, recorded 309 tackles and 31 interceptions. He has also returned 2 punts and 1 kickoff for touchdowns.
The 30-year old cornerback is noted for his ballhawking skills and speed, two traits he would share in common with potential new teammate DeAngelo Hall.
The Falcons showed interest in Detroit Lions cornerback Dre’ Bly earlier in the off-season, but Bly was eventually traded to the Denver Broncos. Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino recently indicated that second-year player Jimmy Williams is slated as the starter opposite Hall as of today, but it’s clear from the team’s reported interest in O’Neal that they are not averse to more help.
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reports that Florida safety Reggie Nelson is scheduled to visit the Falcons. Nelson is often rated as the second-best safety prospect in this year’s draft behind LSU’s LaRon Landry.
Nelson at 6′ 198 pounds ran a 4.35 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in early March, solidifying himself as a probable first round pick. Nelson entered the draft as a junior, namely after a solid junior campaign in which he finished with 51 tackles and 6 interceptions. In two years at Florida after transferring from Coffeyville Community College, Nelson played both cornerback and free safety, combining for 97 tackles, 7 interceptions, and 2 blocked kicks. At his only year at Coffeyville, he had 85 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 5 blocked kicks.
Scout.com reports that Penn State linebacker Tim Shaw is another draft prospect that will visit the Falcons prior to the draft. Shaw’s visit is scheduled for April 10.
Shaw is a player that has seen his stock shoot up in the past few months, namely due to a solid workout at the Combine in February. There he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash and impressed with his vertical leap (36.5 inches) and bench press (26 reps). Reportedly, he clocked a 4.46 40 at his Pro Day last week.
The 6’2″ 236 linebacker is noted for his versatility as well as his athleticism. He played a different position each year at Penn State. He started at defensive end as a senior, recording 28 tackles 4 sacks, and 9 pressures. As a junior, he was the starting right outside linebacker, finishing the year with 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks. As a sophomore, he was a starter at middle linebacker, finishing with 51 tackles and an interception. As a freshman, he was a reserve running back, rushing for 59 yards on 14 carries (4.2 avg).
NFL Draft Scout.com rates him as the fifth best outside linebacker prospect in this year’s draft.
Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino told AJC writer Steve Wyche that Jimmy Williams is expected to be the starter at right cornerback and Chauncey Davis the starter at left defensive end at the start of training camp.
There has been notions that the Falcons may move Williams to free safety this summer, but Petrino seemingly erased them. Although Petrino did indicate that the team will address this position further, which could signal the release of incumbent Jason Webster later this off-season.
Davis has received a lot of playing time the past two years due to injuries to Brady Smith and Patrick Kerney. He is expected to replace Kerney in the starting lineup, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks this off-season. The Falcons are still likely to address this position in the draft, but at this point are unlikely to sign a veteran free agent.
Petrino also indicated that second-year tight end Daniel Fells would get an opportunity for increased playing time, particularly when the offense utilizes a H-back. That possibility could spell the end of Eric Beverly’s tenure as a Falcon.
Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson has filed suit against the Falcons according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC. The suit is related to allegations that the franchise released private medical information last spring. According to Jackson’s lawyer, the Falcons released personal health information in relation to possible heart issues, which constitutes an invasion of privacy and defamation.
Last spring, the Falcons attempted to sign Jackson, but reports said he had weighed 400 pounds and failed his physical. The Falcons would later sign Jackson in August, when his weight was down.
Ledbetter writes that is rare for a player to file suit against the team that he currently plays for. Team spokesman Reggie Roberts indicated that this is part of a ploy from Jackson and his agent to get a new contract.
The Falcons have been in recent talks with free agent defensive tackles and claimed Anthony Bryant off waivers earlier today. It is unknown how this potential suit will play out down the road and whether or not Jackson plans to play for the Falcons this year with the suit pending. Thus far, Jackson has been absent from the team’s off-season conditioning program.