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Falcons Check Out Robinson at Auburn Pro Day

March 4th, 2014 2 comments

Reports surfaced this morning that the Atlanta Falcons had sent representatives to Auburn University for that school’s pro day today. Most likely they were on hand to see Auburn’s bevy of draft prospects including Greg Robinson, widely considered this year’s most talented offensive tackle.

But it was outside linebacker Dee Ford who stole the show, working out for the first time due to sitting out at last month’s Combine in Indianapolis because of a back injury. Ford showed no ill effects, impressing with a 40-yard dash time of 4.54 seconds, 29 bench reps of 225 pounds, a broad jump of 10 feet, 4 inches and vertical jump of 35.5 inches. He also weighed in at 244 pounds, eight pounds lighter than his weight at Indianapolis.

Robinson also dropped weight since the Combine, down five pounds at 327 pounds. He mostly stood on his Combine numbers, as he wowed observers in Indianapolis with a 4.92-second 40 time, 9 foot-5 inch broad jump and 32 bench reps. Robinson is already beginning to line up private workouts with one scheduled with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers later this week.

Other notes from workouts on Tuesday for Auburn were:

  • Defensive back Blake Poole was timed a 4.38 seconds in his 40-yard dash.
  • Fullback Jay Prosch ran a 4.72-second 40 and did 27 bench reps.
  • Cornerback Chris Davis ran a 40 in 4.51 seconds and jumped 40.5 inches on his vertical.
  • Running back Tre Mason stood on most of his Combine results but did run a 6.7-second three-cone.
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Takeaways from Last Week – April 22

April 22nd, 2013 Comments off

Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE

Dion Jordan

Last week, I promised that I would go over the Falcons Day 3 draft plans. But of course news and rumors picked up steam that the Falcons were planning on moving up via trade in the draft. I do think the two issues are somewhat related, which I will delve into later. But for now, let’s talk about the Falcons potential third day draft possibilities.

The meat of the Falcons draft lies on the third day of the draft, where rounds four through seven will be selected. The Falcons hold eight of their eleven total picks during this stretch of the draft. The third day of the draft is typically where teams try to build their depth. A few players will emerge as starters, but they are few and far between.

Using previously discussed draft grades, only 14 of the 153 players selected in the final four rounds in 2008 earned C grades or higher (i.e. became solid starters after five seasons). That number is 22 out of 156 players from the 2007 class. In 2008, five of those 14 starters were fourth rounders, while that number was 12 in 2007.

Because the Falcons draft for need, they are going to lean towards targeting players that have a high probability of making the roster. Basically operating under a simple principle that there’s no way you can help the team if you don’t make it. So to determine what areas and positions the Falcons might target on the third day of the draft, you have to take a closer look at the team’s current roster. Here’s a quick breakdown position by position, with the number in parentheses indicating the current number of players at the position that have a strong probability of making the final roster:
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Falcons check out Carradine

April 20th, 2013 Comments off

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Tank Carradine

Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted earlier that the Falcons were among 11 teams represented at the private workout of Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine today. Reedy reports that Carradine ran a 4.75-second 40 time. Carradine suffered a torn ACL in November after a breakout senior campaign where he recorded 11 sacks, 80 tackles, and 13 tackles for loss.

Carradine met with the Falcons for a private workout on April 2 according to reports. Carradine, who’s first name is actually Cornellius, transferred to Florida State after two seasons at Butler Community College. His career at Butler came on the heels of current Falcon defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, who spent two years at the Kansas-based community college (2007-08) before transferring to Troy in 2009. In his first season at Butler in 2009, Carradine recorded 90 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks. He would earn All-American honors as a sophomore with 119 tackles, 29 for loss, 16 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 recoveries. His sack total led the nation among junior college players. He transferred to Florida State the following season where he served as a backup to Bjoern Werner and Brandon Jenkins. He had 38 tackles, 8 for loss, and 5.5 sacks. When Jenkins went down with a foot injury before the start of this most recent season, Carradine stepped into his spot at right defensive end. Carradine went down with his injury in the team’s final regular season game against the Florida Gators on November 24.

Recent reports suggest that Carradine is ahead of schedule on his rehab and is widely considered to be one of this draft’s premier pass rushers if not for the untimely event of his injury could have been a Top 15 pick. Carradine measured at 6-4, 273 pounds at today’s workout.

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Falcons to host local pro day on Wednesday

April 9th, 2013 3 comments
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn TE Philip Lutzenkirchen

Updating a previous report, the Falcons will hold their pro day for local prospects tomorrow, Wednesday, April 10. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC mentions several prospects that are confirmed to be working out for the team. Among them are defensive tackle T.J. Barnes (Georgia Tech), cornerbacks A.J. Bouye (Central Florida) and Branden Smith (Georgia), running backs David Carter (Morehouse) and Kenny Miles (South Carolina), offensive linemen Edmund Kugbila (Valdosta State) and Jamaal Johnson-Webb (Alabama A&M), and tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen (Auburn).

Most of the confirmed prospects and any others aren’t likely to be high picks. Among the confirmed players, Barnes figures to be the most likely to be taken in the draft. CBS Sports projects him as a fifth round pick and he is their 15th-ranked defensive tackle. The massive nose tackle (6-6, 369) did not start until his final season at Georgia Tech, where he posted career highs with 28 tackles, 5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 passes broken up.

Smith might also be in the mix for a late round pick, as he is the 37th ranked cornerback on CBS Sports. He impressed at Georgia’s pro day, clocking a 4.38 40 time. He started 25 games over the past three seasons, tallying 4 interceptions and 17 pass breakups in that span. He was arrested for possession of marijuana last spring. He was invited to the East-West Shrine game this past January, where he managed an interception, but also was beat for a touchdown.

Bouye is coming off his best season at Central Florida, recording 53 tackles, 3 interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He has a nice combination of size (6-0/186) and athleticism, clocking a 4.55-second 40 time and having 36.5-inch vertical jump at his pro day. He is the 66th ranked cornerback prospect by CBS Sports.

Carter likely will move to fullback given his size (5-9/229) and his slower speed (5.03 second 40 time). He earned conference player of the year as a junior after rushing for 1,495 yards and 19 touchdowns. A hamstring injury limited him as a senior, and his production fell to 841 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Miles led the Gamecocks in rushing as a redshirt freshman with 626 yards and a touchdown. He would serve as the backup the past three years behind Marcus Lattimore, but log 8 starts due to injury. As a senior with six of those starts, he finished the year with 104 carries for 359 yards (3.5 avg) and 2 touchdowns. He also caught 52 career passes. A smaller back at 5-8, 192 pounds, he clocked a 4.50 second 40 time at his pro day. He is the 40th ranked RB prospect at CBS Sports.

Kugbila was invited to February’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where the 6-4, 317-pound guard ran a 5.31 second 40 time, bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times, and had a 22.5-inch vertical jump. He would improve on those numbers (5.13/24/26.5) at his pro day. He’s started the past two seasons at guard after beginning his career at tackle. The Ghanan native is the 26th ranked guard by CBS Sports.

Johnson-Webb was another Combine invitee where he measured in at 6-5, 313 pounds with nearly 36-inch arms. He began his career as a guard before moving to left tackle. At the Combine, he ran a 5.37 second 40 time, did 17 bench reps, and had a 23-inch vertical jump. He is graded as a guard by CBS Sports, where he is ranked 22nd on their list.

Lutzenkirchen entered the season fairly highly regarded as he was CBS Sports’ 8th ranked TE in their preseason rankings. But a hip injury sidelined him in October. In six games, he caught 15 passes for 139 yards (9.3 avg) and no touchdowns. That after two seasons where he was a valuable asset in the redzone, combining for 12 touchdowns on only 39 catches. His 14 career touchdown passes is currently the school record for tight ends. He was able to participate at the Combine, running a 4.94 40 time with 21 bench reps, 30.5-inch vertical. He doubled at times as a lead blocker and fullback showing his versatility. He is currently ranked 24th by CBS Sports among tight ends.

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Falcons checked out pair of Clemson prospects

April 7th, 2013 Comments off

Adam Caplan of The Sideline View reported last week that the Falcons were scheduled to visit with Clemson defensive Malliciah Goodman, while Tony Pauline of TFY Draft Insider said that his former teammate and center Dalton Freeman visited with the team this past week.

Goodman is coming off his best season at Clemson, recording 7 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. He certainly has excellent NFL measurables, standing 6-4 and 276 pounds at the Combine, with arms that measure over 36 inches and 11-inch hands. He did 26 bench reps at the Combine with a 4.87 second 40 time and 31.5-inch vertical jump. He is projected by CBS Sports to be a third round pick.

Freeman measures in at 6-5, 291 pounds and is a rising prospect that is getting late round grades. He is a four-year starter that was not invited to the Combine, but made up for it with a strong performance at Clemson’s pro day last month. He ran a 4.91 second 40 time, benched 225 pounds 34 times, and recorded a 34-inch vertical jump.

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Falcons take closer look at Notre Dame safeties

April 7th, 2013 Comments off

Matt Fortuna of ESPN reports Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter is likely to be a candidate to work out at the Falcons local pro day this month. Aaron Wilson of Scout.com reports that fellow Golden Domer Zeke Motta had a visit with the Falcons this past week.

Slaughter a native of Stone Mountain, GA will be allowed to work out with prospects from nearby high schools and colleges at the Falcons facility. An exact date for the Falcons local pro day is not known, but in past years has been scheduled a few weeks before the draft. Slaughter missed nearly all of this past season with a torn Achilles tendon. In 2011, he had 45 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 interception, and 3 pass breakups. He is unlikely to be drafted given his injury, but could be a nice pickup as an undrafted player if his rehab continues to progress.

Motta could be looked as a late-round pick for a team. He has good size (6-2, 213) with run-stopping ability. While he did not pick off a pass this season, he did have 77 tackles which ranked second on their team behind Manti Te’o. He could potentially carve out a role on special teams in Atlanta.

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Falcons look at several West Coast prospects

April 7th, 2013 Comments off
Andrew Weber-US Presswire

Boise State’s Jamar Taylor among Falcons targets

Tony Pauline of TFY Draft Insider has been on top of the Falcons conducting workouts of several West Coast prospects this weekend. Yesterday, Pauline tweeted that the Falcons worked out a number of prospects at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA. Among them were UCLA defensive end Datone Jones and running back Johnathan Franklin along San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar and cornerback Leon McFadden. Per Pauline, Jones had an impressive workout. Today, the Falcons were set to look at a group of prospects from the Bay Area including Cal center Brian Schwenke, Stanford tight ends Levine Toilolo and Zach Ertz as well as running back Stepfan Taylor. Tomorrow, the Falcons will look at cornerback Jamar Taylor (Boise State).

Jones, Ertz, and Taylor have been projected as potential targets for the Falcons top pick on April 25. Franklin, Escobar, McFadden, and Schwenke have been graded by many to be potential second day targets for the team. Toilolo is considered a late round prospect, while Stepfan Taylor is likely to be taken in the middle rounds.

Datone Jones had his most productive year as a senior, with 62 tackles, 19 for loss, and 5.5 sacks. He played predominantly end for UCLA, but also got opportunities to line up inside at defensive tackle and rush the passer. Franklin got off to a fast start this past year, rushing for over 200 yards in his first two games, making him an early Heisman candidate. He finished the season with 282 carries for 1734 yards (6.1 avg) and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 33 passes, excelling in the zone blocking scheme incorporated by new head coach Jim Mora this past year. He is noted for his speed (4.49 second 40) and quickness.

Ertz is considered alongside Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert to be the premier tight end in this year’s class. He had his best year as a senior with 69 catches for 898 yards (13.0 avg) and 6 touchdowns, the leader for the team. His teammate Toilolo was highly-touted going into the season, but had disappointing production with inconsistent hands. He finished the year with 24 catches for 393 yards (16.4 avg) and 4 touchdowns.  But his large frame (6-8, 260 pounds) and blocking potential still means he could be a solid NFL player. Stepfan Taylor has been a workhorse for Stanford the past three seasons since taking over for Toby Gerhart. He put together his best season this past fall with career highs of 320 carries for 1530 yards (4.8 avg), coupled with 13 touchdowns. He also improved as a pass catcher with 41 catches, second on the team. Taylor isn’t blessed with great size or speed (4.76 second 40 at the Combine), but is a powerful consistent runner that can at least carve out a role as a quality backup in the pros.

Escobar didn’t have as productive a year as many hoped this year, thanks in part due to the departure of quarterback Ryan Lindley. As a sophomore, he caught 51 passes for 780 yards (15.3 avg) and 7 touchdowns, but those numbers fell to 42 catches for 543 yards (12.9 avg) and 6 touchdowns this past year. That was still good enough to lead his team for the long tight end that measured in at 6-6, 254 pounds at the Combine. McFadden is a ballhawk that collected 8 interceptions and 47 pass breakups over his career. He was compared favorably to Brent Grimes by NFL.com’s draft profile.

Jamar Taylor impressed at the Combine when he clocked a 4.39 40 time coupled with 22 bench reps, indicating both speed and strength for the 5-11, 192-pound corner. He had his most productive year this past seasons with 51 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 4 interceptions, and 13 pass breakups.

NFL.com’s Mike Mayock lists Schwenke as his top-rated center in this year’s class, as the three-year starter is coming off his first season at the position. The two previous years, the 6-3, 314-pound player played both guard spots giving him added versatility. He lifted 225 pounds 31 times at the Combine and clocked a 4.99 second 40 time, indicating he possesses good strength and athleticism.

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Falcons taking a closer look at UGA’s Ogletree

March 22nd, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Georgia LB Alec Ogletree

Falcons head coach Mike Smith was in attendance at yesterday’s pro day for the University of Georgia. Much of the story surrounding yesterday’s pro day centered around the “lackluster” performance of outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who clocked a disappointing 4.92 second 40 time, prompting some to view the 6-3, 249-pound pass rusher as a better prospect at defensive end.

But more interesting was the tweet of the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter yesterday that the Falcons have scheduled a private workout for linebacker Alec Ogletree. The 6-3, 244-pound inside linebacker ran a 4.64 second wind-aided 40 time and lifted 225 pounds 18 times on the bench press. Ogletree has the athleticism and versatility to potentially play all three linebacker positions at the next level and has been favorably compared to current Falcon Sean Weatherspoon given his athleticism.

Ogletree is projected as a first round pick, although his stock took a hit following a February DUI arrest. This came on the heels of a 4-game suspension to start the 2012 season due to a failed drug test. He was suspended for a game as a freshman following the theft of a scooter helmet. The Falcons typically avoid players with off-field red flags, but scheduling a visit with him likely indicates they want to take a closer look at the talented linebacker.

Despite not playing a full season, Ogletree’s production was off the charts this past year, as his 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 6 pass breakups exceeded his combined totals from the two previous years: 86 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 3 sacks, no interceptions, and 3 breakups.

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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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