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Report: Falcons ‘Aggressively Pursuing’ Paul Soliai

March 10th, 2014 Comments off

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeted today that the Atlanta Falcons are “very aggressively pursuing” Miami Dolphins nose tackle Paul Soliai. La Canfora’s report comes in regard to today’s earlier news of defensive assistant Mark Collins’ promotion which has prompted the belief that Falcons will making a switch to the 3-4 as their base defense.

Soliai played under Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan for the two years they shared together in Miami (2010-11) before the latter’s arrival in Atlanta. Soliai just turned 30 at the end of this past season, his seventh in Miami. He has served as a regular starter since Nolan’s arrival in 2010, combining for 129 tackles and 4.5 sacks over that span. He served as a Pro Bowl injury replacement in 2012.

Soliai initially was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round in 2007 and was a backup to Jason Ferguson for the early part of his career.

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Report: Falcons ‘Extremely Interested’ in Asamoah

March 9th, 2014 Comments off

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post cites unknown league sources that the Atlanta Falcons are “extremely interested” in Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Jon Asamoah, an impending free agent.

While the official start of free agency begins Tuesday afternoon, teams are currently allowed to legally “tamper” by talking with potential free agents until then. No reports yet on whether Asamoah and the Falcons are actively discussing a contract. But the Falcons are not alone in their reported interest in Asamoah, as reports surfaced early Saturday that the New York Jets were another team that intended to make a play for him.

Asamoah is considered one of the premier guards potentially available in free agency, along with teammate Geoff Schwartz. However, Asamoah lost his starting job to Schwartz last season thanks to a shoulder injury suffered in Week 11. Asamoah missed the Chiefs’ season-opener with a calf injury, but started the next nine games at right guard before being sidelined and sitting the bench for the final six games.

Prior to last year, Asamoah started a combined 31 games at right guard in 2011 and 2012. He was originally a third-round pick by the Chiefs out of Illinois in 2010.

You can check out my assessment of Asamoah’s strengths, weaknesses and how he potentially fits in Atlanta.

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Falcons Pro Day Round-Up 3/8

March 8th, 2014 Comments off
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews

Recapping all the latest from the Atlanta Falcons in regards to pro day visits and draft interest from this past week:

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was present at Texas A&M on Tuesday to mingle with old colleagues and check out offensive tackle Jake Matthews. Matthews was the main attraction since quarterback Johnny Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans opted not to work out, instead waiting for a later workout planned for March 27. Matthews stuck with positional drills, standing on his Combine numbers from last month.

Matthews is considered a potential target for the Falcons at the top of May’s draft.

Of those that did participate, running back Ben Malena measured in at 5-8, 194 pounds and did 27 bench reps of 225 pounds, ran a 4.54-second 40 time and jumped 33.5 inches on his vertical leap.

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D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons sent two representatives to Clemson’s pro day on Friday, including new hire Billy Devaney, to check out that school’s top prospects.

While wide receiver Sammy Watkins drew a lot of praise from onlookers, Ledbetter touts quarterback Tajh Boyd’s performance. Boyd, who struggled during the Senior Bowl, was able to rebound by completing 66 of 67 scripted passes at his workout throwing to receivers like Watkins.

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Falcons Eye Mack at Buffalo Pro Day

March 4th, 2014 Comments off

SB Nation’s Bull Run reports that Falcons area scout Mike Potts was expected to be on hand at the University at Buffalo’s pro day today among representatives from 19 other teams. There, Potts would get the chance to see outside linebacker Khalil Mack, one of the premier draft prospects this year.

After an impressive Combine performance last month where Mack clocked a 4.65-second 40-yard dash, today he was able to improve his time to somewhere between 4.53 and 4.55 seconds according to several stopwatches. Mack failed to improve upon his 23 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press from the Combine today. Also at Indianapolis, Mack lept 40 inches on the vertical jump as well as timed 7.08 seconds in the three-cone drill.

Mack finished his career as Buffalo’s all-time leader in sacks (28.5), tackles for loss (75) and forced fumbles (16).

Other Buffalo prospects trying to take advantage of the high attendance were running back Branden Oliver (26 bench reps, 4.63-second 40), safety Okoye Houston (4.56 40) and cornerback Najja Johnson (4.38 40).

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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.
Categories: Draft Central Tags: , ,

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.

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

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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