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Archive for April, 2008

Falcons add another undrafted safety

April 30th, 2008 Comments off

According to the Anniston Star, the Falcons haven’t finished adding undrafted free agents. The Star reports that Auburn safety Eric Brock has been signed by the team. The 6′ 208-pounder was a three-year starter at Auburn at strong safety. He finished his career with 149 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 13 pass breakups.

TheFalcons have really attempted to beef up their secondary the past few days. They drafted three defensive backs on the second day of the draft on Sunday, claimed another safety off waivers on Tuesday, and Brock is the fourth defensive back to sign as an undrafted free agent.

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Xanders gets job in Denver

April 30th, 2008 Comments off

Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the Denver Broncos have hired Brian Xanders as an assistant GM. Xanders has been a long-time front office employee and assistant coach with the Falcons, joining the team 14 years ago. According to Klis, the Falcons attempted to entice Xanders to stay, but he opted to leave for Denver where he is expected to have an expansion of his duties that he performs in Atlanta. The past few seasons with the Falcons Xanders has functioned as the team’s salary cap manager and chief contract negotiator.

The Falcons are in the process of interviewing candidates to add to their own front office. It’s unknown if any of these prospective hires will take over some or all of Xanders’s former duties, or if the team will promote from within.

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2008 Free Agent Tracker

April 30th, 2008 Comments off

Just like a year ago, this is where you can stay up to date as we monitor which free agents go in and out of Atlanta.

Coming

Apr. 29 – S Nick Turnbull, Bengals
Apr. 29 – WR Chandler Williams, Dolphins
Mar. 21 – K Jason Elam, Broncos (4 yrs.)
Mar. 14 – TE Jason Rader, Patriots
Mar. 10 – C Alex Stepanovich, Bengals (2 yrs.)
Mar. 7 – DT Rashad Moore, Patriots (1 yr.)
Mar. 7 – DE Simon Fraser, Browns (2 yrs.)
Mar. 6 – DT Kindal Moorehead, Panthers (2 yrs.)
Mar. 2 – TE Ben Hartsock, Titans (4 yrs.)
Mar. 2 – RB Michael Turner, Chargers (6 yrs.)
Mar. 1 – S Erik Coleman, Jets (4 yrs.)
Mar. 1 – CB Von Hutchins, Texans (4 yrs.)

Going

Apr. 7 – S Omare Lowe (UFA/signed with Seahawks)
Mar. 29 – S Chris Crocker (UFA/signed with Dolphins)
Mar. 20 – CB DeAngelo Hall (traded to Raiders)
Mar. 18 – TE Dwayne Blakley (UFA/signed with Titans)
Mar. 10 – TE Courtney Anderson (UFA/signed with Bills)
Mar. 3 – RB Warrick Dunn (released/signed with Bucs)
Mar. 1 – LB Demorrio Williams (UFA/signed with Chiefs)
Feb. 19 – DT Rod Coleman (released)
Feb. 19 – TE Alge Crumpler (released/signed with Titans)
Feb. 19 – WR Jamin Elliott (released)
Feb. 19 – OT Wayne Gandy (released)
Feb. 19 – QB Byron Leftwich (released)
Feb. 19 – CB Lewis Sanders (released/signed with Patriots)
Feb. 19 – LB Marcus Wilkins (released)

Staying

Apr. 18 – FB Corey McIntyre (1 yr.)
Apr. 14 – P Michael Koenen (1 yr.)
Apr. 14 – DE Chauncey Davis (1 yr.)
Apr. 9 – LB Michael Boley (1 yr.)
Mar. 24 – DT Montavious Stanley (1 yr.)
Mar. 19 – OT Tyson Clabo (1 yr.)
Mar. 11 – QB Joey Harrington (1 yr., released on Mar. 5 then re-signed)
Mar. 10 – DT Tim Anderson (1 yr.)
Feb. 29 – QB Chris Redman (2 yrs.)

Scheduled Visits

Mar. 19 – K Jason Elam, Broncos
Mar. 7 – C Alex Stepanovich, Bengals
Mar. 6 – DT Kindal Moorehead, Panthers
Feb. 29 – RB Michael Turner, Chargers
Feb. 29 – TE Ben Hartsock, Titans
Feb. 29 – CB Von Hutchins, Texans
Feb. 29 – S Erik Coleman, Jets

Rumored Interest

QB J.P. Losman, Bills (source: Draft Daddy)
*QB Billy Volek, Chargers (source: Draft Daddy/re-signed with Chargers)
RB Mike Bell, Broncos (source: Denver Post)
TE Jermaine Wiggins, ex-Jaguars (source: Star Tribune)
*OT Flozell Adams, Cowboys (source: Draft Daddy/re-signed with Cowboys)
*OT Stacy Andrews, Bengals (source: FOX Sports)
*OT Maurice Williams, Jaguars (source: Times-Union/re-signed with Jaguars)
*DE Corey Smith, Lions (source: JS Online/re-signed with Lions)
*DT Marcus Stroud, Jaguars (source: FOX Sports/traded to Bills)
*LB Kevin Bentley, Seahawks (source: Scout.com/signed with Texans)
*LB Derrick Pope, Dolphins (source: Scout.com/signed with Vikings)
*CB Randall Gay, Patriots (source: Yahoo!/signed with Saints)
*CB William James, Eagles (source: ESPN/signed with Bills)
*S Madieu Williams, Bengals (source: AJC/signed with Vikings)
*S Gibril Wilson, Giants (source: SF Chronicle/signed with Raiders)
*K Josh Brown, Seahawks (source: ESPN/signed with Rams)

* indicates player signed a contract with another team

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Xanders a candidate in Denver

April 29th, 2008 Comments off

The Denver Post reports that Falcons director of football administration Brian Xanders is a candidate for an upper-level personnel position in the Denver Broncos front office. Earlier this off-season, the Broncos fired GM Ted Sundquist. Xanders is a candidate to fill some of the duties in Sundquist’s absence. Xanders is expected to form a sort of “triumvirate” in the Broncos front office along with current execs Jim and Jeff Goodman.

Previously, Xanders was considered for an open position with the Green Bay Packers. Xanders primary responsibilities with the Falcons are as chief contract negotiator and salary cap management. It’s likely he’d have a similar role in Denver.

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Falcons to interview front office candidates

April 28th, 2008 Comments off

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe reports that the Falcons are looking to beef up their personnel department by adding someone into an upper-level position. Reiss reports that Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is set to interview two current members of the Baltimore Ravens personnel department: Vincent Newsome and Lionel Vital. Vital worked with Dimitroff in New England.

Newsome currently is the Raven Asst. Director of Pro Personnel, a position he’s held since 2003. Prior to that he spent seven years as a scout within the organization. He spent three years as a scout with the Cleveland Browns prior to their move to Baltimore in 1996. He is a former NFL safety, playing for the St. Louis Rams (1983-90) and Cleveland Browns (1991-92). He had 16 interceptions in 141 career games.

Vital, the Ravens national scout, has been in the Ravens organization since 2005. Prior to that he spent four years with the New England Patriots as assistant director of college scouting, working very closely with Dimitroff. In 2000, he was a scout for the Patriots. Prior to that he spent time as a scout with the New York Jets (1997-99), Ravens (1996), Cleveland Browns (1991-95), and Montreal Machine (1990-91) of the Canadian Football League. He played 3 games with the Washington Redskins in 1987 where he had 346 yards and 2 touchdowns.

ProFootballTalk also reports that Dimitroff will also interview Indianapolis Colts scout Dave Caldwell. According to the Colts website, Caldwell is listed as the team’s Western Regional Scout.

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Falcons sign seven undrafted free agents

April 28th, 2008 Comments off

This is a compilation of several entries…

The Falcons announced the signing of seven undrafted free agents today, including the five players previously mentioned as being added along with two more. Those two additional free agents were offensive tackle Mike Butterworth (Slippery Rock) and safety D.J. Wolfe (Oklahoma).

The Falcons showed interest in Butterworth before by attending Slippery Rock’s pro day in March.

Wolfe earned second team all Big12 honors this past year, finishing the year with 87 tackles and 4 interceptions. This past season was his first at the safety position after spending two previous years at cornerback.

Bloomsburg University reports that running back Jamar Brittingham has signed a free agent contract with the Falcons. Brittingham is Bloomsburg’s all-time leading rusher and scorer with 5,689 yards and 516 points scored. He was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, given to Division II’s top player. This past season he had 1,435 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.

The Miami Herald reports that Miami cornerback Glenn Sharpe has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Falcons. The 6′ 185-pound cornerback had issues with injuries during his college career, suffering knee injuries that caused him to miss the 2004 and 2005 seasons. His best season came in 2006 as a junior, where he had 44 tackles and 2 interceptions, and led the Hurricanes with 14 pass deflections.

KFFL.com cites Josh Buchanan of NFL Draft Bible.com that the Falcons have signed Georgia defensive end/linebacker Brandon Miller. At 6’2″ 252, Miller finished this past season with 35 tackles.

KFFL.com also cites agent Paul Sheehy of ProStar Sports Agency that they have added punter Jimmie Kaylor of Colorado State. The 6’3″ 198-pound punter was on the Ray Guy Award watch list his senior year, averaging 43.2 yards on 52 punts, with 19 placed inside the 20-yard line.

MLive.com reports that Central Michigan linebacker Ike Brown has signed with the Falcons. Brown is listed at 5’11″ 203 pounds, played running back, safety, and linebacker during his career with the Chippewas. He had 106 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks this past season.

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Feeling good about the ’08 draft class

April 28th, 2008 1 comment

Let me start out by saying I don’t love this draft. But i do like it. I do think this is a nice start for the Dimitroff and Smith era.

I really like the Matt Ryan pick. I’ve been firmly on the Matt Ryan bandwagon since the BC-Georgia Tech game this past season. I think we got a really solid quarterback that is going to be a leader for this team. The way I’d describe Ryan is Carson Palmer in Matt Schaub’s body.

I know most Falcon fans wanted Glenn Dorsey, and frankly I would agree with anyone that says that Dorsey is the better player. But I don’t think the difference is as pronounced as some Falcon fans think. Dorsey is the “safe” pick, but I don’t think he’s any more of a slam dunk that Ryan is.

I like Sam Baker as well. I wasn’t psyched that we gave up our two second round picks to get him, but I understand it was probably a necessary evil since it was likely we were about to miss out on the quality offensive tackles had we stayed pat at No. 34 overall. And while I think Baker will be slated to man the left tackle position, I’m not sure that’s where he’ll be playing four or five years from now. I have much higher prospects for his NFL career on the inside, but I’m optimistic about him. He’s a tough, hard-working guy that I’m not exactly going to bet against.

Curtis Lofton is a solid interior player. I liked Dan Connor a lot more, but Lofton is not a bad “settlement.” Lofton is a tough, mean interior player, something the Falcons have lacked since the heyday of Jessie Tuggle. I think he’ll be a starter for us by 2009 at the latest, and should be a solid force for years to come.

I like all three of our third round selections. Chevis Jackson I think will eventually emerge as a starter in Mike Smith’s defense. He’s a smart, steady zone corner that I would not be surprised if he surpasses both Chris Houston and Von Hutchins in the near future. But for now he gives us a solid nickel corner.

I really like the Harry Douglas pick. He’s a solid slot receiver. Cris Carter on ESPN was comparing him to Wes Welker, and I think he can be that sort of player for us. He was the security blanket of Brian Brohm at Louisville, and I think will be the same for Ryan in years to come. I know most thought we were solid at wide receiver, and that would be true for 2008, but beyond this year, we aren’t. It remains to be seen if Laurent Robinson is truly starting material. Joe Horn, Brian Finneran, and Michael Jenkins, unless any can have a breakout year close to the level that Roddy White had last season probably won’t be back in 2009, which would potentially leave the Falcons thin at wide receiver. With Douglas, Robinson, and White, now we are set at the position.

Thomas DeCoud is another solid player. A good run-stopping free safety that I think will surpass Erik Coleman within a few seasons, particularly if he can make improvements in coverage. I also like this pick because it may mean that if Jimmy Williams remains a Falcon, he’ll move to his more natural spot of strong safety, which I think increases the odds we finally get some value out of J-Will.

Our two fifth round picks didn’t wow me, but I think we improved our special teams with Robert James and Kroy Biermann. And you never know, James might surpass Stephen Nicholas within a few years and be a starter. And Biermann might be a valuable asset as a situational pass rusher.

In the sixth, we got Thomas Brown. From what little I saw of Brown last year, he was a solid running back. He gives us some insurance as a complementary runner to Turner in case Norwood’s durability does not improve.

Fontenot and Zinger I think will be hard-pressed to make the roster this year, but could potentailly provide good depth. Fontenot seems like insurance in case Irons doesn’t progress as much as hoped in the No. 4 role this year. And we already have several blocking tight ends already on the roster, but since only Hartsock is guaranteed a job, the rest of the depth chart is pretty wide open.

It would not surprise me that if four or five years from now, this draft yielded six starters with our top six picks. I’ll be a bit more modest and predict four starters and two valuable role players, and the chance that at least one of our final five picks emerges as a solid role player as well.

But we all know that five years from now, this draft will be graded solely on Matt Ryan’s success with this team. If Ryan turns into the player that Dimitroff (and myself) think he’s capable, it won’t matter if the other ten guys wash out, not many people are going to notice. And while I don’t think this draft alone is going to provide Ryan will the necessary weapons and talent around him to succeed in Atlanta, I do think this draft puts us well on our way.

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Falcons round up draft with Zinger

April 27th, 2008 Comments off

With the Falcons final pick in the draft, the Falcons attempted to improve depth at tight end by taking LSU’s Keith Zinger, who performed as a blocker mostly for the Tigers. He’ll help alleviate the loss of Alge Crumpler and Dwayne Blakley in free agency this past year.

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Falcons find Fontenot

April 27th, 2008 Comments off

The Falcons were able to continue to try and shore up their secondary by selecting cornerback Wilrey Fontenot out of a Arizona with the first of two seventh round picks. Fontenot is undersized cornerback, but productive with 40 tackles, 1 interception, and 7 pass breakups this past season.

The Falcons already selected LSU’s Chevis Jackson earlier on Sunday, and together they will likely be asked to shore up depth immediately behind starters Chris Houston and Von Hutchins with the hope of possibly competing for more playing time down the road.

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Falcon choose Thomas Brown

April 27th, 2008 Comments off

The Falcons shore up some running back depth with Thomas Brown with their sixth round selection. Brown, out of the University of Georgia, has battled injuries in his career, but was a productive player for the Bulldogs. He finished his career with 2,646 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He’ll get a chance to compete with Jason Snelling for a reserve running back position this summer.

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