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Williams out several months

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

AJC’s Steve Wyche reports that Falcons linebacker Demorrio Williams is expected to miss several months after receiving surgery for a torn pectoral muscle suffered last week while lifting weights. Williams could miss training camp and the preseason per Wyche’s report.

Williams just re-signed with the Falcons after being a restricted free agent on April 23. He is slated to be the starting weakside linebacker for the Falcons this year. Over the weekend, the Falcons drafted linebacker Stephen Nicholas in the fourth round. Originally slated to line up behind Michael Boley on the strongside, Nicholas will now begin his Falcon career on the weakside as a replacement for Williams.

The Falcons have some versatility, since Keith Brooking can also play weakside linebacker. Which would leave third-year linebacker Jordan Beck as the likely alternative as the starter at middle linebacker.

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Snelling is picked in seventh

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

With their final pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected Virginia running back Jason Snelling with the 244th overall pick in the seventh round.

Snelling (5’11″ 232) has good speed (4.56) and is considered a combo fullback and tailback. He played mostly the former at Virginia, but starred as the team’s tailback and lead rusher as a senior. He had 772 yards on 183 carries (4.2 avg) and 7 scores that season, as well as 29 catches for 282 yards (9.7 avg). In his two previous years as the starting fullback, he combined for 514 yards on 84 carries (6.1 avg) and 24 receptions. As a freshman, he also rushed 9 times for 38 yards (4.2 avg) and caught 31 passes for 4 touchdowns. For his career, he also recorded 16 tackles on special teams and recovered 4 fumbles. Snelling suffers from epilepsy and missed most of the 2003 season due to dizziness.

Snelling will likely get a chance to work as the Falcons short-yardage runner, and also may receive reps as a backup fullback behind Ovie Mughelli.

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2007 Draft Recap: Jamaal Anderson

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

Hog Wired

Jamaal Anderson

Height: 6-5
Weight: 288
College: Arkansas
Birthday: February 6, 1986
Hometown: Little Rock, AR AGILITY TESTS & MEASURABLES

40 Speed: 4.75
20 Yd: 2.73
10 Yd: 1.59
Bench: 22 reps
Vertical Jump: 34 inches
Broad Jump: 9’8″
Short Shuttle: 4.22
3 Cone Drill: 6.88
Arm Length: 33 5/8 inches
Hand sizez: 9 7/8 inches


NFL Draft Countdown
by Scott WrightStrengths: Has great size with a large frame and long arms…A smooth athlete with excellent agility…Strong and powerful…Terrific pass rusher who can be effective with either a bull-rush or finesse moves…Does a quality job versus the run…Motor runs non-stop…Very good in pursuit and has a burst to close…Is versatile and could play a number of different roles depending on the scheme he is in…Has a ton of upside.Weaknesses: Does not have a lot of starting experience…Timed speed and quickness are good but not great…Still pretty raw and will need some technique work…Will play too high and needs to display more consistent leverage…He will struggle to separate from blocks at times…You could run the risk that he is simply a one-year wonder.Notes: His father Glenn played college basketball at Gallaudet University…Had a terrific junior campaign in 2006 despite a lack of national recognition…Could easily fit in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme…Similar to Richard Seymour and could be a poor-man’s Mario Williams…Even though he’s not yet a finished product this guy has all the tools to develop into a premier all-around defensive end in the pros.

Grade: First Rounder


SI.com
by TFY Draft PreviewPOSITIVES: Athletic defensive end with tremendous upside. Keeps his pads low to the ground playing with terrific leverage and is rarely off his feet. Plays with terrific balance and body control, and easily beats immobile blockers. Fast off the edge.NEGATIVES: Lacks overall playing strength and is slow shedding blocks engaged at the point.ANALYSIS: Possessing size, growth and a lot of natural skill, Anderson is a terrific prospect with big upside. Can be used as a pass-rushing right end, but also has the abilities to grow into a two-gap lineman. Must physically mature.

PROJECTION: Early First Round

GRADE: 4.21 — Quality Prospect


NFL.com
by NFLDraftScout.comPositives: Has good arm length and reach, showing a tight abdomen and a frame that can carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness … Possesses that rare speed that lets him consistently explode past a lethargic offensive tackle … Demonstrates good knee bend and loose hips to redirect … When he stays low in his pads, he can generate leverage and keep his balance on the move … Changes direction well and has the lateral range to give a good chase in backside pursuit … Intelligent athlete who does well in school, having earned Honor Roll recognition at Arkansas … Has a natural feel for the game and is very good at jumping the play … Shows a nose for the ball, evident by the high amount of pressures he generates … Might lack brute strength, but he gets most of his pressures and sacks on second effort … Very good handling stunts because of his determination to make the play … Self-starter who doesn’t need structure in the training room … Learned the proper technique of opening his hips and dipping his shoulders to get a strong push in his initial thrust … Has the sudden initial step off the ball to beat the offensive tackle off the edge … Lacks the lower body thickness to split double teams, but possesses the change of direction flexibility to drop his weight and re-direct when the gaps are plugged … When he keeps his hands active, his long arm reach allows him to defeat the combo block and re-route in backside pursuit … Demonstrates the ability to dip his shoulder to reach, grab and jerk the blocker off his stance … Uses his body lean well to slip off the offensive tackle’s inside shoulder … Disruptive force in the Leonard Little (Rams) mold when he is utilized on stunts … Has the nimble feet and lateral range to flow to the ball with ease and can close in the short area with good explosion … Possesses the speed to chase down plays in backside pursuit and the change of direction agility to make plays outside the box … Has started to develop a better concept of gaining position, staying low in his pads and maintaining leverage in order to make the wrap-up tackle … When he drops his weight and plays with leverage, he can prevent the blockers from washing him out when working in-line … When he keeps his center of gravity low, it lets him get into the rush lane and push back the lead blocker to clog the holes … You can see on film that he has a good feel for blocking schemes … Might take wide angles at times, but he has the flexibility and balance to come back down under … Despite his lack of hand usage, he sees the field well and is quick to spot even the slightest of creases in order to shoot the gaps … His spin moves and quickness let him easily defeat the slower offensive tackles when working off the edge … Quick to find the ball in a crowd and is alert to offensive adjustments at the pre-snap … Can still be fooled a bit by play-action or misdirection, but he generally has a natural feel for the flow of the ball.Negatives: Can be sudden in his initial movement, but lacks the overall strength, especially in his lower body, to escape from the blocker once the opponent latches on to him … Shows a good flow to the ball working down the line and has made very good strides in improving his footwork, but will still take a wide angle to the quarterback at times … Is efficient at using his arms in defeating reach blocks, but must develop more consistency with his hand thrust to jolt offensive linemen coming out of their stance … When he tries to take a wide path into the backfield, it leaves him susceptible to screen and draw plays to his side … If he can improve his upper body power and shoot his hands more, he would be more effective at beating double teams … Relies on quickness more than brute strength to penetrate inside and plays with good leverage and strength, but they will be negated when he fails to use his arms to combat blocks … Needs to stay lower in his pads to get through trash, but when he gets too erect in his stance, blockers can get underneath him and attack his legs … Good collision tackler, but will sometimes revert to grabbing and making arm tackles … Will sometimes over-pursue on the play, as he prefers to slip and avoid blockers rather than attacking them when coming off the edge (more combative working in-line).Compares To: Aaron Schobel — Buffalo … It is evident that Anderson is a great speed rusher coming off the edge or when stunting. Like Schobel, he needs to demonstrate better hand usage to keep blockers off his body, but both have the lateral range, second gear and explosion to be a disruptive force in the backfield. While Anderson is taller and heavier that Schobel, both rely on their quickness for most of their success at getting to the quarterback.


The Huddle Report
by Drew BoylhartSTRENGTHS: Jamaal has the athletic talent, size, speed and strength to play his position. In fact, the skills that make the NFL drool with anticipation of a future dominating DE. He shows good strength to handle defending against the run along with a very good burst off the line to scare the bejesus out of any opposing QB. He has those long arms that he can use to knock down passes when he doesn’t get to the QB — and he is a good tackler. Jamaal could be the type of player that could make the players around him better. Jamaal could be a franchise DE for the team that drafts him.NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Jamaal is not a very consistent player and until this year, it was hard to find him on the field when he played. He has one pass-rushing move right now and that move is to out-quick his opponent off the snap. If he is up against a good OT, he does not continue to fight if he is stopped from getting into the backfield off the snap. Right now, Jamaal is just a much better athlete than the players he’s played against in college. He needs to improve in all phases of his game.OVERALL: There is no doubt that Jamaal is a player that is a first round player, but he has so much to learn that it’s shocking. He is a boom or bust pick with a buyer beware label right in the middle of his forehead. The draft is about drafting potential impact players and Jamaal is a potential impact player; however, I’m not convinced that he has the work ethic to go along with that potential. Here is the funny thing about Jamaal…I think that if you’re going to draft him, he should be drafted as high as possible because I think he will respond better to the pressure of being a very high pick in the draft more than if he is taken later in the 1st round. This is a kid that seems to have a lot of pride. I know this sounds crazy, but I believe that if Jamaal is taken in the top ten players of this draft, he will want to prove that he was worth it. After the top ten players are picked and Jamaal is not one of them, then I would not pick him until the second round. If he is selected in the 2nd round, you will hurt his pride and he play for you with a chip on his shoulder trying to prove everyone wrong for passing on him. Anything else and you run the risk of this kid getting depressed and not living up to anyone’s expectations because he will think that no one really expects that much out of him. Now, I know this will not happen, and trust me — I know this sounds crazy. It’s just that sometimes, to motivate kids to play beyond the million dollars that you are about to hand them, you need to understand what pushes their buttons. Jamaal has a long road ahead of him at the next level in spite of his immense talent. That road will require him to use mental strength that even he doesn’t know he has right now. That mental strength has to be tapped or this kid will fail big time. I think the way to do that is to tap into this kid’s pride. This kid is going to need a lot of positive, but at the same time, truthful, coaching. As a coach, if you try to blow smoke up this kid’s hindquarters, he will lose respect for you, shutdown and not become the player that his talent suggests he can become. I’m sorry, but this is what I see when this kid plays on the field. What can I say?! We have a player with enormous talent and a fragile psyche. Gee, I wonder if he’s the first one to ever have this combination? NOT!

TALENT BOARD ROUND: 1


On The Clock DraftJamaal Anderson has been starting at defensive end for the better part of the last two years at Arkansas. During that time he has proven to be a very durable player. He has a tremendous combination of size, strength, and athleticism for a defensive end. He has a quick first step, allowing him to beat most offensive lineman off the snap. He has the size and strength to overpower most opposing offensive tackles. He is an excellent edge pass rusher (13.5 sacks in 06) with good closing speed getting to the quarterback. He has the ability to chase the ballcarrier down from behind and he makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Jamaal has less than two years of starting experience and is still a bit raw. He relies on his physical abilities too often and will have to improve his technique to be as successful at the professional level. Jamaal is already one of the better defensive ends in the draft and is sure to be selected in the top half of the first round; however, with good workouts he could become the top defensive end prospect in the draft due to his tremendous upside. Jamaal Anderson would’ve benefited from staying in college for his senior season, but as it is, he has a great chance to be a top 10 pick in the 2007 NFL draft.


Football’s Future
by Robert DavisAnderson is a former wide receiver that made a smooth transition to defensive end. As a freshman reserve, he was in on 18 tackles. As a sophomore, he was in the rotation, and started the last five games of the year after an injury, and he has taken off from that point. He had 47 tackles, 10.5 for loss, and four sacks that season. Anderson blew up as a junior, finishing with 65 tackles, 19.5 for loss, and 13.5 sacks.Jamaal Anderson is an absolute freak physically. Not only is he an excellent athlete, with great quickness and agility, but he has great size as well. He is a difference maker off the edge as a pass rusher. He dominated as a junior, and still has a ton of untapped potential. He could be an all around force at the next level.Anderson is still adjusting to playing in the trenches, and is still a work in progress. He has been able to get by on his tremendous physical ability, but he will not be able to rely on that alone in the NFL. He declared after his junior year, only having about a season and a half of starting experience under his belt.

Anderson has the size and talent that will draw comparisons to Mario Williams and Julius Peppers, and he carries a great deal of upside at the next level. He had a solid showing in the post season, but probably not enough to overtake Gaines Adams as the top end in the draft. His upside is amazing, and he could make teams that do not select him regret it in the future.


About.com
by Conor DowleyPositives: Big and surprisingly athletic for his size, Anderson can dominate opposing tackles with his power and surprising burst off the edge. Anderson is big already, but has the frame to add even further bulk, enough to play end in a 3-4 or take an under-tackle role in a 4-3 defense. But he’s probably best suited for end with his style of play.Negatives: Anderson is very, very, very, raw. His technique is sloppy, and he frequently gets by on his unrefined ability and sheer strength. That does the job in college, but he’ll have a harder time of it in the pros. He has a ton of burst and acceleration, but he doesn’t have much speed to burst and accelerate to, which means he’ll have a hard time pursuing the run or chasing down a quarterback from behind.Overview: Anderson is a high-quality prospect, but with how raw he is, he has a high bust potential. He’ll still be a high pick on pure talent and his awesome potential (he could be the next Reggie White with the right coaching), but he should have stayed for his senior year. In the end, he’ll probably be a mid-first round pick, with a chance at cracking the top ten.


Draft Ace
by Ryan McCrystalStrengths: Great size. Solidly built. Great athlete for a defensive end. Decent speed. A complete defensive lineman that is solid as a pass rusher and against the run.Weaknesses: Fundamentals and technique are a little shaky. Only has one full year of starting experience.Comments: Anderson entered the draft after an excellent junior year, but his lack of experience could hurt his draft stock. He doesn’t look like the type of player that can come in and have a huge rookie year, however it is easy to see why he is so high on many draft boards by watching some of his game film where he simply overpowers offensive tackles and shows some nice moves to get into the backfield.


Draft Board Insider
by Curtis PopejoyPOSITIVES: This kid is a brute. He’s tall, has long arms, and carries a ton of weight as solid muscle. Some folks have compared him to Richard Seymour, but for me, he’s like an overgrown Shawne Merriman. Anderson really showed dominance, not only as a pass rusher, but a run stopper as well. He is relentless in pursuit, and has great explosion off the corner. It’s always fun to see a man as big as Anderson move like he does. He’s got a nice array of moves coming off the edge, but for the most part, he’s simply bigger, stronger and faster than anyone lined up against him.NEGATIVES: Anderson is relatively inexperienced, and coming out as a junior after a breakout season will make some folks wonder if he can maintain that level of play. He doesn’t have elite speed but it’s more than adequate. Anderson doesn’t always play with great leverage, but that is more than likely a product of just inexperience.FINAL WORD: Anderson is the best defensive prospect in the draft and has easily supplanted Gaines Adams as the best rush end in this draft. I know, I know; He’s raw, he’s not polished, but in a league that covets players like Anderson, he’s a gem. He’s got amazing size and moves like a man 30 pounds lighter. It will be interesting to see how he runs at the combine and what he weighs, because if he comes in a little lighter, like many suspect he will, and runs really well, he could end up more Shawne Merriman than Richard Seymour.


Consensus Draft ServicesOverview: Jamaal Anderson is a big DE who is surprisingly athletic for his size. He arrived at Arkansas as a tall, lanky WR prospect. He stepped into a starting role at DE halfway through his sophomore year after an injury to Anthony Brown and really produced. His senior year exceeded everyone’s best expectations and he has garnered the attention of the NFL as a result.Strengths: He has the size to add some bulk and strength to be a 5-tech DE. With a good amount of effort in an NFL weight room, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him excel at the 3-tech in a 4-3 alignment too. Playing the 4-3 end as a senior, he showed a real nose for the big play, racking up nearly 20 tackles behind the LOS, including 13.5 sacks. He gets off the snap quickly and has the speed to get past the blocker before he has a chance to set up. He’s able to get to the QB by flashing inside the OT, or by dipping a shoulder and rushing wide. Anderson has a high ceiling as he continues to learn how to play the position and grow into his frame.Weaknesses: Inexperience. Anderson only has 19 career starts at DE. As a result, he is still learning technique. He often gets too high in his stance and can be washed out of the play too easily. He still needs to show more strength at the point of attack as he isn’t the dominant run stopper that a man his size should be. If the blocker is able to engage him, Anderson struggles to disengage. He doesn’t hand-fight particularly well and will give up on a play if he’s unable to get an immediate advantage on the offensive lineman. As a pass-rusher, he tends to get too far upfield and too wide at times, which opens big holes for the running game. He’ll need to become more disciplined at the next level.

Projection: Anderson wowed everyone with his stellar senior season. His production in the tough SEC (especially considering his best games were against the best competition) combined with outstanding physical potential, could have Anderson looking at a first round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft.


Northwest ScoutingAthletic, NFL sized pass rusher in the mold of Julius Peppers. Plays with a good motor and is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. Has a very solid arsenal of pass rush moves and can get after the Quarterback with power and speed. Can redirect inside. Uses his long arms and hands well to shed blockers and swat down passes. Possesses good range… but doesn’t change direction quickly and lacks good lateral mobility. Gets in the backfield and disrupts running plays. Appears to possess good instincts and is always around the ball. Good wrap up tackler. Plays with solid strength and leverage at point of attack… but could use some work versus the run. Can be quick, but is not very explosive off the ball. Will disappear from time to time and appears to pick his spots. Has the frame for an additional 15-20 lbs. Anderson will likely get drafted a little higher than he deserves. The potential is there, but… Anderson is NOT a top 10 player. 4-3 Base End and possibly 3-4 Defensive End… in time. Mid/late first round prospect. Could get taken as high as #6 to Washington, but that is unlikely. San Francisco at #11 is a possibility. St. Louis at #13 seems about right. Would never get past Denver at #21. Similar to: Julius Peppers.

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Falcons get Stone

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

With their final pick in the sixth round, the Falcons chose Maine safety Daren Stone.

Stone (6’3″ 218) has good speed, having run a 4.47 40 at his pro day and has impressive athleticism with a 41-inch vertical. Stone played multiple positions while at Maine, including free safety and cornerback. But most of his playing time came at strong safety, where he was most productive. As a two-year starter at that position, he combined for 127 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 8 pass breakups. He also had 4 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and two touchdowns in those season.

Stone is known for his hitting ability, and should help add another understudy for Lawyer Milloy at strong safety.

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Falcons pick Datish

April 29th, 2007 1 comment

With the third of their four sixth round picks, the Falcons took Ohio State center Doug Datish.

Datish (6’4″ 302) at one point in time this off-season was considered one of the premier centers in the draft. He was a versatile blocker at Ohio State, starting at least one game at every offensive line position except right tackle while with the Buckeyes. This past season, he was a center, taking over for 2006 first round pick Nick Mangold. He allowed no sacks and quarterback pressures and earn All-Big Ten honors. As a junior, he was the starting left tackle, after having played both left and right guard the previous two seasons.

Datish has the potential to play multiple positions with the Falcons, but most likely will be considered a reserve at both guard and center.

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2007 Draft Tracker

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

Tracking the picks of the Atlanta Falcons 2007 NFL Draft.

Round Pick Overall Notes Player Pos. School
1 8 8 from HOU Jamaal Anderson DE Arkansas
2 7 39 from HOU Justin Blalock OG Texas
2 9 41 from MIN Chris Houston CB Arkansas
3 11 75 Laurent Robinson WR Illinois St.
4 10 109 Stephen Nicholas OLB South Florida
4 34 133 compensatory Martrez Milner TE Georgia
6 11 185 Trey Lewis DT Washburn
6 20 194 from JAC David Irons CB Auburn
6 24 198 from DEN thru JAC Doug Datish OC Ohio State
6 29 203 from BAL thru JAC Daren Stone SS Maine
7 34 244 compensatory Jason Snelling RB Virginia
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Falcons get Irons

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

The Falcons acquired three additional sixth round picks from the Jacksonville Jaguars by trading them their lone fifth round selection. With the first of these three acquired picks, they chose Auburn cornerback David Irons.

Irons (5’10″ 190) has good speed (4.44) and was a productive two-year starter for the Auburn Tigers. He tallied 90 tackles, 23 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions over that span after transferring from Butler County JC.

He’ll have a chance to compete on special teams and bolster the nickel cornerback position on the Falcons.

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Falcons bulk up with Lewis

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

The Falcons drafted Division II standout defensive tackle Trey Lewis out of Washburn with the first of four sixth round draft choices.

Lewis (6’3″ 318) ran a 5.14 40 at his pro day and benched 225 pounds 21 times. He earned Division II All-American honors as a senior, with 62 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. For his career, he started 34 games, tallying 156 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 blocked kicks.

Lewis hopefully will add bulk and size to the middle of the Falcons defensive line, as they are potentially searching for replacements for Grady Jackson at nose tackle.

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Falcons pick TE Milner in fourth

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

With their second selection in the fourth round, the Falcons drafted Georgia tight end Martrez Milner. Milner is a local product out of Gainesville, Georgia.

Milner (6’4″ 252) is a developmental tight end, noted for his athleticism. He ran a 4.79 40, had a vertical leap of 34 inches, and benched 225 pounds 19 times.

He emerged from the shadow of Leonard Pope this past year, catching 30 passes for 425 yards (14.2 avg) and 3 touchdowns. He continues a steady tradition of Georgia Bulldog tight ends, starting with Randy McMichael and continuing with Ben Watson and Pope.

Milner has a chance to supplant either Eric Beverly or Dwayne Blakley as the primary backup to Alge Crumpler this summer.

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Nicholas drafted in Round 4

April 29th, 2007 Comments off

The Falcons used the 109th overall pick in the fourth round on South Florida outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas.

Nicholas (6’1″ 232) is noted for his pass rushing skills, having tallied a total of 20 sacks during his time at South Florida. This past season he had 102 tackles and 7.5 sacks. He showed good speed, running a 4.64 40-yard dash at his pro day. He also possesses good strength, lifting 225 pounds 29 times at the Combine. Against, Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino’s former team Louisville, Nicholas had 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup in that game.

Nicholas is likely to be considered a backup outside linebacker, pushing free agent newcomer Marcus Wilkins at either spot. He played mostly on strong side at South Florida, which likely will translate to the pros.

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