The Falcons Cage Grade the Draft

Cage Members Roundtable Draft Grades

Generally Positive Reviews Overall


JohnWaynesWorld Grades

Round 1 (#8 overall): Vic Beasley, DE/OLB…..This was the pick the Falcons had to make; the right position, the right spot, and the right man. Everything about this pick makes sense. Beasley is a young John Abraham but faster. Grade: A+

Round 2 (#42 overall): Jalen Collins, CB…..Hearing Collins’ name was a bit of a shock at first but after a second look, this is probably a great selection for Quinn’s defense. Our HC likes tall, athletic Corners who aren’t afraid to tackle and Collins fits the bill. Additionally it was reported that the Falcons did quite a bit of investigation down in Baton Rouge so I am fine if they are with the young man’s past. Collins may end up taking the #2 Cornerback spot sooner than later but we will see how much Alford has left in him to keep that spot. Collins would have got a better grade if he wasn’t already tagged and enlisted in the NFL drug protocol system. Grade: B+

Round 3 (#72 overall): Tevin Coleman, RB…..I was amazed that Coleman lasted until #72 and thrilled the Falcons picked him. I had seen his video highlights before and knew he was more than exceptional. At first I was worried about his foot surgery but when he turned in a 4.40 Forty at his Pro Day I knew he was healthy. The guy is a hot knife that runs through defenses and from his post-draft comments he intends on showing everyone what he can do. Grade: A+

Round 4 (#107 overall): Justin Hardy, WR…..This is another suprising yet solid pick by the new Quinn Selection Team. Hardy is already nationally known a prolific and record-setting possession receiver with great hands who isn’t a burner. He also is a good blocker. He’s a fine replacement for Harry Douglas and can play right now. Grade: A-

Round 5 (#137 overall): Grady Jarrett, DL….The steal of steals. Grady will be a regular for the next 7 years on our Defense. He may be a Tiger but on the Falcons’ D Line he is our new Pit Bulldog. Grade: A+

Round 7 (#225 overall): Jake Rodgers, OT….A solid pick by most accounts who can play more several positions along the LOS. My guess is Rodgers will fit right in as a swing OT or G. Grade: B

Round 7 (#249 overall): Akeem King, FS/CB…..Another tall DB who can run and tackle. I have also heard good things about this player and his video highlights show a willing tackler who is raw but fast. Grade: B+

In summary, the only pick that drags down my grade from an “A” is the Collins pick because of the risk of suspension. Final Grade: A-

Buford Bob Grades the Falcons Draft

Let me start by pointing out the obvious: grading the draft rigth after it happens is rather pointless … but it’s also rather fun. With that said:

1) Vic was #1 on my wishlist. Falcons got the best player in the draft (seriously) at the position most needed. Can’t script it better. Turn him loose DQ.  — A+

2) Jalen Collins has the length DQ wants, doesn’t sacrifice speed, and flat challenges WRs. Never mocked him because I thought he”d go in the teens. Keep him away from broccoli and continue to work on his press technique and we just might have one hell of a tandem. In addition, this should allow Alford to move to the nickel corner spot, where he should do much better.  — A

3) Can’t wait to watch Tevin prove me wrong. To do so, he’ll have to show that his negative touches (runs of fewer than 2 yards) were because of IU’s line getting blown up and not because he lacks the patience to sift and find the hole before hitting it. The talent is there, but I’m worried about his fit in this outside zone scheme. If it works, it’ll be a grand slam. If not, he’s Darren McFadden. — B   (so hoping that I’m wrong and this moves to an A).

4) Justin Hardy. Record holder. Lot’s of folks are high on him too. Nothing wrong with adding a reliable and ultra-productive target for MR2. —  B (solid pick; I just thought there were higher upside guys still on the board).

5) Grady Jarrett in the 5th? Are you kidding me? There’s something going on there that teams know and we don’t, but that looks like a great, great pick to me. DQ has his 3-tech to groom behind Babs. —   A+ (excellent value).

7) I don’t know anything about either guy that can’t be Googled and read in 30 seconds. — INC

Analysis: The Falcons low key killed this draft.

We all recognized the desperate need for someone who can get to the QB, and we also knew DQ wanted a long corner to press on at least one side of the field. Nothing surprising here. Great personnel fell to #8 & #42 and the Falcons capitalized.

We also knew that we couldn’t go into the season with only Devonta and Antone. I thought we’d get more of a sustaining back, but if Coleman can prove to be more of a sustainer than he was at IU, this could be a home run.

We also discussed the need for a WR to replace HD (and RW isn’t exactly a spring chicken anymore). The production speaks for itself, but maybe the best part: everyone mentions Hardy’s willingness as a run blocker.

Add a good DL prospect in Tuggle Jr and we’re in business.

Like everyone points out, a better OL prospect would have been welcome, but when? Can’t quibble much with the guys they got when they got them. — Overall Grade: A

Arno’s Grades

Vic Beasley DE

Quinn’s been very clear about his vision for the team: fast, athletic, engaged. With Beasley, Quinn is proving he means what he says. Oddly, the knock on Beasley is his inconsistency with those very same traits when it comes to defending the run. Can we afford a first pick that’s a pass rush specialist? In his post draft presser, he admitted needing to expand on his game. So the question is– do I believe him? Yup. Grade: A

Jalen Collins CB

Yeah, he fits the profile of the Seattle style CB. Off field issues? Hmm. If I were to deduct points, it wouldn’t be for that, but for his limited starting experience in college. Coach him up! Grade B+

Tevin Coleman RB

At first this pick surprised me. Weren’t we expecting from both Quinn and Shannahan a bulkier complement to the RB squad? But once I started reading the adverse conditions he played in at IU, and read the comments of those who’d been following him, my initial disappointment evaporated. Grade: A-

Justin Hardy WR

We knew we needed one. We’re used to the Falcons fielding tall, tough receivers just so they can survive the predictable, short routes our pathetic o-line grants them. Hardy doesn’t fit that mold, but given his intensity and great hands, I’m thinking Ryan will love to have this guy in the slot. Grade: B

Grady Jarrett NT  

For the Tuggle connection alone, I’m excited to have this guy. He’s got the Quinn intensity. This is a great pick. Grade: A+

Jake Rodgers OT

The knock on this guy isn’t his fault. It’s the fact that we need o-line help as PRIORITY. We’re waiting to see if the ZBS will bring new life to our roster, or whether it’ll only amount to a paint job. Of course, I’ll be rooting for the guy. Grade: C+

Akeem King DB

Another DB in the mix. What gives with Southward, Ishmael, Aflord? Quinn puts guys on islands– which Brady made painfully obvious in the Superbowl. More competition for training camp… Grade: C+

Overall grade: Weighted toward the first picks, my draft grade is a clear A. I’m pumped about the clear vision Quinn’s brought to this team.   

JB Falcon’s Grade

My vote will not help the variety of your poll much but it will count as a vote. I give the whole group an A. My confidence & trust in DQ & Co is out the roof. I’d give them an A if he drafted the three stooges. Gotta’ believe! 

Chop Buster’s Grade

I’m not much of a draft enthusiast, but I’d give them a B+ for the players we picked up. I’m sure we could fill any holes though UDFA and FAs released later this summer.

JJ’s Grades 

Value picks: A+
Need picks: B+ 

Overall: A 

Just “little ole’ Me’s Draft Grades

1st          DE – Vic Beasley (Clemson):  Coach Quinn got his “Leo” with Atlanta’s first pick in the draft.  Beasley is considered to be one of the best pass rushers on the board.  He is an athletic beast who pumped out 35 reps on the bench and ran the fastest forty time of all the pass rushers at the combine.  He put up good pass rush numbers at Clemson with 33 sacks, 29 quarterback pressures, 11 pass breakups, seven forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and two touchdowns in 1,421 snaps over 48 games (25 starts).  Mel Kiper knocked this pick calling Beasley a 1 trick pony.  His run defense needs work, and he needs to add more tools to his pass rush tools box, but that is where having a great coaching staff makes all the difference.  Vic is a scheme fit for the Falcons, but the way the draft fell out they probably could have traded back a couple of spots to add an extra pick or two and still selected Beasley.  Of course hind sight is 20/20.  My grade is based upon the value at this point in the draft.  Grade B+

2nd        CB – Jalen Collins (LSU):  LSU seems to churn out great corners every year.  I don’t think Collins is a Patrick Peterson, but if he can get his act together (failed multiple drug test while at LSU) I think he will thrive in Dan Quinn’s defense.  As a college player he was in Les Miles CB rotation.  That tells me that LSU has some really good underclassmen at CB or that Coach Miles was frustrated by Collin’s inconsistent play and/or his actions off the field.  Jalen performed extremely well at the combine with the exception of the hands drills.  He was the top performer in the 3 cone drill recording a time of 6.77.  He has all the measurable that Coach Quinn is looking for in a CB with his height, size, and speed (4.48 40 time) combination.  Collins, just like Beasley, has the athleticism, but is going to need some great coaching to perform up to his potential.  Some had a first round grade on him.  I think some folks were leery of his off the field issues which will make him a boom or bust player.  If he can conquer those issues then I think he will be a great contributor for the Falcons.  Grade B+

3rd         RB Tevin Coleman (Indiana):  Tevin is a race horse running back.  He has a nice jump cut and played well as a one cut runner.  He is a threat to take the ball the distance on every carry.  He relies heavily on his speed to beat defenders.  He does not fit Coach Shannahan’s description of a 4 yard every carry back.  Coleman has lots of runs of -2 to 2 yards; he will occasionally bust a 10 to TD run.  He did average over 7 yards per carry in 2013 and 2014.  He is willing to run the ball up the middle, but does not break many tackles.  To his credit he played on a team that offered very little in the passing game.  He is a capable pass catcher out of the backfield.  He was not asked to pass block very often.  Coleman’s running style does not always translate well to the NFL which is probably why he fell to the 3rd round.  There has been speculation by the “talking heads” that if Atlanta would not have taken him in the 3rd round that he could have fallen to the 3rd day.  He reminds me of RB CJ Spiller.  Let’s hope he plays like the Spiller of 2012 not the Spiller of 2014!  Grade B

4th         WR – Justin Hardy (ECU):  Justin was drafted to be the starter in the slot position for the Falcons.  He ran a simple route tree while at ECU, so he will need to expand his route tree to be successful at the NFL level.  He does not let the ball get into his body and does a great job of catching the ball away from his body.  Hardy knows how to adjust to throws that are off target.  He is a capable run blocker and plays the game aggressively.  Look for him to make a splash in the short passing game and over the middle.  This sure handed receiver should help to improve 3rd down conversion percentages.  Grade A-

5th         DT – Grady Jarrett (Clemson):  Grady does a great job working off blocks, and he knows how to split a double team to get pressure up the middle.  He is considered a bit short for at DT at 6-1, but he knows how to use his height to his advantage by getting under blockers.  He has a nice initial burst off the snap that he can beat an Offensive lineman with. Jarrett uses his hands well in the trenches and is light on his feet.  He is a great scheme fit for Dan Quinn’s defense.  He was projected by many to be drafted on the second day, getting a player of this caliber that is a scheme fit in the 5th round is a draft steal.   Grade A+

7th         OT – Jake Rodgers (EWU):  This kid is a big athletic tackle.  He needs to develop a stronger punch at the point of attack.  Jake has the athleticism and foot work to be successful at the NFL level.  He is going to need to improve his technique.  His ability to learn quickly from the coaching staff will determine how successful he will be with the Falcons.  Grade B-

7th         SS – Akeem King (SJST):  King played Strong Safety at San Jose State which makes this pick questionable since the Falcons already have 2 proven SS on the team.  He does fit the mold as for the measurable the Coach Quinn like in his defensive backs.  He is big, long, and fast (4.41 forty time).  He tackles in the run game and in the pass game.  He is a team player. He switched from WR to DB when asked by the SJST coaches.  He is a diamond in the rough as a DB.  Look for Coach Quinn to convert him to CB.  This was a low risk high reward pick.  Grade A-

Dewey’s Draft Grades

These grades, of course, are on the surface. No matter how accomplished a player was in college, you just never know how their game and personal life, are going to translate to the professional ranks. I’d like to think I’d be mature about it, but I honestly have no idea how I’d behave if someone handed me a check worth millions of dollars. With that said…. 

Management: this was the type of draft I’d been hoping to see year in and year out from Dimwitt & Co.  Sit back, let the draft come to you, don’t reach, be patient. I’ve often stated here in the Cage that if a team drafts for needs, they will always be left drafting for needs. This draft felt like a draft geared towards “wants”. Overall, I am very pleased with the players we selected. We did trade up once(as usual) costing us another pick(that’s got to be about 10 in 8 seasons), but if the player we selected turns out to be as good as advertised, then losing a 6th round pick will have been worth it. GRADE:A-

Vic Beasley:this is a classic case of “needs” meets “wants”. We needed a pass rusher and got one of the best college had to offer. We wanted Beasley or Fowler. I now honestly believe the Falcons brass wanted Beasley more than Fowler, because he will have a greater impact on the pass rush. Beasley will probably be brought along slowly, coming in at DE on obvious and near obvious passing situations. That will probably net him around 30-40 snaps per game. This will also allow him to stay fresher, thus enabling him to have a greater impact on our pass rush. He will eventually be an OLB, but having never really played there, it’s going to take some time to learn and adjust to where he is comfortable. GRADE:A

Jalen Collins:this was a classic want pick. No one was predicting the Falcons would take a CB this high in the draft. Collins had a grade of mid-first to mid-second round. Obviously, the Falcons felt that the value was too great to let Collins slip past. Collins has all the talent in the world to be a top flight CB, though he was never able to break through and stick as a starter on an annually strong LSU defense. Quinn wants CB’s who are big, fast and athletic. Well now we have one. Collins off field troubles seem to be, and hopefully are, all in the past. GRADE:B-

Tevin Coleman:this is another selection where it appears “need” and “want” may have collided. Though some think Devonta Freeman can be a back that can carry the load week after week, some aren’t quite so sure. One thing was for sure, if Freeman had to miss any extended time because of injury, there was nothing behind him(sorry Antone Smith fans, he’s not capable of carrying the ball 20+ times for 3 or 4 games in a row). I’m sure the Falcons wanted Tevin, but were pleasantly surprised when he was still available in the 3rd round. Now we have a back that can, at the very least, split carries with Devonta where we don’t have to change the entire offensive game plan when he’s in there. Having 2 RB’s of equal talent, should help keep both fresh throughout the entire season.GRADE:A

Justin Hardy:another “want” pick. With Julio, Roddy, Devin, we don’t really need another WR this year. But with Julio’s contract, Roddy’s health and Devin’s age, adding another younger WR is something any good team would want to do. Justin can learn from 2 of the very best to ever wear a Falcons uniform and not have to be pressed into service as anything more than the #3, or #4 WR. This will give him ample learning opportunities while giving the Falcons a good look at a potential replacement for Roddy or Devin in 2016.GRADE:B+

Grady Jarrett:When the 5th round rolled around the corner and Jesse Tuggle’s son was still on the board, the Falcons wanted him. Actually, the Falcons decided they had to have him. So they traded their 6th rounder to move up to the first pick of round 5 and take him. Another want pick as we are littered with DT’s or players who can line up at DT. But Ra’Shede Hageman is the only one with youthful legs. The others are either getting too old, too slow, too weak, too expensive, or some combination of them. If Grady turns out to be everything he has been advertised to be, this was a great value pick for the Falcons.GRADE:B+

Jake Rodgers:I gotta be honest, I don’t really know a lot about this kid. Big, Strong, versatile. But if you haven’t noticed, none of my evaluations have been about the players talent(which no one can rightly predict going into the NFL), but about how the player fits into the teams plans. So Rodgers was a good choice being that all of our OT’s are coming off of injury/surgery or both. If all our OT’s come back healthy, this kid can come along on the practice squad for a year before really making a push for some serious playing time. Or who knows, he might end up being our starting RT right out of camp. Stranger things have happened. GRADE:C+

Akeem King: another player I know little or nothing about. Once again, big, agile, more plays quick than fast, which tends to being a smart player. This is the size DB that Quinn covets and we currently have holes at FS and CB on our depth charts, so this pick again makes sense.GRADE:C

Conclusion: the Quinn era has been ushered in rather successfully and with a no-nonsense “this is how we are going to do things from now on” attitude. It would have been expected for a new coach to come in and want to make all the headlines his first year. Big Name players, flashy draft picks, promises of playoffs and the Super Bowl. But Quinn hasn’t done any of that. Low key free agent signings that are low risk, high reward. Smart draft picks instead of wasting a lot of picks to get 1 good player. Scheme/style fit players that are brought in to help the team the best way they can. And no promises other than, “we are going to be fast and physical”. Off season Grade thus far:A++

Hamad Meander’s Grades

Round 1: Beasley – A+.  Never thought he would be available for us at 8.  Ticks off all of the boxes: pass rusher, speed, local kid, clean nose, played at respectable school, was dominate against good competition.

Round 2: Collins – B-.  Doesn’t pass Falcons filter with admitted drug test failures.  Was 1st round talent though, but I was surprised to see CB picked in the 2nd round after going CB, CB in 2013.  There were other positions to fill.  A+ pick would have been: Eric Kendricks (MLB) UCLA

Round 3: Tevin Coleman – B+.  Need more depth at RB and Coleman provides another burst of speed (4.4) at the position.  Catches the ball nicely and gets to the second level quick.  What’s not to like?  Good value pick too.

Round 4: Justin Hardy – B.  Wasn’t expecting a WR in the 4th round with so many LG available.  Seems to be a very capable WR with great hands that will help Matt Ryan in the passing game.  Evidently, despite his size, he can run block too.  I like that.  Ok value at this spot.  A+ pick would  have been: T.J. Clemmons (OT) Pittsburgh

Round 5: Grady Jarrett – A+.  What’s not to like here?  Son of Falcons great Tuggle, big disrupter on the best D in college football, worth the trade up and a projected 2nd round in the 5th.  Home run!

Round 6: Grady Jarrett’s lunch money.  No loss here when we got Jarrett.

Round 7: Jake Rodgers – C.  Any chance of this guy making the 53?  Why do all NFL players from Washington/Oregon spell Rogers with a “D”? Won’t make the team. A+ pick would have been: Ifo Ekpre-Olumo (CB) from Oregon, 1st round talent dropped to 7th due to injuries.  Sit him for a year and you have value, value, value.

Round 7: Akeem King – B.  Size, speed, measurable all good here for a DB, but can he play NFL ball?  Probably not. A+ pick would have been Rory “Busta” Anderson (TE) USCE.

Overall: Grade B.  Great value at almost every pick, but failed to address LG and RT.  Falcons are still so thin on offensive line it makes me want them to pick (4) OL next year.  We are stocked and loaded at skill positions and I like our defensive line depth/talent now.  Next draft better be very heavy.

SG’s Grades

Round 1, ideally I would’ve liked Williams. Knowing that probably wasn’t going to happen w/o a trade up – which I was against. I then leaned toward Fowler if available but then the Combine happened. Not normally impressed w/ the isolated value displayed there, I was thoroughly impressed that Beasley basically stole the show in all categories. That for me translated to a laser focus and a determined attitude that was coupled w/ his talent and speed – No Further Questions

DE Vic Beasley A+

Nothing against the guy – and frankly I’m glad he’s in the fold – but here I was constantly debating between the OL and the RB position. In the end I wanted the OL addressed and my pick there was Cedric Ogbuehi

CB Jalen Collins B

Had I decided in Pick 2 to go for an RB, Coleman was the first choice (Duke Johnson 2nd). When you look at everything that was anemic in the programhe came from, from OL, to QB, (to no one else mattered on offense), he still racked up over 2K yards and didn’t whither against teams w/ solid Ds like the National Champs at OSU

RB Tevin Coleman A+

Our version of Wayne Gretzky. Not big. Not fast. But greatly offsetting his size is his apparent “Gretzky-like” ability to not only find the open space but to analyze how that space will become open when it’s still closed.

WR Justin Hardy A

Just not crazy about, but DQ knows more than I

DT Grady Jarret B

Athletic, fast on his feet, adds depth, shown leadership potential

Jake Rodgers B+

The sleeper

CB Akeem King B


Big Ray’s Draft Grades

Round 1, Vic Beasley:  I can’t believe the amount of “controversy” around this pick from both national media (ESPN) and local media (AJC).  Beasley is everything you could want in a pass rusher in the purest sense of the word. No, he isn’t 6’4″ and 270 lbs, but his technique, though developing, is better than many in the draft, his speed and quickness are equal to that of a Free Safety, and his power (35 reps on the bench press?) can be converted from speed via some good coaching. I could go on for days about how good of a pick this is, but I’ll just go ahead and say this was a blessing, because Beasley is going to be MORE than just a pass rusher, sooner than folks think. Yeah, we could have taken Bud Dupree, but we didn’t. I think Quinn knows what he’s doing with this one, though.

Grade: A

Round 2, Jalen Collins: The kid has the physical tools and instincts. He needs discipline and technique work. I have two names for you – Marquand Manuel and Raheem Morris. Two of our rivals have stocked up on HUGE pass catching targets (Bucs, Panthers), and the way of the NFL now is to counter with bigger CBs. Everything Collins has, you can’t teach. Everything he needs…is something you can coach up. The one hitch with this guy is the failed drug tests. For that, I say that it’s bothersome in one way but comforting in another way. You don’t want guys with problems, but this pick alone shows something – that we have a coaching staff that is confident in their ability to create a good, strong culture, and maintain it. We did not have that before, and thus the choir boy train up to this point. The times, they are a-changing.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Tevin Coleman: The speed of Antone Smith (or very damn close to it), in a 6’1″ 220 lb body? I’ll take it. Coleman was a workhorse at Indiana, will be trained by a good RBs coach, and will make folks forget about CJ Spiller. No, he’s that damn fast. He runs upright and isn’t the best tackle breaker in the world, but one cut and the guy is G.O.N.E. Some will lament the passing on a supreme talent like Gurley, but Coleman + Freeman = not worrying about a running game going away due to injury. Coleman was the 3rd highest rated RB in a DEEP draft, and we got him in the freakin’ 3rd round without a trade up. THAT is value.

Grade: A+

Round 4, Justin Hardy: I wasn’t excited about this pick because I didn’t really know who the guy was to begin with, and he didn’t seem like one of those “names” that will replace Roddy at some point, or provide insurance for Julio (still scared about that damn foot of his). My feeling was that we either go after a Dorsett or Lockett, or somebody along those lines, but we went this way instead. This one pick is the one where I have the most potential to be wrong about a guy. Hardy could very well be Steve Smith “lite”, and make us all forget about HD, among others. His toughness, strength, tenacity, work ethic – they’re all plusses. Now here’s the part that ain’t fair – I thought we should have been taking a Guard or something at this pick, so my grade isn’t necessarily a reflection on Hardy himself, but on what the organization did with the pick.

Grade: C+

Round 5, Grady Jarrett: The last time we had a dude named “Grady” on our DL, he was a major cog in the defense. THIS guy will be, too. I like this pick for a multitude of reasons, and it may well be the best pick of this draft for us, crazy as it could sound. Jarrett should have gone sooner, but I think teams looked at his height and decided they’d rather coach up a taller guy. Well, that would be their mistake. Jarrett is going to be EVERYTHING the Falcons thought they were getting when they drafted Peria Jerry. This guy is 2nd round talent, 3rd at worst. He’ll be ready to play early on, and somebody is going to be bumped from the 53 man roster as long as he stays healthy. Jarrett’s ability to push double teams and penetrate anyway is going to get somebody else cut/fired. Somebody who is making a lot more money than Jarrett is. The successor to Babineaux is here. Put him next to Hageman, who is going to really start showing out this year, and you have a deadly DT combo to rival that of any in the NFL in a couple/few years. Yes, it’s that real. And to get him in the 5th round?

Grade: A++

Round 6, Pick traded: Pick traded…and well worth it. Jarrett will confirm this on the field.

Round 7, Jake Rodgers: Here’s another guy who’s pick grade will suffer due to WHEN as opposed to WHOM. We needed a Guard, and Rodgers can play the position in the ZBS, or so we hope. Rodgers can’t possibly be looked at as a guy who can compete for a starting job, but he can compete as a better depth guy in the new scheme. Whether or not he can make the roster or the PS is another story, but we have needed to acquire better depth for some time, and this guy actually fits the scheme (again, scheme change is really important here). Really kind of “meh” about this pick because I thought we could go this route earlier, and perhaps we would have if not for trading up for Jarrett. But I really like THAT pick, so I can’t bitch too much.

Grade: C-

Round 7, Akeem King: Safety is another position we could have gone earlier at, but I think the plan for the position is already on the roster, as opposed to what was there in the draft. It wasn’t a particularly strong safety unit in this draft class, and with two DB gurus on the coaching staff, I have a lot more confidence about the position than I would have if the old coaching staff was still here. Akeem King is another “meh” pick…until you think about what is probably going on here. The 7th round is where you find guys for your special teams unit, because even UDFAs can’t all be counted on to make you good there. Plus, you need these guys to at least be able to somewhat play their position. Look no further than a guy who persevered on ST for us, and was drafted out of the 7th round – and actually played as well as William Moore ever has. That’s right – if the Falcons can get out of King, what they got out of Kemal Ishamel, then this is a win. King has the physical tools – he’s got the size, strength (20 reps on bench press), and speed (low 4.4s in 40 yard dash…and Quinn likes speed on ST as well as in his secondary). King could be a 2-3 year developer that makes for a great backup or a stop-gap when we have injury issues…

Grade: B

The Time is Now Overall grade: A- 

Rd. 1 – Beasley is a rare combination of freakish athletic talent and upper echelon college production. Didn’t really expect him to be available. One other bonus, TD did not trade up to get his guy. 

Rd. 2 – This pick was has DQ’s fingerprints all over it, for better or worse. We were told the “Falcon filter” was going to be loosened a year or two ago. DQ wanted this first round talent. After due diligence, Collins was the pick. My attitude is, don’t complain about the filter, then question the team’s sanity when they take a dude who is not a choir boy. 

Rd. 3 – We knew a RB was coming somewhere. This one has outstanding potential. 

Rd. 4 – Filling a need (short and long term) with a quality talent from a deep WR class. 

Rd. 5 – Great use of a pick to move up for a round 2 or 3 talent at a position of need. Good trade. 

Rd. 7 – I think someone in here said this developmental OT prospect also has experience as a long snapper. If true, he could have a shot at a roster spot this season. 

Bottom line: No reaches. Good value selections. We all knew this was not a one year reload to dynasty. The powers that be chose to skip drafting OL high, this year. Hopefully Matty Ice survives until we bring in more talent for the OL.

SinIsin Draft Grades

Value-Wise: B+

Would have been an A, if we didn’t give up any of our draft picks, but I can’t give out an A for value moves considering we did trade up and sacrificed our 6th round pick. I endorse the move considering the trade off, but I would like one damn draft where we don’t trade up at all. It’s like a compulsion at this point…

Need-Wise: B-

First, am not thrilled with our second round pick just yet. Maybe he will grow on me. For now, I  think we should have filled a different positional need here (on either DL or OL). I also think if we were going to go CB, we should have considered Rowe instead.

Second, I am not yet sold on taking a WR in the 4th round. I know we all agreed we needed some help at WR, and Hardy can slot in for HD. But I think I would have preferred to address WR in a different round – either take 2 in the 7th and sign a few as UDFAs, mining for gold – OR address it higher and get a really great player to replace Roddy, then kick RW to the slot. We could have gotten a1st round talent WR in the 2nd round this year.

We didn’t draft OL until the 7th round, and I don’t think that was an especially wise decision. Time will tell, I guess.

Overall: B

I am pretty content overall with the draft. Especially compared to seasons past…And even some of the players I am not 100% sure about just yet, may prove to be more to my liking down the line. It has happened before, could happen again.



334 thoughts on “The Falcons Cage Grade the Draft

  1. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Ken Strickland- After all top CB’s are harder to come by than a FS. Falcons should be set at CB and that won’t be a priority in 2016 though Trufant needs extending in 2016 (final contract year is 2017]. We don’t need another JJ situation.

    1. JB Falcon

      Dodge signs as undrafted free agent with Atlanta Falcons
      05/02/15 – ASHLAND – Austin Dodge (Vancouver, Wash./Skyview)’s phone started ringing Saturday just a couple minutes after the seventh and final round of the NFL …

  2. Flo-Ri-Duh


    Falcons need QB’s for camp.

  3. Flo-Ri-Duh

    ? Anyway – article stated Austin Dodge signed a UDFA contract with Falcons. (

    1. Arno

      You know you’re slipping when you can’t spell ‘the.’ Oh, and thanks to GM for his delish instant coffee recipe.

  4. John Waynesworld

    When we face the NY Giants in Game #2 on September 20th they will not have their starting Left Tackle Will Beatty, who got hurt working out today. He won’t be back until at least November so the Giants will have to start their top rookie Erik Flowers at one of the OTackle spots. Quinn’s defense should have much success in our first away game of the season.

  5. medallion

    Love the artwork, but please no decaf for me – I want caffeine to keep me “fired up”.
    Pop (speculation) Quiz: The Falcons’ website lists 15 linebackers on current roster. Final 53 man roster normally has 6 or 7 for a 4/3 defense. Which, if any, of the 15 are likely to stay on the 53 man roster because of a shift to different position such as a SS back up, first down LEO, or back up LEO?

  6. John Waynesworld

    Since we are in one of our lulls, I wanted to share some of the pics I originally included in my draft grades. I figure better to get them out now before google changes most of the players’ photos to the Pro team’s jersey. Here’s one I found of Justin Hardy…

    1. SinIsIn

      To echo the sentiment expressed in the comments on that article, Smith Freeman and Coleman makes for an awesome trio. They are all exciting players who bring something to the table, and coupling that with Shanny the Youngers alleged ability to consistently get the most of a teams ground game (even without top tier talent at RB or OL), I’ll be surprised if we don’t have an actual, effective, rushing attack this year. Which will of course help open up the passing game. And the improved OFF should take some pressure off of our DEF. So all in all, plenty of reason to be excited.

      1. medallion

        Thanks for the link. I rarely read Bleacher Report stuff for many reasons including its simplicity and frequent mistakes, but sometimes there is something good and interesting. There were some good and interesting things in that. However, I almost stopped reading Carasik’s piece after his diagram showed Wilfork as NT (guess he forgot to scrub that out from some Patriots thing), left out a SS, used a $ sign for maybe a SS, incorrectly described the 4/3 under defense as lining up more DL to the weak side and more LBs to the strong side, and other mistakes.
        I hope to write some about the good and interesting this coming weekend. One of those involves my hope that Goodman will be a key good piece of the defense.

    1. Arno

      Are you going solo today? Good article and surprising, especially the favorable comparison between Moore and Chancellor. Here’s the last bit, which is a nice shot of espresso: “Atlanta may have more natural athleticism than the Seahawks did under Quinn’s tenure as defensive coordinator. Atlanta has advantages over Seattle athletically throughout the defense, and if the Falcons play up to the athletic potential they showed coming out of college, they could be exceptional on defense. It will come down to coaching, though. Quinn has to show that he can take above-average athletes with solid instincts and turn them into a great defense. It’s not all about collecting talent. It’s not all about collecting athletes. It’s about taking the athletes and putting them in situations where they win.”

    2. JB Falcon

      Great link JW. Like Arno, I loved the last part. I wish they had put the ages in there just for future thought. All in all, another splash of optimism.

  7. Arno

    I remember Dimitroff saying that aside from the top picks, the off season was for renewing the bottom third of your roster. Well, TD… that’s if you’ve been doing your job in past years, maybe. In addition to Jarrett, Beasley, Collins, and King, we have Clayborn, Reed, Schofield, Durant, and Allen. If the previous BR link is on target, that’s nine potential solid contributors on D alone, not to mention Hageman. Glad there’s a new sheriff in town.

  8. Paddy O

    well, the NFL networks player voted on top 100 is in progress. MR2 is #76; Cam Newton is #73. Who here would trade MR2 for Cam?

    1. JB Falcon

      PO, all of the networks, NFL, ESPN, etc. consists of a bunch of paid writers who do not know more, or are any smarter, than a fan of a particular team. As a fan, we follow our team exclusively on a daily basis.The cage is the perfect example of this. We know when MT’s first cousin had a mole removed from his butt. We know when a player has a personal problem. Just because someone gets paid to write his opinion doesn’t make his opinion any more or less valuable or correct. As far as MR for Cam? NO way! MR is twice the QB. I don’t care if “someone”, or some bunch of writers voted on and rated MR #135 and Cam #3. That’s their opinion and they’re welcome to it.

      1. Paddy O

        yes indeed! I was so happy when I stumbled onto the cage – honest analysis of the team from very knowledge folks. Last year, Ryan was left OFF the top 100.

      2. SinIsIn

        Couldn’t agree more JB. Everyone’s got an opinion they’re entitled to, and I frankly get sick of debating MRs talent with non-Falcon fans. I can’t help but get a bit pissy (in spite of how little I know those lists matter) because I am sure players like MR read those lists, and it has to be frustrating to be constantly undervalued and passed over. Some players play better with that kind of chip on their shoulder; I just hope Matt is one of them, but he doesn’t seem to let public opinion get to him too much. I think his flub ups during his bad games are the result of immediate pressure and a desire to win, and he’s probably his own harshest critic. But I don’t know the man personally, and I always wonder if things like being rated below Cam freakin Newton come back to him when he’s having an exceptionally bad game and intensify the pressure.

  9. Grits Blitz

    John WW – Thanks for the update on Tone Smith! Based on what was stated, including Tone’s own comments, my take is he won’t be ready anytime soon.
    For the new coaches to have any real faith in him, he’s almost GOT to be ready by Aug. 1 for the preseason games for some real hitting or they may feel they won’t be able to count on him. I hope I’m totally wrong and he’ll really be 100% by 8/1…9 weeks. Believe he’s got the “right stuff” and was really hopeful he would have a breakout year with being provided a real chance to showcase his talents – as a RB only – but the break must have been more serious/complicated than first thought. Have you heard if the real extent of the injury has ever been addressed?

    Guess I’m only kidding myself anyway being concerned about any RB since our present O line may not be able to allow RBs to achieve their real potential anyhow. Maybe there are some starters that will be signed soon via the UDFA route. Hope abounds but it’s the present reality that is disconcerting to me.
    Appears all eggs are quickly going into one basket – the zone blocking scheme – to hopefully transform retreads/infirmed into a truly functional unit. This has got to be the biggest gamble on the whole team!
    Glad time will soon tell all …with no excuses…by anybody.

    1. John Waynesworld

      Gritz, keeping optimism about the OL is the only way to go. The OZBS has worked before many times using ordinary Linemen. It worked back in the DVD days when we led the league in rushing and the only players of note were a 3rd rounder named Roberto Garza and a 7th rounder named Todd McClure. of course I know that Vick was the reason they led in rushing but opposing defenses also knew we weren’t throwing the ball either so it was still a success. They ran a one-cut-and-go rushing offense with similar blocking schemes used by then coach Alex Gibbs. The same could easily work here, the only issue in my mind is 3rd and long, but that’s really every team’s issue.

  10. John Waynesworld

    Can we do it against the media’s favorite division?

    My OTHER favorite division to beat. I still think the loss of LT Beatty will really hurt the NY football Giants when we play them in Week 2. Besides having to play their rookie OT Erik Flowers (in only his 2nd NFL game), Coughlin will also have to move their underperforming RT Justin Pugh over to LT to protect Eli’s backside (and here comes Beasley!).

    Philly will be a tough out in Quinn’s first game as a HC as will Dallas in JerryWorld because of their O Line and skill weapons, but I’m not too worried about the Redskins playing in our house.

    1. Arno

      In the first challenge for Quinn, maybe Kelly overthinks and Quinn has his unit playing fast and simple.

    1. John Waynesworld

      I haven’t had fashion sense ever since my moustache went out of style, so I liked the all-black outfits of the early 90’s. They had a good look especially when our defense was swarming. I also liked AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ introductory song and the MC Hammer stuff was kind of fun too. We definitely had our swagger going back then with Glanville in charge and Deion playing like the son of Jor-El.

  11. John Waynesworld

    I find it odd that out of 37 prospects expected to be cut before we arrive at the number 53, only one player from a local team was invited (Michael Lee – Fort Valley State). They even brought in another player from South Dakota instead of picking someone from UGA, GT or any of the known, solid collegiate football programs from around this state.

    So the state of Georgia is a hotbed for college football players but not NFL players?? This makes no sense. I know some players grew up in this state and went to other colleges across the U.S. but there are schools here who have done quite well in their respective conferences that consist of nothing BUT players born and raised in Georgia…So come and get some…or one!!

    I wonder if 1st year coaches purposefully try to stay away from large local university UDFA prospects because of some perceived local pressure to keep them over other smaller college or out-of-state undrafted players.

    1. medallion

      JWW – I have long wondered the same thing about UDFA and drafted players by 1st year coaches and more tenured GMs/head coaches. Perhaps the results of Dimitroff’s reach pick of Dent only reinforced a fear of local pressure. Who knows?

  12. John Waynesworld

    From an old May 9th Savannah news article, I guess we have two invisible QBs………”Quinn was pleased with the second of three workouts, especially since tryout quarterbacks Caleb Berry of Lamar and Austin Dodge of Southern Oregon were better taking snaps from under center — unlike in their college careers.” I wonder if either is a possible replacement for our 7th round (comp) 3rd string QB. Dimitroff should be numb to any more embarrassment so releasing another of his draft picks won’t move any needles.

  13. John Waynesworld

    Thanks, JB, that whole video was great with tons of info. I’m one of the few that really like Charlie Casserly. That co-host was bringing it as well. She’s right about peaked fans expectations for the Rams. I know a few. Charlie spoke at length about the Giants choices on OL and it was about what I had heard from other sources. Pugh was supposed to be their new LT but he wasn’t playing well so they used their #1 pick on the OT Flowers and were going to kick Pugh inside to LG. Now they have to start the rookie Flowers at RT and put Pugh back at LT where he has issues with speed rushers. What is also good for us is the reports I have heard is Flowers is not ready to play. These critics, who were both ex-NFL linemen, spoke of Flowers’ poor hand placement, grabbing jerseys when beaten and slow footwork in pass protection that also has problems with speed rushers. That’s a lot to fix by Week 2 when we come to town. My guess is that Vic Beasley fares okay versus Kelly’s quick-throwing Eagles but the following week he will make national highlight videos with sacks on Eli Manning.

    OT, I know some here are UGA fans. I wanted to post this amazing letter I found years ago to any who haven’t seen it…

    I was on those tracks with my cooler and my insanity for every game the last 3 seasons that they were there. What blurry happy youthful memories!

    1. JB Falcon

      If memory serves me right, that letter probably helped inspire the team to a pretty decent year, to say the least. A memory indeed worth holding on to.

      1. JB Falcon

        Does being a football fan make your life go by faster? 35 long years ago UGA won the Championship and it still sticks in the minds of many. Coming up on 49 years waiting for the Falcons to win the Lombardi. I guess if it does, we’re all going to live to a ripe old age!

  14. Flo-Ri-Duh

    John Waynesworld (5/22 @ 6:28 pm) – Thanks for the memories. I too was at the games in ’80 but as an alumni as I graduated a (few) years earlier. There was no better and more loyal Dawg than Erk Russell. In my opinion he was the best coach UGA ever had. Yes – better than Dooley and better than Richt. He could do wonders with “average” talent and the “D” won that 80’s national title. They would have won it again in ’81 if Dooley wasn’t so insistent on running Herschel 35-40 times a game. Herschel would catch 80 passes a season in the NFL but Dooley rarely ever would throw to him – and not a whole lot to anyone else – as long as he had Herschel. I was sad for Erk as he deserved his chance at HC at UGA but Dooley refused to retire. I’m looking for a big year from the Dawgs if they can get the QB position figured out. Ramsey I guess but so far I’m not thrilled with him.

  15. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Hawks don’t have a fork in them yet but they have been flipped over and are cooking on the other side. They don’t have enough inside muscle to compete with LeBron & co. It’s Horford and who else?

    1. Paddy O

      Roddy had a good season on a bad team last year. With a better O line (???), and a run game folks notice, he should get over a 1000 yards again. I’m really hoping Quinn is a 35 points per game, shove it down your throat kind of HC.

  16. SinIsIn

    SO I just saw our schedule for the first time. You guys prob discussed it at length in an earlier post while I was not around, but I had to mention it since I just saw it.

    1) I am considering selling a kidney to go to that Giants game in September. You’d think my brother, who has season tickets, would maybe just maybe give one game up so his big sis could see ‘her’ team, but nope. Though the way him and his buddies drink at those games, they might provide a market for that spare kidney. Too bad I only have one liver.

    2) How come it seems like all our divisional games are always bunched up at the end of the season? Logically, you’d want those games at the beginning of the year to sort of set the tone for the season. I don’t like 4 of our most important 6 games being the last 5 weeks of the season. At least, that’s my opinion. I guess the NFL likes to do that so the end of the season has big playoff implications and all, but dang. And why do I feel like we always play the Panthers 2x in 3 weeks? At least the 2nd Panthers and then the 2nd Saints game (to end the year) are at home.

    1. Paddy O

      I’d rather division games start AFTER regular season game #3. I like playing division games down the stretch. You control your own destiny.

  17. Ken Strickland

    It is so nice to have a HC, & maybe an OC, with vision. While we’ve been scratching our heads over what we’ll do at LG, it appears something was put in motion long before Blalock was released. OT LHolmes, who was known for being very athletic, even at 332lbs, was asked to lose weight & is now down to 298lbs. He is being seriously considered as a candidate for the starting LG position. An OL consisting of LT Mathews, LG Holmes, OC Hawley, RG Asomoah, & RT Schraeder could end up being very effective in our new ZBS.

    I’ve also read some comments that suggests that Clayborn might end up replacing Soliai at DT next to Babineaux. A DL consisting of DE Goodman, DT Clayborn, DT Babineaux & DE(LEO) Beasley or Moponga would definitely be quick, fast & attacking, like Quinn said he likes. In addition to our pass rudh, we’re definitely going to be much improved at LB & CB. Offensively, we’ll definitely be improved at TE, RB, & OL, & those improvements will automatically lead to improvement at QB.

    1. JB Falcon

      Ken, I couldn’t agree with you more. Finally, finally we get to see this team play up to their potential. I know MS won some games but his overall approach and coaching style, and ability, was about imaginative as a grey bucket of paint. So many stupid calls and his stubborn attitude. We should have already had at least two SB appearances and maybe a win during his tenure. I know you are about as tired as I am of trying to stay positive about the team and I hope you are as happy as I am to see so much optimism throughout the cage. I think our rewards are coming.

      1. Greg Mendel

        I think the rewards are coming as well. I’m usually an optimist — except when I see the building collapsing. But I honestly think the Falcons will do very well this season

        As I’ve said many times, I think Smitty was in way over his head. I don’t know when he “went under.” My hope is that Quinn will see (and use) talent that was untapped in 2011. If so, we may have a dramatic season.

    2. medallion

      KS – what you read about Clayborn possibly replacing Solia at DT must have been a second or third round of misinterpretation of Quinn talking about looking at Clayborn and Babs as DTs on passing downs.

    1. Paddy O

      it seems you need 2 scouts on these read option guys. If you get good D line QB pressure, it is pull offable. Wilson is pretty similar to Rogers, good scrambler and thrower.

    1. Paddy O

      it will be interesting. This year we WILL have an entirely new offensive system. MR2 should be a quick study, and the newness of it should give us an advantage- plus our WR corps is very veteran.

  18. Grits Blitz

    Hope all Cagers take time to remember the real heroes of the trenches (and everywhere else)…our military personnel…on Memorial Day!
    Gratitude should be an easy gesture to deliver on our part yet many fellow citizens today consider it an…imposition and a mere holiday.
    May God bless those who gave so much, grant peace and healing to those who remained, and uphold surviving family members in their daily grief.

  19. JB Falcon

    Good morning! I’m not a basketball fan but decided to watch the final part of the Hawks game when they started to come back. (I do check the score during games since my wife is a bigger fan than I am) Anyway, by watching, I was able to reinforce why I don’t like round ball and have seen better shooting from the kids outside my house in the cul-de-sac. Seems like the Hawks have the same disease that the Falcons had. The medical term is “Sorryasscoachitis.” The symptoms allow you to win during the season and get out coached in the playoffs. The disease can be cured by removing a part of the team named Mike. So far it has cured the Falcons but is still in the experimental stage.
    On a brighter note, I hereby give every cager the day off tomorrow in order to honor the ones who gave it all so that we can freely b!tch about our sports teams. If your boss don’t like it, tell him JB said it was OK. If you are your own boss, take the day off out of respect and thankfulness.
    If I were to go broke by missing a days work it would still be a lesser sacrifice than those who gave it all.
    My best friend throughout childhood through HS graduation stepped off the landing craft in Vietnam and didn’t make it to dry land. His memory has been a leading factor in my life. If it weren’t for him and others like him I would not even be here to have bad days or complain about things. May God bless each and everyone of you and the ones who gave their life so that we still have the right to say His name. I pray that the American people will resist the current regime we call a government that is trying to take away the rights they died for. It’s time for America to “Rise Up.”
    I apologize to anyone this post may offend and for possibly violating the cage rules but I think there’s a saying somewhere, “If you ain’t with us, you’re against us.” Delta is ready when you are!

  20. Coop

    Happy Memorial Day Cage! To all those who never came home, thank you. For those who served and serve and are prepared to pay the bill, thank you.

  21. just "little ole" me

    Thank you to all those who have served, are serving, and have paid the ultimate price in the name of Freedom! My family and I are forever grateful for your sacrifice! You will never be forgotten!


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