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Archive for April, 2012

Falcons add beef in the trenches

April 28th, 2012 Comments off

Two of the more memorable moments of the Falcons 2011 season were their futile attempts in short-yardage during their Week 10 overtime loss against the New Orleans Saints and against the New York Giants in the opening round of the playoffs. Well it appears the Falcons have taken steps in the 2012 draft to correct those issues, by using their two picks on the second day of the draft on a pair of beefy offensive linemen. Wisconsin center Peter Konz was the Falcons second round pick (55th overall) and Southern Miss tackle Lamar Holmes was taken in the third (91st overall).

For more than a decade, center Todd McClure has been a fixture as the anchor of the Falcons offensive line. McClure, undersized by NFL standards at 6’1? 296 pounds, could potentially give way to the 6’5? 314-pound Konz in the future. Holmes standing at 6’5? 323, also is considerably larger than either of the men he could potentially replace in the future at left tackle: Sam Baker (6’5? 301) and Will Svitek (6’6? 308). Earlier this off-season, the team also signed free agent guard Vince Manuwai, who sports a 6’2″ 333-pound frame, the bulkiest on the team.

Konz is expected to immediately compete with Manuwai for the vacant right guard spot. Both McClure and Manuwai’s contract expire after the season, and it’s possible Konz could kick inside to center. Or he could potentially remain at right guard if Joe Hawley continues to improve. Holmes should be in the potential three-way competition at left tackle, but likely will be expected to fill in as the team’s swing tackle. With Tyson Clabo entrenched on the right side, that could mean that Baker and Svitek could be competing for a single roster spot this summer.

If the Falcons don’t manage to get push this upcoming season, it won’t be because they lack the beef to do so. It appears that the Falcons are planning on recommitting themselves to running the football this year, and in the future. But the added bodies via the draft, certainly will shake up competition and presumably at this point in time only McClure, Justin Blalock, and Clabo are assured roster spots among the incumbents. The rest of the lineup could be in a state of flux.

Falcons take Holmes in the third

April 27th, 2012 Comments off
US PRESSWIRE

Lamar Holmes

After trading back from the 84th overall pick, the Falcons take Southern Miss offensive tackle Lamar Holmes with the 91st overall pick. Holmes spent two years at Southern Miss after transferring from Itawamba Community College. As a junior, he started six games at left tackle. He started all 14 games on the left side as a senior, where he served as a team captain.

Holmes has the prototypical size and frame of an NFL left tackle, standing 6’5″ 323 pounds with 35-inch arms. He is widely considered a project on the outside, and likely the Falcons will look to groom him as a potential replacement and insuracy policy on the left side in case players like Sam Baker and Will Svitek don’t step up this season. Click here to read a scouting report of Holmes from SI.com.

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Falcons move back in Round 3

April 27th, 2012 Comments off

The Falcons made a trade with the Baltimore Ravens to move back seven spots in the third round. The Falcons swapped the 84th overall pick for the Ravens’ 91st overall pick, and picked up Baltimore’s 5th round (164th overall) in exchange.

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Falcons take Konz in Round 2

April 27th, 2012 Comments off

US PRESSWIRE

OC Peter Konz

The Falcons used their top selection in the 2012 NFL Draft on Wisconsin center Peter Konz. Konz was one of the top-ranked centers and came out after his junior year.He was known as the anchor for one of the most physical and lauded offensive lines in the nation.

Konz was a three-year starter for Wisconsin. Injuries have limited Konz in each of the past three years, missing a total of seven games over that span. He missed five games over the past two years due to ankle injuries. And he missed two games as a redshirt freshman with blood clots in this lungs. But he still managed to start a total of 31 games over three seasons with the Badgers.

Konz likely will surpass Joe Hawley as the heir apparent to Todd McClure in the middle, but also could potentially play some guard until that time comes. He was widely considered the top-rated center in this year’s draft class.

Click here to read a scouting report of Konz.

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2012 Mock Muncher (Final Update)

April 26th, 2012 Comments off
ICON SMI

TE Dwayne Allen

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)

Categories: Draft Central Tags: ,

Falcons deal 7th rounder for Samuel

April 25th, 2012 Comments off

US PRESSWIRE

Asante Samuel picks off Ryan

Albert Breer of NFL.com reports that the Falcons have agreed to a three-year $18.5 million contract with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, and subsequently agreed to send a sixth round pick to the Eagles in exchange for him. UPDATE: D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC tweets that the Falcons in fact gave up a seventh round pick, not their sixth round pick. The Eagles receive the 229nd overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Samuel had two years left on his contract with the Eagles in which he would have been paid $21.5 million, but in order to make the trade happen with the Falcons, restructured to reduce that figure to $18.5 million, and add a third year to make him signed through 2014 with Atlanta. Samuel is widely viewed as one of the top corners in the NFL, leading the league over the past six seasons with 39 combined interceptions. In 14 games with the Eagles in 2011, he had 3 interceptions and 10 pass breakups, his lowest totals for each since 2004. In 2003, Samuel was a fourth round pick of the New England Patriots. He played five seasons with the Patriots before signing a six-year, $56 million deal with the Eagles prior to the 2008 season. Samuel is a four-time Pro Bowler, making the squad for four consecutive years (2007-10) and led the league in interceptions in 2006 and 2009.

This trade now leaves the Falcons with only five picks for this upcoming draft. The team already dealt their first and fourth round picks as part of last year’s Julio Jones trade, leaving them with only four of their original 2012 draft picks. They also received a compensatory seventh round choice a month ago.

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Grimes signs tender while Falcons talk trade

April 24th, 2012 Comments off

The team announced today that cornerback Brent Grimes signed his one-year franchise tender today. Grimes will now have the $10.281 million salary he is slated to receive this year fully guaranteed as a result.

Grimes is coming off two rock-solid seasons, including a Pro Bowl appearance following 2010. He was plagued by a knee injury late this past season, causing him to miss 4 games. The team placed the franchise tag on Grimes just prior to the start of free agency in March when long-term contract talks broke down.

The news of Grimes signing the tender is interesting given that news broke this morning per FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer that the Falcons had entered trade talks with the Philadelphia Eagles over cornerback Asante Samuel. Samuel, who turned 31 in January, is expected to be dealt prior to this Thursday’s draft according to reports. The Eagles made big acquisitions for cornerbacks last summer in acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and rumors have been rampant ever since that Samuel was on his way out. Samuel is due $21.5 million over the next two seasons he is under contract, but it is likely a deal for him won’t be struck until he reduces that number. Samuel is still widely considered one of the top corners in the league. He has collected 19 interceptions in the past three seasons, and 39 in the past six seasons, both being the highest in the league in their respective spans. He has a career total of 45 of nine seasons, the last four with the Eagles after five with the New England Patriots where he collected two Super Bowl rings.

How Grimes re-signing impacts any potential trade discussions is unknown. It’s possible their negotiations with the Eagles was meant to be leverage to get Grimes to sign on the dotted line, and now potential trade discussions are dead. Or it’s possible that a Samuel trade is still on the table.

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2012 Falcons Free Agent Tracker

April 24th, 2012 Comments off

Here we will keep track of all the Falcons activity, interest, the comings, and goings that come with free agency for the Atlanta Falcons. You can view an updated list of all of the Falcons free agents by clicking here.

Read more…

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Franklin visited Falcons on Monday

April 24th, 2012 Comments off

NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reports that New Orleans Saints free agent defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin visited with the Falcons on Monday. Franklin played under current Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in two previous stops in Baltimore and San Francisco before joining the Saints a year ago.

Franklin was originally a fifth round pick by the Ravens in 2003, during which Nolan served as that team’s defensive coordinator. Nolan would move on to become the head coach of the 49ers in 2005, where Franklin joined him in 2007. It was Franklin’s first starting opportunity after working as primarily a backup in Baltimore. He helped make Patrick Willis one of the better inside linebackers in the league during Franklin’s time in San Francisco. Nolan was fired after the 2008 season, and Franklin left the 49ers after 2010 to join the Saints a year ago. It was his first chance to play in a 4-3 scheme, after spending eight years primarily in the 3-4 in both Baltimore and San Francisco. Franklin responded with 17 tackles, while starting 9 of 16 games. It was his lowest tackle total since his final year in Baltimore in 2006, where he was a backup.

The Falcons could use the 317-pound former nose tackle to help shore up the run defense, as they plan to incorporate some 3-4 principles in their 4-3 defense.

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FalcFans.com Live Draft Podcast

April 24th, 2012 Comments off

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.