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Posts Tagged ‘Toilolo’

OTAs: Day 7 Report

June 12th, 2013 Comments off

The media once again had access to the first of four days of the Falcons third and final offseason team activities. The Falcons will have a mandatory minicamp starting next week on June 18:

  • As mentioned earlier, Desmond Trufant returned to practice today. He and fellow rookie Robert Alford were able to get extra reps due to the excused absence of veteran cornerback Asante Samuel today. Trufant at left corner, Alford at right, and both Robert McClain and Dominique Franks manning the slot. Matt Ryan was impressed with the Falcons top pick.
  • Speaking of Ryan isn’t too concerned over his looming contract status.

    You know what, I leave that to my agents and the front office. Those guys will get that stuff done.

  • Absent at today’s session were Samuel, as mentioned previously, Tony Gonzalez, and Levine Toilolo. Toilolo is expected to join the team tomorrow. Meanwhile, Chase Coffman stepped in for Gonzalez at tight end with the Falcons starters. Sean Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas still look to be on schedule to return for next week’s minicamps.
  • Steven Jackson has improved his diet to try and defeat Father Time. Sounds like his plans are to be a “finisher” for the Falcons with most of his work on the ground coming in the fourth quarter. He’s focused on getting on the same page with Ryan in the passing game for the no-huddle offense earlier in games.
  • Matt Ryan seems to admit the offensive line is a work in progress, but that strides are being made. And it looks like they might be incorporating more tempo which I suggested the other day.

 

Trufant returns; Maponga out til training camp

June 11th, 2013 Comments off

Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that Falcons head coach Mike Smith updated the status of three rookies today at the team’s OTA session. Top pick and cornerback Desmond Trufant was able to participate in his first Falcon practice due to the graduation of students at the University of Washington. Tight end Levine Toilolo is expected to join the team tomorrow. Smith also indicated that rookie defensive end Stansly Maponga is expected to be out until training camp, as he recovers from offseason surgery on his broken foot/ankle.

Trufant had been trying to keep up with the team by speaking with defensive backs coach Tim Lewis via Skype due to his absence away from the team due to league rules indicating that rookies can’t join their teams until after their respective schools graduate. Toilolo’s absence has been for similar reasons.

In other injury news, linebackers Stephen Nicholas (sports hernia) and Sean Weatherspoon (knee) appear to be on track to re-join the team for mandatory practices next week. That had been the target date since their injuries were announced.

OTAs: Day 1 Report

May 29th, 2013 Comments off

Technically it’s the second day, but this is the first day that media have been covering things.

  • So the biggest news from the day is that Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez were absent from these these voluntary workouts. So was Desmond Trufant, who is finishing school at the University of Washington. But he’s apparently putting in the extra work by contacting coaches via Skype. Levine Toilolo is also finishing up his schoolwork at Stanford.
  • As reported earlier, linebackers Sean Weatherspoon (knee), Stephen Nicholas (sports hernia), and rookie end Stansly Maponga (foot/ankle) were held out of practices today due to their recoveries from off-season surgeries.
  • The Falcons opened with a brand new starting 5 on their offensive line: LT Sam Baker, LG Justin Blalock, C Peter Konz, RG Garrett Reynolds, and RT Mike Johnson. Lamar Holmes is expected to be in the mix with Johnson at right tackle.
  • The Falcons cut UDFA Deon Goggins. Goggins played DT at Syracuse, but was being converted to fullback in Atlanta.

Falcons sign Toilolo

May 22nd, 2013 2 comments

Last night the Falcons announced the signing of tight end Levine Toilolo, their second fourth round pick of the 2013 draft class. He now becomes the fifth of the Falcons’ eight picks to sign on the dotted line.

Terms of Toilolo’s deal were undisclosed, but he will receive a four-year deal in the ballpark of $2.5 million with a signing bonus around $300,000 based on the rookie contract slotting system. Toilolo is expected to compete for a backup spot behind Tony Gonzalez at tight end, where his size and blocking ability could carve out a significant role for the rookie.

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Scouting Report: Levine Toilolo

May 19th, 2013 Comments off

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Levine Toilolo

Let’s look at what I thought was an underrated tight end prospect in this year’s class in Levine Toilolo.

Height: 6-8 3/8
Weight: 259
School: Stanford
Class: Junior
Speed: 4.86 (Combine)

Toilolo continues the trend that the Falcons apparently adopted in 2013 by selecting a player with NFL bloodlines. Three of his uncles: Dan Saleaumua (1987-98), Edwin Mulitalo (1999-2008), and Joe Salave’a (1998-2006) all played in NFL. Toilolo comes from an athletic family of Samoan Americans. A top recruit for Stanford, he started as a redshirt freshman back in 2010 in the season opener, but tore his ACL which lost him for the year. He came back the following year mixing in the rotation with Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener. He had a solid year, putting up slightly better production than Ertz. But as junior, Ertz would take off while Toilolo would sort of languish at the status quo. Didn’t have the breakout year expected, and had basically the same production despite the uptick in opportunities with Fleener in the NFL. He is primarily a blocking tight end, but possesses the length and athleticism to create matchup problems and wreak havoc in the secondary. He continues a strong tradition of Stanford tight ends in the NFL, with Ertz being taken in 2013. Fleener was the top TE drafted in 2012. Jim Dray and Evan Moore each were backups this past year, while Alex Smith was a productive starter in Tampa Bay before becoming a backup in Cleveland. His name is pronounced La-Veen Toy-lo-lo.

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Takeaways from Last Week – May 13

May 13th, 2013 Comments off
NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons

Mike Smith may deserve an extension along with Matt Ryan

I’m not sure if this is my final takeaway from the Falcons 2013 draft, but I the more I look at it, the more I like it. At least if judging on this lone criteria, that being that the Falcons targeted athletes.

My main takeaway from the Falcons loss against the 49ers this past January was that the 49ers were clearly a better team. I had been hopeful that the Falcons could get off to a fast start which could negate that somewhat. Because I knew that over the course of four quarters, the 49ers were just a better team, with more athletes that could dominate the game physically in the trenches as well as at the offensive skill positions.

So when I look at the 2013 draft, I see the Falcons appearing to be targeting more athletes than normal. Players like Robert Alford, Malliciah Goodman, and Levine Toilolo really epitomize that in that all three I would consider players with a lot more athletic upside than polish as of today. One could label all three projects, which is something the Falcons haven’t seemed to target in their previous five drafts under Thomas Dimitroff.

I don’t think those three players or any of the Falcons rookies this year really would slant things in the Falcons favor if they were to meet the 49ers again, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Which leads me to my next point, which is what are the expectations for the Falcons 2013 season. I know there are many within the fanbase that expect the Falcons to get over the hump and into the Super Bowl in 2014. You won’t count me among them.

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FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 27 “2013 Draft Recap”

May 11th, 2013 Comments off

On this episode, Allen and I recap the 2013 Draft. We detail what we liked and didn’t like about the Falcons picks, as well as looking around the league at other teams’ picks. You’ll also hear Allen’s insights and recap of his experience at Radio City Music Hall on the opening night of the draft. Dominique Franks’ roster status as well as John Abraham’s chances of returning to the team are also discussed. Robert James earns a new nickname: “Cancer” in this episode, and of course we can’t go an episode without our obligatory Peria Jerry and Ray Edwards bashing.

Ep. 27: 2013 Draft Recap [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 16 minutes

Allen writes for TJRSports.com as well as the Bleacher Report. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

 

Takeaways From Last Week – 2013 NFL Draft

April 29th, 2013 2 comments
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Manti Te’o: “Star” of the Draft

The 2013 NFL Draft was held this past weekend, and as usual it was an intriguing affair. I told my brother, who did not watch one minute of the draft mainly because his wife detests football, that this year’s draft was much like recent NBA Drafts meaning that in future years the 2013 draft class won’t be particularly memorable with its star appeal. Not to say this draft won’t produce good or even great NFL players, because every draft does, at least everyone that I can recall. But as we often heard over the weekend, this was a draft in which the linemen were front and center. Try as they might, ESPN and NFL Network did their best to insert as much “star appeal” as possible by spending as much time as possible talking about this quarterback class and Manti Te’o.

The media desperately wanted to talk about those players, but ultimately I think the quarterbacks and Te’o will be largely forgotten in the NFL. Ultimately the best you’re going to hope from the group of quarterbacks drafted this year is that they produce a Matt Schaub or David Garrard-caliber passer. They may be competent to good starter, but the only time they’ll be really discussed by the media by and large is to talk about how they aren’t great.

Also, it’s not that I doubt Te’o will be a good NFL player, it’s just that his infamous catfishing incident may ultimately eclipse his NFL career. I think Te’o probably winds up playing a decade in the NFL, most of it as a starter. But I think he winds up being comparable to players like Curtis Lofton or Lofa Tatupu, capable starters that their respective team likes, but are rarely mentioned among the best in the league.

I know it’s unrealistic to think that I could turn on league’s flagship channel or the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and expect them to spend hours talking about the greatness of Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Dion Jordan, or any of the players at “blue collar” positions. But there were really good players in this draft and none them played quarterback or middle linebacker for Notre Dame, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the television coverage as they never went more than fifteen minutes without mentioning one of those lesser players.

My final comments on the draft before I start to discuss the Falcons picks specifically is that I do think it’s interesting that quarterbacks did not get pushed up the board. I talked about that in an earlier column this off-season. And at that time, it was difficult to fathom that there wouldn’t be any Top 10 selections at the quarterback position. I compared it to the 2011 class, where a number of lesser prospects went high in the draft and ultimately none of those teams are better for it. I still think the passers did get pushed up the board, but not as far as they normally do. So I tip my hat to NFL teams for not reaching too far on subpar passers. We’ll see if this trend continues next April.

But onto the Falcons…

I liked the Falcons draft. It’s not very sexy, nor is it one that I think people will look back and say made a huge impact on the team. But it’s a solid group of players. I think moreso than in recent drafts, the Falcons seemed more intent on looking at players that had higher ceilings. I think a hallmark of some of the Falcons post-2008 drafts has been targetting players with high floors, but relatively low ceilings. I think the opposite happened this year.

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Falcons nab Goodman and Toilolo in Fourth

April 27th, 2013 Comments off

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

Malliciah Goodman

The Falcons held two picks at the end of the fourth round, using the 127th overall selection on Clemson defensive Malliciah Goodman, and the 133rd overall pick on Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo.

Goodman has intriguing size and athleticism, measuring at 6-4, 276 pounds at the Combine. He has lanky 36-inch arms with large powerful 11-inch hands. Goodman clocked a 40 time of 4.87 seconds and did 26 bench reps of 225 pounds while at Indianapolis. He is coming off his best season at Clemson, tallying 7 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 4 forced fumbles this past fall. He saved his best performance for last, recording 3 sacks in a bowl game vs. LSU. He earned a starting spot as a junior, tallying 49 tackles, 4 for loss, and 2 sacks. Like the Falcons previous two picks Trufant and Alford, Goodman shined at the Senior Bowl practices this past January. Goodman will bolster the Falcons defensive line rotation with the ability to play inside and outside with the versatility to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3. That gives him added versatility for Mike Nolan’s scheme, which mixes principles of both schemes.

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Levine Toilolo

Toilolo another physical specimen, measuring in at 6-8, 260 pounds. Expected to break out this past year alongside Zach Ertz, Toilolo’s production didn’t make a huge jump despite increased production without Coby Fleener on the roster. As a junior, Toilolo caught 25 passes for 343 yards (13.7 avg) and 6 touchdowns. As a senior, his production hovered with 24 catches, 393 yards (16.4 avg) and 4 touchdowns. He possesses a long frame and speed (4.86 second 40 time) with upside to improve as a blocker and receiver. His potential in the redzone is off the charts. He’ll be tutored by Tony Gonzalez, who is expected to retire after this upcoming season.

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