Past Drafts: Player Contributions

football-lull

Moving into a football lull…

ARE WE BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE?

GRADING THE DRAFTS

 2011 – 2015

by Cage contributor,  just “little ole” me

The 2016 draft season has ended and we are moving into a Football lull. Let’s take a moment to look back on the five drafts prior to the 2016 draft and see how the Falcon’s draftees have fared during their time in the NFL.

Methodology

report-cardAs I began researching for this article I had a hard time deciding on what the best grading rubric would be for players that have played one or more years in the NFL. My initial thought was the eye ball test, but that could be considered too subjective. Then I thought I could use games played and started by the draftees, but a player can play in a game without making a significant contribution. After some time digging on the internet I was looking at Pro-Football –Reference.com and they have developed a single metric stat for player contribution that they call Approximate Value (AV). This is not the apex of all stats, but it is a good measure of player contributions from various positions in various years. It is not a perfect statistic; one aspect of the AV stat that I do not like is how the offensive linemen contribution is calculated. The linemen’s value is calculated for the offensive line as a unit, not for each individual player. So, the worse player on the line will receive the same value as the best player on the line. While I do have some misgivings about how the AV is calculated I believe it will do for the purpose of showing player contribution.

I established a grading rubric for the players, but I still needed to figure out how to use the player grades to calculate a grade for each draft. How many players need to be significant contributors from each draft to make that draft a success? How long do they need to be a productive player on the team? Should there be greater value placed on players drafted in later rounds that succeed? The questions keep coming.

In the end I chose to give each draft two grades. The first is a three year contribution grade since three years seems to be the standard amount of time to give a prospect to succeed in the NFL. The 2015 and 2014 drafts will have grades based on one and two years of production respectively.

The second grade I gave each draft is a dynasty grade. The dynasty grade is based upon the number of players from the draft that are currently on the Falcon’s roster. The player’s contribution in 2015 and their projected contribution in the upcoming 2016 season is part of this grade. I did give extra credit for undrafted rookie free agents that made significant contributions. This grade should help us to better understand how well the front office has done in building the team through the draft and with undrafted rookies.

Below you will find a list of the player selected in each draft. Each player has the number of games played, number of years played, their average AV per year, and the player grade. The player’s letter grade is based on their average yearly AV and weighted by the round in which they were selected. Please note that these stats only pertain to the time that the player spent with the Falcons and does not include performance with any other club.

juio,rodgers,bosher

Julio Jones, Jaquizz Rodgers, Matt Bosher

2011 Draft

In the 2011 NFL draft, after a block buster trade to move up in the first round, the Falcons selected WR Julio Jones and five other players in rounds three through seven. All but one of those picks played three or more years in Atlanta.

Player Grades:

RDxxxx Playerxxxx Time playedxxxx Average Yearly AVxxxx Grade

1st – Julio Jones (WR): played 65 games over 5 yearsxxx 11.6   A+

3rd – Akeem Dent (LB): played 47 games over 3 yearsxxx 3.33   B+

5th – Jaquizz Rodgers (RB): played 63 games over 4 yearsxxx 4.5   A+

6th – Matt Bosher (P): played 80 games over 5 yearsxxx 1.8   A+

7th – Andrew Jackson (OL): never played a gamexxx 0   F

7th – Cliff Matthews (DE): played in 32 games over 4 yearsxxx .75   B-

2011 Draft Summary:  3 Year Draft Grade: Axxxx Dynasty Grade: B+

With the exception of Andrew Jackson, a seventh round selection, this draft class made significant contributions to the team over the first three years. This is why I gave them an A for the 3 year draft grade. During their time with the Falcons Dent and Rodgers both played well enough to become starters at their respective positions. Matthews, a minor contributor drafted in the seventh round, was good enough to stick on the 53 man roster for four years. Each of these players had short term contributions, but for one reason or another did not fit into the long term plans of the team and have moved on to other clubs. The two remaining draftees have played significant roles for the team over the past five seasons. Bosher as the team punter has performed well and Julio Jones quickly became the team’s star receiver. Jones is not only the best receiver on the team, but he is one of the best in the league. It shows in the fact that he was selected to three pro bowls in five years. The two years he missed the pro bowl were 2011, his rookie year, and 2013 when he missed most of the season due to injury. I gave the 2011 draft a dynasty grade of B+ for strong performances from Jones and Bosher even though none of the other six draft picks are still on the team.

konz,massaquoi

Peter Konz, Jonathan Massaquoi

2012 Draft

This draft started in the second round after trading the first round pick to Cleveland for the right to move up and select Julio Jones in the 2011 draft. For many this might have affected the draft grade, but the grade is all about what the team did with what they had to work with.

Player Grades:

RDxxxx Playerxxxx Time playedxxxx Average Yearly AVxxxx Grade

2nd – Peter Konz (OL): played 39 games over 3 yearsxxx 5.33   A+

3rd – Lamar Holmes (OL): played 21 games over 3 yearsxxx 3.33   B+

5th – Bradie Ewing (FB): played 2 games over 3 yearsxxx 0  F

5th – Jonathan Massaquoi (DE): played 39 games over 3 yearsxxx 2   A

6th – Charles Mitchell (S): played 10 games for 1 yearxxx .33   D

7th – Travian Robertson (DT): played 12 games over 3 yearsxxx .33   C-

2012 Draft Summary: 3 Year Draft Grade: C- xxxxDynasty Grade: F

Atlanta made six selections in the 2012 draft and all the players, except for Safety Charles Mitchell, played for three years in Atlanta. Even Mitchell made a minor contribution to the team in the one year that he played. The two offensive linemen Konz and Holmes were the largest contributors from this draft followed by Massaquoi. Please note that the grades for the Offensive linemen were based on their performance as a group not on a per individual basis. That is why Konz and Holmes have such high player grades. There are no standout players from this draft, but there was some contribution during the first three years, which is why it received a C- for the 3 Year Draft Grade. This draft was hampered by injuries and poor player development post draft. With no player from this this draft on the current roster the Dynasty grade is a big ole F! Label it a bust by the front office and the coaching staff at the time! This draft also marked the beginning of the end for Head Coach Mike Smith and his staff. Their inability to develop players was coming to light as the veteran core that was present when Coach Smith initially accepted the Head Coaching job in Atlanta were beginning to show their age. With very few young players developing in the que, doom loomed in the not so distant future!

trufant,ishmael,-worrilow,schraeder

Desmond Trufant, Ryan Schraeder, Paul Worrilow, Kemal Ishmael

2013 Draft

Finally a year with more than six draft picks! Coming off the best post season performance by a Mike Smith coached team; where the team lost the conference championship by 4 points. Hope abounded that next year might hold a Super Bowl appearance! Just a few tweaks here and there. But, age had caught up with many of the veterans on the team from 2012. With a lack of strong player development the roster was in need of some help. So maybe a few of those veterans can be replaced in this year’s draft? The staff had to go beyond the draft for some extra credit and dip into the undrafted rookie pool just to keep a team on the field after the injury bug hit.

Player Grades:

RDxxxx Playerxxxx Time playedxxxx Average Yearly AVxxxx Grade

1st – Desmond Trufant (CB): played 48 games over 3 yearsxxx 6.67   A

2nd – Robert Alford (CB): played 41 games over 3 yearsxxx 4   B

4th – Malliciah Goodman (DE): played 34 games over 3 yearsxxx 1.67   C-

4th – Levine Toilolo (TE): played 48 games over 3 yearsxxx .67   D

5th – Stansly Maponga (DE): played 26 games over 3 yearsxxx .67   D

7th – Kemal Ishmael (S): played 36 games over 3 yearsxxx 2.67   A+

7th – Zeke Motta (S): played 10 games for 1 yearxxx 1   C-

7th – Sean Renfree (QB): played 2 games over 3 yearsxxx 0   D

UD – Paul Worrilow (LB): played 47 games over 3 yearsxxx 6.33   A+

UD – Ryan Schraeder (OL): played 42 games over 3 yearsxxx 5.33   A+

UD – Joplo Bartu (LB): played 38 games over 3 yearsxxx 4.0   B+

2013 Draft Summary: 3 Year Draft Grade: B- xxxxxDynasty Grade: A-

The grades for the 2013 draft include the extra credit in the form of undrafted rookie free agents. Yes I know the team did not draft those guys, but the personnel in the scouting department work their tails off to get the undrafted into camp. This year their labor was fruitful! Trufant came in and started right away. He even has a Pro Bowl selection to his name. Many first round picks never make the Pro Bowl much less in their first three years in the league. Every player selected this year played in double digit games except for Renfree who has been a back-up Quarterback. There were team contributions from everyone in this draft including major contributions from three undrafted rookies. For these reasons I gave this draft an A- for the 3 Year Grade. Of the eleven players listed about there are only three that are no longer on the roster. Three of the remaining eight are guaranteed quality starters in 2016. Worrilow, Ishmael, and Toilolo will all be in battles at their respective positions to earn starting jobs. That leaves Renfree and Goodman who will be trying to earn roster spots as back-up players. With so many from this draft still on the roster in various roles I gave 2013 an A- for the Dynasty Grade.

matthews,freeman,allen

Jake Matthews, Devonta Freeman, Ricardo Allen

2014 Draft

After having to start two undrafted rookies at linebacker during the 2013 season the front office thought it would be a good idea to draft three linebackers during the 2014 draft. I guess they were never taught that quality is always better than quantity. The loss of Tackle Tyson Clabo and Center Todd McClure after the 2012 season left glaring holes in the offensive line. Undrafted rookie Ryan Schraeder had to start four games. Matt Ryan found himself in the sack category a career high 44 times in 2013. Prospects drafted in previous years by the front office to fill those holes were not working out. Something had to be done or Atlanta’s franchise Quarterback was going to have years knocked off his career.

Player Grades:

RDxxxx Playerxxxx Time playedxxxx Average Yearly AVxxxx Grade

1st – Jake Mathews (OL): played 31 games over 2 yearsxxx 8   A+

2nd – Ra’Shede Hageman (DT): played 32 games over 2 yearsxxx 3   C+

3rd – Dezmen Southward (S): played 19 games over 2 yearsxxx .5   D-

4th– Devonta Freeman (RB): played 31 games over 2 yearsxxx 7.5   A+

4th – Prince Shembo (LB): played 16 games for 1 yearxxx 1   C

5th – Ricardo Allen (DB): played 15 games over 2 yearsxxx 3   A+

5th – Marquis Spruill (LB): never played a gamexxx 0   F

7th – Yawin Smallwood (LB): never played a gamexxx 0   F

7th – Tyler Starr (LB): played 1 game over 2 yearsxxx 0   D

UD – James Stone (OL): played 19 games over 2 yearsxxx 3   B

2014 Draft Summary: 2 Year Draft Grade: B+ xxxxxDynasty Grade: A-

One would think that when a team drafts a Pro Bowl Player in the fourth round that the team should get an A for their draft grade, but when two of the nine players that were drafted never see the field, a third one is stuck on the practice squad, a fourth one only last a single season, and a fifth player washes out in his second season it becomes difficult to give the team an A. They did however receive a B+ for their 2 Year Draft Grade. That grade does include extra credit from Center James Stone who started nine games in 2014. Hageman, Freeman, and Allen all experience major production increases under new Head Coach Dan Quinn in 2015 after seeing minimal playing time in 2014. Continued success should push their 3 year grade up to an A. For the Dynasty grade to be an A the team should be retaining half their drafted players or more. The 2014 draft/undrafted yielded five players whom have seen time as starters and a practice squad player who will be working to earn a spot on the 53 man roster in 2016. They only have two years under their proverbial belts, but six out of ten is not bad! Since they are all still in their rookie contracts I gave a Dynasty Grade of an A- for 2014. I am looking forward to continued improvement from this class!

beasley,jarrett

Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett

2015 Draft

Rookie Head Coach Dan Quinn’s first NFL draft! Excitement surrounds the Falcon faithful to see what new gifts will be delivered through the draft for the upcoming season. There are numerous needs for a team that has been lacking in player development for several years.

Player Grades:

RDxxxx Playerxxxx Time playedxxxx Average Yearly AVxxxx Grade

1st – Vic Beasley (DE): played 16 games for 1 yearxxx 7   A+

2nd – Jalen Collins (CB): played 16 games for 1 yearxxx 1   D-

3rd – Tevin Coleman (RB): played 12 games for 1 yearxxx 3   B

4th – Justin Hardy (WR): played 9 games for 1 yearxxx 2   B-

5th – Grady Jarrett (DT): played 15 games for 1 yearxxx 2   A

7th – Jake Rodgers (OL): never played a gamexxx 0   F

7th – Akeem King (DB): played 5 games for 1 yearxxx 0   D

2015 Draft Summary: Year 1 Draft Grade: C+xxxxx Dynasty Draft Grade: B+

As many predicted, Atlanta selected Vic Beasley in the first round to help improve the team’s abysmal pass rush. The Jalen Collins pick in the second was a surprise to many. There was value in taking Running Back Tevin Coleman in the third. Roddy White’s possible successor was selected in the fourth. Then to the excitement of many Grady Jarrett fell all the way to the fifth round where the Falcons selected him. Both prospects taken in the seventh were unknowns to most. With only a single year to look at for production this class only receives a C+ and I thought that was a generous Year 1 Draft Grade. Mr. Rodgers, a seventh round pick did not even make the practice squad. Of the six remaining players all received playing time during their rookie year. This bodes well for the future of this class. They still have not earned their Dynasty Grady of a B+, but I expect them to continue to improve going into their second year under Dan Quinn.

Conclusion

retention

Player retention must improve.

There were twenty players drafted in the 2011, 2012, and the 2013 drafts. All but three of those players were on the Falcons for three or more years. Not including the undrafted there are currently eight of those twenty players still on the roster heading into the 2016 season. Six of the eight players were drafted in 2013 and all but Trufant are going into the final year of their rookie contracts. It will be interesting to see how many from the 2013 draft are resigned.

There were sixteen players drafted in 2014 and 2015 combined. Five of those players are no longer on the Falcons roster. Looking back beyond the 2011 draft there are only three players that the Falcons drafted who are still on Atlanta’s roster. Jonathan Babineaux a second round pick in 2005, Matt Ryan the third overall pick in 2008, and Sean Weatherspoon a first round pick in 2010 is back after a year in Arizona.

Why have the Falcons had such poor retention of players they selected in the Draft over the years? Has it been from poor drafting? How big a factor did the coaching staffs ability to develop players affect the retention rate? Sometimes the injury bug bites and that can severely affect a player’s career. There are only five players on the current roster that were drafted by the Falcons prior to 2013. The retention of draft picks must improve if Atlanta is ever going to find sustained success!

What grades would you give each of the drafts now that we know how the players perform?

Do you like the grading methodology or would you use something different?

Why do you think Atlanta has retained so few of their draft picks prior to the 2013 draft?

What should Atlanta have done differently to improve player retention?

What players from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 drafts have the best chance to spend eight plus years on the Falcon’s roster?

Do you think there will be a greater retention of draft picks under Coach Quinn? Why?

development

The man for better player development.

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399 thoughts on “Past Drafts: Player Contributions

  1. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Roger Godell writes apology letter to Saints after Falcons beat them out for the 2019 Super Bowl bid. Feels good to make them Aint’s whine about “it ain’t fair”. (thefalcoholic.com 5/27/16)

    Reply
    1. Chop Buster

      It’s been average for a while now. Hester us on the tail end of his career and Seems has become Fair Catch Freddie. It’s time to see what some of this young speed can do.

      Reply
    1. falcon21

      That is a really great and heart felt read Wings, thanks for sharing it my friend. When you go to Ross’s again, let me know!

      Reply
    2. Chop Buster

      That was a good read. Guess I should have read the article before asking if it was you. Sorry

      Reply
  2. Grits Blitz

    Wings – Awesome story about another quickly vanishing hero of WWII. Sadly, we are losing too many of them often now and, as a member of The Greatest Generation, they are non-replaceable. God bless each and every one of them. I still stand in awe of any of them and am blessed when I am anywhere near them. May their rewards in Heaven be great.
    Thank you, Wings.

    Reply
    1. JB Falcon

      Seems like the cage is picking up on what Memorial Day is all about. My real Dad fought in WWII, my Step Dad in Korea, and my brother in Vietnam. They have all passed away but, fortunately, none of them as the result of war. I am not a protester or militant or anything like that but I happen to think war, in itself, is the the most uncivilized action humans have ever done. The men, and women, who have gone into battle to defend our country were, indeed, some of the bravest among us. The fact that they had to shoot their fellow man just so their country could claim rule over another is a really, really a stupid way to prove superiority.
      We are supposed to be civilized but our past history and the current street violence makes me wonder.
      God bless America and especially all of those who gave their life to protect our Freedom.

      Reply
      1. Paddy O

        YOu have to be ready to defend yourself. WW2 was a necessity – think if Hitler had developed the A bomb instead of us?

        Reply
        1. Grits Blitz

          Paddy O – Fully agree with all 3 points!
          “Think Readiness” should be more than mere words to parrot because it “sounds” good.

          Reply
      2. Paddy O

        oddly, you really don’t contemplate your own doom while in the military – but, I was never deployed. The boys crossing the English Channel for D Day had to realize it.

        Reply
  3. Wings

    I am glad you guys liked the article. I did when I read it. Sgt. Melvin Rector appears to be at peace in front of the plane.

    My Uncle Ruben “Bud” Long was at Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, and later liberation of Paris. He was a snow skier in Patton’s army. He volunteered to fly in those wooden gliders as they were tested but was not aboard when they later went behind enemy lines. The stories of the troop ships in the rough N. Atlantic going to Britain with hundreds sea sick were unreal. He talked about the war occasionally, never skied again, and only went as far as the Gulf Coast from Buchanan GA in his lifetime. I know the war affected him.

    F21 it has been awhile since I have been to Ross’s, but I will let you know the next time.

    God Bless Them All!

    Reply
    1. Paddy O

      my friends grandfather was a glider pilot in WW2 – he actually did 5 missions – finding his way BACK to base each time. THAT is remarkable.

      Reply
      1. Grits Blitz

        Paddy O – Surviving ONE mission as glider pilot was bucking the odds. 5 missions? David and Goliath stuff! Unbelievably brave and totally blessed!

        Reply
  4. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Falcons set to receive over $5 mill in cap savings on June 1 due to releasing Paul Soliai. (thefalcoholic.com)

    Reply
    1. Chop Buster

      Flo, I don’t think Sanu and Hamlets in are the same type of players. For one, Sanu can take the ball to the house when he gets the ball on the move–Hank was slow and quick to go to the ground.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Chop – Sanu and Hankerson are similar in size and skill set. Just going by what I’ve seen on film over several seasons. RW was much faster.

        Reply
        1. Chop Buster

          What? I don’t know what their 40 times were, but there’s track speed and game speed. Sanu plays faster than I’ve ever seen Roddy play (even in his younger days). I just hope Ryan can lead him with the ball on a few quick slants and let him do the rest. Dude plays fast.

          Reply
          1. Flo-Ri-Duh

            Chop –
            Roddy White (WR)
            6′ 0″ 211 lb.
            4.47 40 (nfl.com)
            ……………………………
            Mohamed Sanu (WR)
            6’2″ 211 lb.
            4.67 40 (nfl.com)
            ……………………………..
            Leonard Hankerson (WR)
            6’2″ 209 lb.
            4.43 40 (nfl.com)
            ………………………………
            I’m comparing Hankerson & Sanu based more on their route running skill set. Both are better from the SLOT from what I have seen.

  5. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Have a good Memorial Day holiday but remember what it’s all about – the tremendous sacrifice made by our military to preserve the freedom of the USA. God bless all of you in the military – past and present.

    Reply
  6. PoolerSpirit

    I know we have a lot of vets in the Cage… I want to thank you all for your service to our country… Though it’s more of a Veterans Day poem than a Memorial Day poem, I thought I’d share this with you…

    A Soldier Died Today…

    By A. Lawrence Vaincourt

    He was getting old and paunchy
    And his hair was falling fast,
    And he sat around the Legion,
    Telling stories of the past.

    Of a war that he once fought in
    And the deeds that he had done,
    of his exploits with his buddies;
    They were heroes, every one.

    And ‘tho sometimes to
    his neighbours
    His tales became a joke,
    All his buddies listened quietly
    For they knew where of he spoke.

    But we’ll hear his tales no longer,
    For ol’ Bob has passed away,
    And the world’s a little poorer
    For a Soldier died today.

    He won’t be mourned by many,
    Just his children and his wife.
    For he lived an ordinary,
    Very quiet sort of life.

    He held a job and raised a family,
    Going quietly on his way;
    And the world won’t note
    his passing,
    ‘Tho a Soldier died today.

    When politicians leave this earth,
    Their bodies lie in state,
    While thousands note their passing,
    And proclaim that they were great.

    Papers tell of their life stories
    From the time that they
    were young;
    But the passing of a Soldier
    Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

    Is the greatest contribution
    To the welfare of our land,
    Some jerk who breaks his promise
    And cons his fellow man?

    Or the ordinary fellow
    Who in times of war and strife,
    Goes off to serve his country
    And offers up his life?

    The politician’s stipend
    And the style in which he lives,
    Are often disproportionate,
    To the service that he gives.

    While the ordinary Soldier,
    Who offered up his all,
    Is paid off with a medal
    And perhaps a pension, small.

    It is not the politicians
    With their compromise and ploys,
    Who won for us the freedom
    That our country now enjoys.

    Should you find yourself in danger,
    With your enemies at hand,
    Would you really want
    some cop-out,
    With his ever waffling stand?

    Or would you want a Soldier–
    His home, his country, his kin,
    Just a common Soldier,
    Who would fight until the end.

    He was just a common Soldier,
    And his ranks are growing thin,
    But his presence should remind us
    We may need his like again.

    For when countries are in conflict,
    We find the Soldier’s part
    Is to clean up all the troubles
    That the politicians start.

    If we cannot do him honour
    While he’s here to hear the praise,
    Then at least let’s give
    him homage
    At the ending of his days.

    Perhaps just a simple headline
    In the paper that might say:
    “OUR COUNTRY IS IN
    MOURNING,
    A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.”

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      PS – Thanks for the awesome poem!

      Thank you to each in the Cage who have and are serving! Your service has not gone unnoticed!

      Reply
    2. Grits Blitz

      PS – I saw an actor deliver this poem on YouTube today and thank you for sharing it with us. Indeed there are still some of us who are glad to be considered part of a grateful nation who do honor the sacrifices of our veterans and their families. Much obliged, PS!

      Reply
  7. SG

    Going off road a bit here but on this day where we remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, we enjoy the days off, the “holiday” sales and all the other over commercialized promotions that minimize that sacrifice while at this very moment my niece, along w/ thousands of others are serving 2nd tours or working on special forces, etc.. wondering when the madness will end.

    A beautiful tribute to the fallen; http://bit.ly/1VqTwIl

    Reply
    1. JB Falcon

      SG, here it is almost bedtime and I just watched that link. I’m grown and don’t cry but I almoct wanted to. I have spent this day with friends sharing stories about those who went before us and gave their lives for our country. Many of us do not realize that the ones who lost their lives and died to defend our country had a wife and kids at home who never got to see their loved one again.
      And they call this, as you said, a “holiday”. I, however, have spent, and shared, this day among friends who have discussed how stupid it is for anyone to kill another person for any reason whatsoever. I also with the over commercialization of a sacred day.

      Reply
      1. Paddy O

        we had a WW2 vet on our planning commission – was a retired Naval vet – the US did NOT know it would win those wars.

        Reply
    2. Paddy O

      Society does a better job remembering the fallen than even the 70’s/80’s – NASCAR had a name on each of the cars, and when that car was on camera, the announcer would tell you who that person was.

      Reply
    1. Chop Buster

      NFL

      Mike Nolan: Desperate Falcons should sign Dwight Freeney
      8:41 AM ET
      Vaughn McClure
      ESPN Staff Writer

      Former NFL head coach and ex-Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has coached pass-rushers 33 years of age or older, including Lawrence Taylor, John Abraham, Jason Taylor, and Osi Umenyiora.

      So Nolan, now a television and radio analyst who is scheduled to be on ESPN next month, offered his take on the Falcons bringing in 36-year-old Dwight Freeney for a visit this week. Freeney, who had eight sacks in 11 games with Arizona last season, is expected to be in Atlanta on Wednesday.

      “Dwight Freeney is a one-dimensional guy; does not play the run — ever — and only pass-rushes,” Nolan said. “His only move is his spin move, and it works. If he gets a young guy on him, he’s going to have two sacks in a game. He’s worth having. The thing is, if he’s their only pass-rusher, he’s just going to be so-so.”

      Nolan was the linebackers coach in San Diego the year after Freeney had four sacks in two seasons with the Chargers.

      “Now it’s two years later and at that time, they thought he was done,” Nolan said. “But look, they are in dire need in Atlanta. If they screw up again this year, there will probably be huge change. They’ve got to do whatever they’ve got to do. In my opinion, they shouldn’t care who they bring on, because they’ve got to save their asses. If that’s the case, then bring Freeney on.

      “If this was the New England Patriots, they’re not going to bring (Freeney) in. This would be a desperation move for Atlanta, but they’re in a desperate situation.”

      The Falcons finished with a league-low 19 sacks last season. They did not truly address the pass rush in free agency or the draft, although they did sign veteran Derrick Shelby to provide a push up the middle. And the Falcons expect second-year player Vic Beasley Jr. to take another huge step as a pass-rusher even though they are moving him to Sam linebacker.

      “I heard they moved Beasley to the drop linebacker? Well, I would rush him every down,” Nolan said. “That’s why they drafted him. They at least accumulated a few players (around Beasley). We didn’t have crap. They don’t have to make up anything. They need to stick with what (Beasley) does best.”

      Mike Nolan giving Falcons advice on fixing their pass rush? Saying he basically had nothing to work with. That’s very interesting.

      Reply
  8. John Waynesworld

    My memories of Nolan with the Falcons…

    Aviator sunglasses…
    Cat-who-ate-the-canary smile.
    His defense was good in his first year (2012) mainly because of John Abraham and got worse after John left.
    4-3…3-4…4-3?
    Cryptic quotes about personnel.
    Went from the lauded DC of the Falcons to a last second addition as a LB coach for the Chargers (a favor from his bff McCoy).

    Reply

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