Current State of the Roster

sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian

by Michael Chastain – just “lil ole” me

NFL Christmas (The Draft) is less than two months away and fans everywhere have begun their window shopping. Some will get Christmas early with a used toy; others will have to wait for Christmas weekend. Sadly enough not everyone will get the toy(s) they are wishing for. All the little Falcons in Atown and around the world are still trying to recover from the devastation that occurred less than a month ago when all their hopes and dreams were about to come true just before it all came crashing down. Many say it wasn’t the Sandman, but the Shanahan that turned their dream into a nightmare. Alas we have all awoken, most of us anyway, and a new day is dawning. This new day will bring new faces for us to look deep into (over analyze), cheer for, ridicule, and cheer for again! We will also have to say good bye to a few that we have loved in the past. The new hope and dream is for our beloved Falcons to take us on that majestic flight to the sacred Lombardi!

For those who are still reading I will stop trying to channel some well written wordsmith whose name I cannot seem to recall and get into the current state of the Atlanta Falcon’s roster. Let us begin with some numbers. There are currently 46 active players on Atlanta’s roster for the 2017 season. The Falcons have 27 players who will become some type of Free Agent on March 9th. Of those 27 players 18 are Unrestricted Free Agents (they can sign with any team they want to), 4 Restricted Free Agents (Atlanta has the right to match any offer a player receives from another team), and 5 Exclusive Rights Free Agents (they cannot negotiate with any other team if Atlanta places a veteran minimum tender on them). At the time this was being written the Falcons have 28.8 million in salary cap space. Only the 51 highest paid players count against the salary cap. For those who are thinking there is no way the team will fill the 80-90 man roster that most team field during training camp with football players and not just cardboard figures there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Beginning with the Quarterback position I will look at what the team has, what the team needs, possible resignings, possible free agent signings, and what might happen in the draft. Please understand that I don’t have Mayock time or skills to analyze the draft prospects. The ones I present are based off limited knowledge and information. I hope to have a better feel for the draft prospects after the combine and pro days!


THE OFFENSE

Quarterback:

Starter: Matt Ryan – 2016 NFL MVP, Need I say more?

Backup(s): None! There was only one backup Quarterback on the 53 man roster in 2016.

Expectations: Three Quarterbacks will be brought in to compete for the backup spot. Matt Schaub knows the offense, but he made 2.75 million in 2016, which is more that the team can afford to spend on a backup Quarterback in 2017, and he might be on his way to the 49ers if he wants one last shot as a full time starter. Two other veteran Quarterbacks that could possibly be brought in since they both have some familiarity with the system in Atlanta are Brian Hoyer and Josh McCown. Hoyer might resign with the Bears since it is rumored that they will be parting with Jay Cutler. McCown would probably be a one year signing at the veteran minimum. At the age of 38 can he still play the game? Can McCown overcome the recent rash of injuries he has endured behind the Browns Offensive Line?

Two, off the beaten path, possibilities are Adam Kennedy and Keith Price. Kennedy currently plays in the Arena Football League, but he played under the Falcons new Quarterback coach at Arkansas State in 2013 and posted a 69.1 completion percentage on 314 pass attempts. Price currently plays in the Canadian Football League, but played under Coach Sarkisian at Washington from 2010 -2013. Price was a three year starter whose completion percentage was over 60% each year. He threw for 33 touchdowns his sophomore year.

Finally rookie possibilities! Who wants a rookie to fill in if Ryan gets injured? I don’t see Coach Quinn drafting a Quarterback before the sixth round if at all. Most likely one or two get brought in as undrafted rookies. Personally, I like Davis Webb out of Cal. I think he is a better player than last year’s number one draft pick. But, he is currently projected to be drafted early on the third day. My guess is that he will be drafted on day two. Three possible undrafted rookies are Seth Russell (Baylor), Wes Lunt (Illinois), and Brady Gustafson (Montana). All three had good college production. Lunt looked good during the Shrine game. Russell is one of the top passers to come through Baylor, but has had a couple of nasty injuries to deal with. Gustafson has the size and production for the NFL, he will need to show that he can handle the increased speed of the game.

missed

“Hey- have you seen my agent?”

Running Back:

Starter: Devonta Freeman – Freeman has been the workhorse and excelled in the Atlanta offense the past two years. He has broken the 1,000 yard rushing barrier twice and scored 11 rushing touchdowns each of the past two seasons. The problem is we all remember what looked to be his missed blocking assignment on that 3rd down play in the Super Bowl. It was like a slap in the face after Freeman’s agent was calling for Freeman to get paid for his production prior to the Super Bowl. One play does not show the worth of a player, but it can leave a lasting impression on the fans. The Front Office will need to make a decision on Freeman before this time next year, but I do not expect an extension for him until after all the drafted rookies are signed. By then there will be a better idea about how much cap space will be available for the team to work with.

Backups: Tevin Coleman, Terron Ward – Coleman was slated to be the starter at the beginning of the 2015 season before injury opened the door for Freeman who took the reins and hasn’t let go. Coleman has shown improvement over the past two seasons and was a major contributor in 2016 with 8 rushing touchdowns. Ward is a scrapper that has managed to fight off all contenders for the third Running Back spot. Ward only made the game day roster five times in 2016, but he made the most of his opportunities by increasing his average yards per carry from 3.3 in 2015 to 4.9 in 2016.

Expectations: This is the stable of Running Backs that has carried the rock through the past two seasons. I expect the team to bring in a lesser known free agent or two and a couple UDRFAs to compete in camp. I do not expect any changes to the stable this year unless someone gets hurt or one of the UDRFAs beats out Ward for the third Running Back spot. One possible UDRFA that might unseat Ward is DeAngelo Henderson out of Coastal Carolina. He averaged over six yards per carry and had over 90 receptions. Henderson has good vision and a sweet jump cut. He’s a bowling ball built similar to Freeman at 5’7” 209 pounds. He would be an interesting signing to watch if he’s not drafted.

There are many who feel that the team should carry a power back as the third Running Back for short yardage situations. During the 2016 season the third Running Back was only active for 5 games. Coach Quinn only had three Running Backs active for three regular season games. The other thirteen games only two Running Backs were active. This shows that Coach Quinn values other positions, for the 45 man active game day roster, over the Running Back position.

ward

Terron Ward

Fullback:

Starter: None!

Backup: None!

Expectations: Dimitroff has said that the team is interested in resigning Patrick DiMarco. He was the only fullback on the roster in 2016 and he is an unrestricted free agent. He was active for all 16 regular season games. He was primarily a blocking back and never carried the ball. He did have seven receptions during the season. New Offensive Coordinator Sarkisan likes to use double Tight End sets. This will take away even more from the Fullback role on the team. A decision might be made to not carry a Fullback and use a Tight End or Lineman in the backfield the few times a blocking back might be needed if DiMarco is not resigned.

If Coach Quinn wants a Fullback for 2017 it should not be an expensive signing. There are only five Fullbacks in the league that make more than a million per year, so a Fullback should not break the bank. Kyle Juszczyk is the best Fullback on the market and could arguably be an upgrade, but would he sign with a team that will reduce his snaps? The price tag on Juszczyk would also be higher than DiMarco.

Look for one maybe two Fullbacks to be brought in as UDRFAs even if the team decides to cut the Fullback position from the roster. Extra bodies are always needed for the various drills and situations that are ran through in camp. Somebody has to play the oppositions Fullback in practice!

Wide Receiver:

Starters: Julio Jones, Moe Sanu – Julio is going to be Matt Ryan’s number one for years! Sanu came in and played much better than I expected during his first season in Atlanta. His production should improve in his second season as he improves the chemistry with Ryan.

Backups: Justin Hardy, BJ Daniels, Devin Fuller, Anthony Dable – Of the current backups only Hardy had any receptions in 2016 and could potentially become the starting slot receiver. Daniels is a converted Quarterback who is learning the Wide Receiver position. He is not overly fast, but could compete for a spot on the back end of the roster. Fuller is the seventh round pick from 2016 that was brought in to be a returner before a shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve. Look for him to compete for a returner and receiver position. Dable is a 28 year old Frenchman who started playing football when he was 19 years old. He is 6’4” 224 pounds and runs a sub 4.5 forty. It will be interesting to see how he performs in camp.

Expectations: Eric Weems and Aldrick Robinson are both unrestricted free agents. Even though Weems did not catch a ball in 2016 there is a chance that he will be resigned just to play on Special Teams. Robinson will probably sign with another team, most likely the 49ers. Nick Williams price as an exclusive rights free agent is as cheap as it gets. It would be a 1 year deal at the minimum salary. There is no reason not to tender Williams unless the coaches feel like he does not have anything to offer the team. Taylor Gabriel was fourth on the team in receptions and tied Julio for the most receiving touchdowns with six. As a restricted free agent it is expected that a 2nd round tender (1 year at 2.85 million) will be placed on him. Taylor knows the system and made a number catches at critical moments in games.

The teams needs at the Wide Receiver position is mainly the slot and backup positions where some younger guys currently on the roster may step up to fill. Some options from the free agent market include slot receiver Adam Thielen, Marquess Wilson, and Josh Gordon. Thielen is a shifty slot receiver in the mold of Wes Welker and Julian Edelman, but he is a restricted free agent and if he gets first or second round tender then Atlanta will not sign him. Wilson was a promising receiver whose career has been derailed by injury. Can he stay healthy is the question. Gordon was a star in the making and can still be if he can overcome his off the field issues. Atlanta has the coaching staff and locker room that can help Gordon get back on track. A performance incentives based veteran minimum contract would be the way to go with him just in case he backsildes. Imagine Matt Ryan having Julio, Sanu, Gabriel, and Gordon on the field at the same time!

Don’t look for Coach Quinn to draft a Wide Receiver before day three. Many Georgia fans would love to hear Isaiah McKenzie’s named call when the Falcons are picking. He can come in and play outside or in the slot. He is quick, shifty, and fast. McKenzie is also a proven return man which is an area that needs major improvement! Here are some other out of the spot light prospects that could be brought in. Travin Dural had modest production at LSU. He is a player in the mold of Odell Beckham, but he has a much lower projection than Beckham did. Victor Bolden Jr (Oregon St) is a smaller receiver that has nice return skills. He was used sparingly as a returner at Oregon State because he played a heavy role in the offense. Robert Davis (Georgia St) is 6’2” 225 pounds and put up impressive numbers at Georgia State. He has experience in a pro-style offense, but still needs to improve his game.

hooper

Austin Hooper

Tight Ends:

Starters: Austin Hooper – Headed into his second season he still has numerous areas of his game that need improvement!

Backups: Josh Perkins, Darion Griswold, Brian Vogler – Perkins had 3 receptions and a touchdown this past season. He is more suited as an H back than an inline tight end. Griswold had his rookie season end before it began when he was injured in the Colts camp. This former basketball player out of Arkansas State shows good hands and the ability to block. He also spent some time lined up in the back field as a blocker for the Red Wolves. He will be one to watch in camp to see if he can perform in Sarkisian’s Offense. Former Alabama Tight End Vogler is considered a blocking tight end with only average blocking skills. He is tall at 6’7” but he will be fighting an uphill battle to be more than a camp body in August.

Expectations: A second starting quality tight end is needed for Coach Sarkisian’s system. Jacob Tamme and Levine Toilolo will be unrestricted free agents. They each played 32% and 55% of Atlanta’s offensive snaps in 2016 respectively. Hooper was the only other tight end with significant playing time (39%). Tamme has always been a receiving tight end and is getting up in age. Toilolo has been a project from the day he was drafted and has shown some improvement. Of the two Toilolo is the most likely to be resigned since he is only 25 years old. According to DImitroff they are currently working on resigning him. He did have the highest yards per reception (20.3) on the team in 2016. DJ Tialavea is an exclusive rights free agent that will probably be tendered. He is considered to be a very good blocking tight end with decent hands. His only reception in 2016 went for a touchdown.

The free agent tight end class is not as good as the tight end draft class this year. Two possible free agent tight ends that Atlanta might consider are Trey Burton and Mychal Rivera. Both are in their mid 20s and have their best football ahead of them. Burton is a mismatch guy for opposing defenses. He has also spent some time at fullback. Coach Quinn has some familiarity with Burton as they were both at the University of Florida at the same time. Trey is a restricted free agent and could be tendered by the Eagles. If so do not expect the Falcons to pursue him. Rivera has experience in a two tight end system. He has soft hands and his blocking has improved from his rookie season. If signed he would have to come in and compete for a roster spot.

The draft is the most likely place that Atlanta will bring in a tight end that will get significant snaps in 2017. There is a good possibility that Falcons fans will hear a tight ends name called on day 3 possibly as high as the fourth round. Here are some prospects to watch from this year’s strong tight end draft class. Bucky Hodges (Virginia Tech) is an oversized wide receiver. He was rarely asked to block during his college playing time which will be an area of his game that he will need to work diligently at. This former quarterback has been projected as early as the first round and as late as the fifth round. Jake Butt (Michigan) spent the last two years in Jim Harbaughs pro-style offense. He is a solid option as a blocker and receiver. Jake is currently projected to be drafted between rounds 3 and 5. Michael Roberts (Toledo) is a former basketball player with great hands. He has experience as an inline blocker which will fit nicely into Sarkisian’s offense. Expect him to be drafted on the third day. Pharoh Brown (Oregon) was on everyone’s radar until a gruesome knee injury ended his 2014 season. He did not play again until 2016 when he put up good numbers. Many teams will remove him from their draft boards because of the uncertainty of how well his knee will hold up to NFL play. He might get drafted on day 3, but will most likely be an UDRFA.

schweitzer-chester

Wes Schweitzer, Chris Chester

Offensive Line:

Starters: Jake Mathews, Andy Levitre, Alex Mack, Ryan Schraeder – The team is returning four of the five players who started every game in 2016! They meshed well as a unit and will hopefully continue to improve their chemistry.

Backups: Wes Schweitzer, Kevin Graf, Carter Bykowski, Blake Muir, Trevor Robinson – Schweitzer was drafted in the 6th round of the 2016 draft and competed with Chris Chester for the starting right guard position. Look for him to compete for the starting right guard spot in 2017. Graf has spent most of his NFL career on the practice squad of various teams. He will be a long shot to make the 53 man roster. Bykowski spent time with the 49ers and Vikings before joining the Falcons practice squad in 2016. Look for him to compete for a roster spot as the swing tackle. Muir is an Australian born Guard that did not begin playing football until his senior year in high school. He played two years for the University of Hawaii before transferring to Baylor. Muir was signed to Atlanta’s practice squad in November and has been improving his game on a daily basis. It will be interesting to see how the Aussie performs in camp. Robinson started 13 games at center for the Chargers during the 2015 season, but did not play well as a run or pass blocker; Pro Football Focus graded him as the worst offensive lineman in the NFL. He is a long shot to make the 53 man roster.

Expectations: At the Combine Press Conferences Thomas Dimitroff and Coach Quinn informed the press that the team was looking to improve the offensive and defensive lines this offseason. At a minimum expect new blood at right guard in 2017.

Chris Chester and Tom Compton are both unrestricted free agents. Many considered Chester, who started all 16 games, to be the weak link in Atlanta’s offensive line. Compton was active for all 16 games as the swing tackle. Ben Garland, a restricted free agent, played on the offensive and defensive lines. Look for the 28 year old to be resigned as a backup due to his versatility.

Some free agents that may get a look are J.C. Tretter, Ronald Leary, Patrick Omameh, and Austin Pasztor. They are all under 28 years old and each of them graded out well per Pro Football Focus. The lowest grade of the group was at a 77, compared to Tom Compton’s 50 and Chris Chesters 62.5 any of these players would be an upgrade. Tretter started at center for the Packers before he was injured. He can also play guard. Leary has developed into a solid lineman, but he lost his starting job to Lael Collins in 2015. He did start some games in 2016 when Collins was injured. Ronald was basically the 6th lineman on arguably the best line in the NFL. Omameh has bounced around to a number of teams since 2013. He started at guard for Jacksonville after Luke Joeckel went down with an injury. Omameh played well until he sustained a foot injury and was placed on injured reserve. Pasztor has started 43 games at either guard/tackle since 2012. He could come in and be the 6th man on the offensive line filling in at guard and tackle.

The draft is the most likely place the Falcons will acquire a new starting right guard from. The pick at 31 could be Dan Feeney from Indiana. Feeney has great footwork and does well run and pass blocking. He will not last until the end of the second round and might be gone before Atlanta picks at 31. Jordan Morgan out of Kutztown is a third to fifth round prospect who played tackle in college but he projects as a guard in the NFL. He played well against the lower level of competition and has the skill set to succeed in the NFL. Even if the Falcons sign a starting Guard in free agency expect them to draft an offensive lineman at some point to develop.

feeney

Dan Feeney


Coming next week: stay tuned for the next installment by just “lil ole” me, The Defense and Special Teams.

Advertisements

128 thoughts on “Current State of the Roster

  1. Chop Buster

    Thanks for keeping new material going JLOM. It’s a lot of information to digest. I can only imagine the decisions and evaluation process Quinn and staff has to go through. Guess that’s why they get paid the big 💰💰💰!

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Chop – You are most welcome! Atlanta’s staff spends endless hours evaluating the current player, the free agent players, and all the draft eligible prospects. Someone on the NFL network was talking the other day about watching film on prospects. He said you can watch the same film on a prospect four times and find something new each time. That’s a ton of hours!

      Reply
      1. Chop Buster

        I’m sure most fans do not understand the amount of time evaluating a player to select the right one that will fit with your offense or defense. Thanks for the info.

        Reply
  2. PoolerSpirit

    Good job JLOM! Count me as one who thinks we need a power back. We can draft one in the middle rounds… I like James Connor from Pitt, others like the big heavy guy from Oklahoma Samaje Perine… but I think we gotta get a back who can push the line of scrimmage to pick up a third and one or a fourth and one… They’ll cost Ward his spot on the roster, but that’s not too much to give up. And I think Quinn will agree that a third team power back should be active much more than Ward was last year…

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      PS – Thanks! There is a good chance that only two running backs were active because the third back on the roster did not bring anything extra to the table by being active. A power back would add an extra dimension to the offense. I personally would like to see the fullback fill that power back role and use someone like Garland as a blocking back in front of him. You could run play action and run pass option(RPO) plays off of the set to keep the defense honest! It might even turn a short yardage down into a long gain if the defense is crowding the line.

      Reply
  3. John Waynesworld

    Fine job, JLOM. Informative and right on the money in some cases. DeAngelo Henderson caught my eye at the Combine. He ran a 4.48 Forty twice and caught the ball easily for a short but stout guy. In fact he performed well at every event. He could easily be a 7th, unless he has some red flag.

    Austin Pasztor is one I like too. He played with Alex Mack in Cleveland and started on the O-Line with him the last 4 games of the 2015 season.

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      JWW – Thanks! Pasztor graded out well according to Pro Football Focus, He can play OT and OG spots!

      From what little video I have seen on DeAngelo Henderson he is shifty, has good vision, and soft hands. I don’t know much about his blocking ability. He could be a steal in the 7th or as an UDRFA. I think the team has to plan for the possibility the Freeman’s agent wants to break the bank. Having an extra back behind Freeman that can produce will help give the team some extra leverage. Don’t get me wrong, Freeman deserves to make his money. He has played extremely well the past two seasons, but I don’t think the team can afford to drop 10+ million a year on him.

      Reply
  4. John Waynesworld

    Quinn and Ryan may be confortable with the Tight End spot. Hooper is already a weapon going into his 2nd year. If they re-sign Toilolo it’s basically the same good group as at the end of last year. All are young and contractually cheap no matter how much Toilolo’s agent demands.

    Reply
  5. The Time is NOW

    Thank you, jlom! Your perspective looks spot on to me.

    I had forgotten about Dable. After seeing his name in your roster review, I remembered liking him when we signed him. Dable is one I will be watching with interest.

    As far as FB, I agree we can find quality at a reasonable price if DiMarco doesn’t sign before FA. (I suspect the guy who invented the term”brothership” will be back.) Seems like Gus Johnson looked good in training camp last year, but he may be on somebody else’s roster now.

    Looking forward to the next installment, my friend. Thanks for taking the time to give the Cage a comprehensive and substantive roster review!

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Time – You are most welcome! Dable has great size and athletic ability. It will be interesting to see how well his receiving skills have developed! As for Mooney he will be 31 this season and is currently a free agent. I have not looked at this years fullback draft class yet. I usually find one or two fullback prospects that I like each year. If DiMarco doesn’t resign his replacement might be a rookie. I just don’t see the team drafting a fullback with one of the six picks we currently have.

      Reply
  6. falcon21

    JLOM, outstanding and a homerun. I’m “still” reading your post. I just wanted to show my appreciation for your fine work and I’m looking forward to more my friend!!!

    Reply
  7. The Time is NOW

    From McClure:

    Falcons say Julio Jones does have an appointment on Monday with Dr. Robert Anderson to determine if he needs to remove a bunion on his foot, but the team emphasized no decision on surgery has been made just yet, although surgery is possible. Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday Jones had an appointment next week to determine the status of the injury and how to proceed.

    Reply
  8. Flo-Ri-Duh

    JLOM – Got here late to see your new post. Very well researched and thought out. Thanks. Comments to follow when I get a chance to read in detail. Midnight here.

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Flo – Thanks! I hope you find the read thought provoking! It’s 2 am here, but I have had trouble sleeping the past few weeks. I definitely have to improve my sleep pattern!

      Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Wings – Thanks! I wanted to add more to it, but I was afraid it would be too long! It was already looooong.

      Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Flo – I liked Roberts before the combine, but bot him and Sprinkle lumber and did not run very good routes. Shaheen was in the high 4.7s, but he’s 270 pounds. Shaheen caught the ball well. From looking at the various sights some think he is a solid day 2 pick.

      I want to do some research on TEs Darrel; Daniels (Washington) and Greg Kittle (Iowa). Kittle look better of the two. Both are currently projected as day 3 prospects.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        jlom – Michael Roberts (TE) may be more of what they want. He’s supposed to be an excellent blocker who can catch the ball. Sort of an improved version of Toyboy if he’s for real. Shaheen has been my my favorite “sleeper” prospect from the beginning. If he’s there in the 4th I’m drafting him because he’s a TD machine in the red-zone.

        Reply
        1. just "little ole" me

          Flo check out the link for George Kittle I posted below. Watch how he blocks Purdue’s defensive lineman.

          Reply
  9. Grits Blitz

    JLOM – Concise, informative, accurate, and honest presentation! Thank you. Hope DQ makes it required reading for his staff to further glean some good ideas!

    Reply
  10. Flo-Ri-Duh

    John Ross (WR) just set a new record for the combine 40 time : 4.22 40! At the end of the run he came up limping. If I was him I would be on the next plane out. He’s a top 10 pick.

    * Just in – Ross says it’s cramps and not an injury. He says he can do better and may take his second run. Why chance it?

    Reply
    1. rumplestiltskin

      if Tommy Dimitroff were still in charge, you’d better believe we’d be taking a look at moving up to get him.

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        rumple – If they don’t keep an eye on Dimwitroff he may a dash for the podium. He’s addicted to trading up & can’t help it. We gonna put a chain on that boy!

        Reply
  11. Hamad Meander

    Raiders trading up to get John Ross. Oh wait, those were the old Al Davis days…..but you know they would.

    Reply
  12. JJ

    Tres bien JLOM and thanks for all your contributions for the Cage!!!
    Had to read your column twice cause it had so much research and facts I didn’t know. Really shows how much time you put into it!
    Agree with the majority of your analysis except maybe Dimarcco, a really good blocking FB who can also catch.
    I think it was Poolerspirit last yr who brought up how impt our Dimarcco was for our RB’s.

    Would love to see OG and DT in our first 3rds. If no FA starter OG, that has to be the pick at 31.

    Anyway, Great job MR CHASTAIN, nothing little ” ole me” about it! Looking FWD to your defensive analysis!
    ps- Weems needs to go, regardless!

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      JJ – Merci! I agree that a good blocking Fullback is important to have. I just question how many snaps a Fullback will get in Sarkisian’s offense. If DiMarco resigns for a reasonable price I will be ecstatic. I just don’t think the team can afford to pay him over a million per year.

      I think that definitely one if not all three of the teams first three picks will be used to improve the trenches on either/both sides of the ball.

      Reply
    1. JB Falcon

      If we were to hire Humperdick I would absolutely change teams! Your brain is going to rot out for even thinking that!

      Reply
      1. JJ

        Agree, zero chance like most of flo’s changing picks draft board—not happening!!!

        Think the kids will behave tomm in ATL???

        Reply
          1. JJ

            Few wrecks are understandable but a whole daytonna race of wrecks, worst daytonna ive ever seen. And Jr. needs to wise up Jeffrey cause he caused 2 of them. Just unhappy how the racing went last sunday, on top of falcons.

          2. JB Falcon

            Yep, the entire race and the new format has really given me some doubts about the future of racing.

  13. rumplestiltskin

    just “little ole” me,

    best read on falcons I’ve seen in a long time. excellent analysis. great background work. the “d” is where I expect to see big changes and improvements. can’t wait for your analysis on that side of the ball. I’m appreciating more and more Quinn’s eye for talent where it pertains to how players fit in his system. I’m sure we’ll all be in for a few shocks with free agency and the draft. If Quinn’s not careful, he might wind up being a very successful GM one day. When he does, I’ll be sure to mention you to him as an assistant GM.

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      rumplestiltskin – Thanks! I have questioned some of Quinn’s selections the first two years, but I can’t argue with the production we have seen from those draft picks. I look forward to see who the selections will be this year as DQ continues to mold this team into Champions!

      Reply
  14. The Time is NOW

    Observations from the TE forty times:

    Evan Ingram made some money with a 4.42 forty (Walter projected him coming in at 4.6).
    David Njoku, Gerald Everett, Bucky Hodges, and Jonnu Smith all came in with better than projected times; Jeremy Sprinkle hit his projected time of 4.7.
    Adam Shaheen and Michael Roberts were losers in the 40 sweepstakes, with Shaheen coming in at 4.79 (projected 4.58), and Roberts at 4.86 (projected 4.74).
    George Kittle (Iowa) burst onto my radar with a 4.52 time – I have found little about him thus far…

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Time – Kittle played through a foot injury the second half of 2016. He can block and catch the ball. Check the link below that has an interestin write up on him and a number of game clips. Watch how he runs away from the defense on the touchdown catch. His ability to block DEs is way better than I expected. He also does a great job turning his block to create running lanes! His one handed catch is nice also!

      https://www.landof10.com/iowa/iowa-tight-end-george-kittle-a-freak-athlete-and-dominating-blocker

      Reply
      1. The Time is NOW

        Let’s see, a good sized TE, from a major conference, playing in a ZBS system, rated by one PFF writer as the best run blocking TE in the class (by far), who runs a 4.5 forty, and makes one handed catches…

        Count me in.

        Reply
    2. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Austin Hooper (TE) ran a 4.72 40 at the nfl.com. He measured out at 6’4″ 254 lb. 19 reps bench press, 33″ vertical jump, 117 ” broad jump, 7 seconds 3 cone drill, 4.32 seconds 20 yd. shuttle, 11.93 seconds 60 yd shuttle. (nfl.com)

      Adam Shaheen (TE), 4.79 40, He measured out at 6’6″ 277lb, 24 reps bench press, 32.5″ vertiacl jump, 121″ broad jump, 7.09 seconds 3 cone drill, 4.38 seconds 20 yd shuttle, 12.38 sec 60 yd shuttle (nfl.com)

      Jadaveon Clowney (DE), ran a 4.53 40. He measured out at 6’5″ 266 lb. 21 reps bench press, 37.5 vetical jump, 124 ” broad jump, 7.27 ” 3 cone drill, 4.43 seconds 20 yd shuttle

      * I wouldn’t expect Shaheen to have the “freak” speed of Jadaveon Clowney at 2″ taller and 11 lb. heavier…. but Shaheen is actually stronger in his upper body than either Hooper or Clowney and he was faster in the 3 cone drill and 20 yd shuttle than Clowney. He was almost as fast as Hooper in the 40 at 2″ taller and 23 lb. heavier. I don’t see him being a disappointment.

      Reply
      1. The Time is NOW

        Flo – By all accounts I have read, Shaheen helped himself at the combine, particularly in the drills. He looked like he belonged. I noticed his 40 time last night, and compared it to the expected time from Walter – then jumped to an erroneous conclusion. I still like him…

        Reply
  15. Dewey

    JLOM,

    As someone who has attacked this particular project twice in the past for the Cage, let me say “CONGRATULATIONS!”. Excellent work. Wonderful read. Very detailed in every aspect. I know first hand the amount of time it takes to put a piece like this together and I must say, so far it’s magnificent.

    I too have had my eye on Henderson from CC. He’s most likely a third day pick (4th/5th round). I would think since his style is very similar to Devonta/Tevin/Ward, drafting him would mean the braintrust is looking at a possible future without Devonta or Tevin….Ward would be out this year. I’m also interested in the big back from Oklahoma. It would be nice to have someone who can dish out punishment to a tired defense late in the game.

    I like Butt from Michigan (c’mon, a TE named Butt….the jokes write themselves). Seriously though, he would have been a 1st/2nd rounder had he not blown out his knee late in the season. If we could grab Butt in the 4th (told you, they write themselves), he might be ready by the last half of the season. Then moving forward, a 2TE set of Hooper and Butt would cause the kind of matchup nightmares Gronk and Hernandez unleashed on the NFL not too long ago. (Incedentally, this is the kind of player NE, with all their mid-round picks, grabs a round earlier than expected for just this reason, f’in Patriots).

    Finally, I also like Morgan from Kutztown as a later round project. He’ll have to learn OG, but given his background, you know he has the fortitude to stick with it. Coupled with the scouting reports on his skill set, Morgan could be a late round steal that pays off huge dividends in 2018 and many years to come.

    Once again, excellent piece. BRAVO! Can’t wait to read your thoughts on the defense and special teams.

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Dewey – Thanks! I would love it if we picked up Henderson on Day 3, but unless we add some extra picks by trading down I doubt that we select a running back in the draft. I think a tight end selection is much more possible. I have to say that after today’s combine and a little research, I really like George Kittle! He is a complete TE who played in a pro-system and was an in-line TE who blocked DEs. Checkout the link I posted above when you get time!

      I agree that Morgan will be developmental. I think unless we sign a guard in free agency that we will draft one in the first two rounds to play this year. I didn’t include Lamp because I think he will be gone long before pick 31. Feeney is a plug and play guard who can fill in at center and tackle if needed.

      Reply
  16. The Time is NOW

    From the combine (stats from Walter) –

    Defensive lineman with under 20 reps in the bench:
    Tarell Basham, Fadol Brown, Bryan Cox, Davon Godchaux, Daeshon Hall, Jaleel Johnson, Avery Moss, and Demarcus Walker.

    Offensive lineman with under 20 reps in the bench:
    Daniel Brunskill, Julie’n Davenport, Chase Roullier, David Sharpe, Sam Tevi, Jon Toth, Jerry Ugokwe, and Chad Wheeler.

    Reply
    1. JB Falcon

      And we would be interested in a girly man as a lineman? I thought linemen should be strong. Just asking. It would seem to me that squats would be a good measurement, as in throw 350 lbs back three yards.

      Reply
          1. JB Falcon

            I don’t think so but I’m not sure. No, they just said Jr is 3 laps down. I fear Jr might turn into another Kyle Petty.

    2. Paddy O

      remember Peter Konz – also had poor upper body strength, and was considered the #1 C In that draft. You want strong lineman; their 40 times are pretty irrelevant.

      Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Wings – I never thought Shan was a bad person but something is missing if there are only two things you care about: family & football. At least it’s not all about him.

      Reply
  17. falcon21

    Non football comment, my son and his wife were just blessed with twin baby girls, I now have 6 grandchildren. HAPPY HAPPY

    Reply
    1. PoolerSpirit

      Congratulations F21… Such a blessing! And grandchildren are so much nicer/better than children!!!!

      Reply
      1. JB Falcon

        So it’s now “PawPaw 21” x 6? The more you spoil them the more your own kids appreciate the job you did.

        Reply
    2. Greg Mendel

      Big congrats, F21! Twins. Wow! We had a girl and a boy two years apart. That was enough of a challenge. We vowed not to be outnumbered.

      Reply
  18. The Time is NOW

    The best 10 yard split for a RB in this year’s combine was 1.59, followed by two at 1.6, and 1.65. The slowest 10 yard split by a RB was 1.72.

    Here are the DL prospects who had a 10 yard split of 1.70 or less:
    Derek Barnett (1.70), Tarell Basham (1.61), Tashawn Bower (1.66), Dylan Donohue (1.67), Ken Ekanem (1.68), Myles Garrett (1.63), Daeshon Hall (1.67), Charles Harris (1.65), Trey Hendrickson (1.59), Tanoh Kpassagnon (1.69), Carl Lawson (1.60), Malik McDowell (1.69), Takkarist McKinley (1.61), Avery Moss (1.67), Ifeadi Odenigbo (1.66), Carroll Phillips (1.64), Ejuan Price (1.66), Hasson Reddick (1.59), Derek Rivers (1.61), Dawuane Smoot (1.68), Pita Taumoepenu (1.66), Solomon Thomas (1.66), Eddie Vanderdoes (1.70), Tim Williams (1.64), Jordan Willis (1.54 – NOT a typo), and Deatrich Wise (1.70).

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      Hasson Reddick (6’2″ 237 lb.) is as close as there is in this draft to what DQ wants in a LB. 6’2″ 237lb., 4.52 40 time. Beasley (4.53 40), 6’3″ 246 lb. & Dion Jones (4.59 40), 6’1″ , 222 lb. Problem is, according to Mayock at the combine, Reddick almost exclusively played DE. Can he be a LB?

      Reply
      1. Grits Blitz

        Why not? (Would prefer Vic as a fulltime LB, too.) They could continue to rush as blitzing LBs. As DEs, doubt their effectiveness as stopping RBs’ ground game lacking size to man-up with OTs. Their size, over a 16-game season (+ playoffs), trying to play as a 3-down DE, is a disadvantage.
        Trust DQ will eventually figure it out as their speed – coming off both corners – would likely be a thing of beauty!

        Reply
    1. JB Falcon

      Coincidently the race today was much like this past SB. Harvick led 292 of 325 laps and finished 9th. The winner only has to lead one lap.

      Reply
      1. Paddy O

        Harvick got royally screwed. Not sure how Brad got his self up front. Pretty happy with Kenseth’s finish. Pit road speeding penalty is too severe.

        Reply
    1. Grits Blitz

      Flo – Smart of DQ to assess the waters now for affordable resigning before FA & the draft. If Tru’s “demands” are over-the-top, then I can see a possible trade would be more viable alternative. Good to know this important info up-front for leverage – one way or the other!

      Reply
      1. Flo-Ri-Duh

        Grits – Indeed. With such a deep draft at the CB position DQ has the negotiating edge…. sign/trade BEFORE the draft. Let’s make a deal. I went a different route in my latest mock – traded away Jalen Collins (CB) and drafted another one in Rd #3.

        Reply
  19. John Waynesworld

    My first take on Group #1 of DBs at the Combine…

    A lot of 1st round talent but more players are losing money than making money with their 40 times. Almost all are in the 4.4s to 4.6s range. Best runs so far by Adoree Jackson and Shaq Griffin (4.39). Some of the top DBs could fall into the 2nd round, meaning they will be there when we pick.

    The DBs’ 2nd 40 times are coming in…as good or worse than the 1st times. No more sub 4.4s here. The 2 players mentioned above also had the best 2nd tries but were a tad slower than their first times.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      JWW – there were so many DB’s that they had to run in two groups – the second group is amazing. Never seen this much DB talent in one draft. Falcons should get one in the draft by the 3rd Rd. Just can’t pass on this talent.

      Reply
  20. falcon21

    I want to thank all of you guys. The girls are small, 4.7, 4.5 but are doing well. They will remain in the hospital at least another week because of their size but all is good. Again, many thanks to you all.

    Reply
    1. just "little ole" me

      Glad to hear that the girls are doing well! We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

      Reply
  21. John Waynesworld

    Combine update…

    The 2nd group of DBs has some faster times and are jumping out of the gym. Marshon Lattimore blistering 4.36 was beaten by Fabian Moreau’s 4.35 and Minnesota’s Jaylen Myrick added a money-making 4.29.

    UConn’s tall DB Obi Melifonwu recorded a ridiculous vertical of 44″ on top of a solid Forty of 4.46.

    Also, ex-UGA guy Brendan Langley has made some coin. On top of two impressive 40s in the 4.4s, he also lifted the most lifts of 225 lbs (22 reps).

    NC States’ Safety Josh Jones opened some eyes with his stats: 6’1″, 220 lbs, a 4.41 Forty, a 37.5″ vertical and an 11′ broad jump.

    Reply
      1. John Waynesworld

        Flo, at the Senior Bowl they were noticing he was better at man coverage. In zone schemes he kept staring down the QB during practice. He also reportedly has problems shedding WR blocks.

        Reply
    1. PoolerSpirit

      Like DT DeAngelo Brown from Louisville, Jalen Myrick is another Savannah boy… I’d like to see both get drafted, and think they will… Both would look good on Atlanta’s roster…

      Really like that Melifonwu kid from UConn, too… He looked really good at either the East West Shrine Bowl or the Senior Bowl…

      Reply
  22. John Waynesworld

    Former top 10 prospect CB Teez Tabor puts on snowshoes and runs a 4.63 followed by a 4.68. And the crowd goes “whaaat?”

    I am reporting on any big news from Florida prospects because Quinn may have a deeper connection to this class than we know.

    This second group of DBs is dogging their 2nd tries at the 40. Some awful scores for supposed 1st round talent.

    Reply
  23. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Falcons Mock Draft 2017
    TRADE: Jalen Collins (CB) for Packers 1st Rd (#29)
    ******************************************************************************************************************
    TRADE: Ra’Shede Hageman (DT) & Falcons’ 4th Rd (136th) for 49’ers 2nd Rd (34th)
    * Hageman’s contract expire end of ’17
    ******************************************************************************************************************
    #1-29th) Caleb Brantley (DT), Florida, 6’2″ 314 lb. – from Packers’ Trade
    *combine: 5.14 40 / Bench 21 rep / vert 27″ / Broad jump 105″ / 3-cone 7.66 sec / 20 yd shuttle 4.62 sec
    Starter Day 1 – a Disruptive force up the middle
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    #1-31st) Forrest Lamp (OG), Western Kentucky, 6’4″ 305 lb.
    *combine: 5.00 40 / Bench 34 reps / vert jump 27.5″ / Broad jump 111″ / 3-cone drill 7.55 sec / 20 yd shuttle 4.62 sec
    Starter Day 1 – future NFL All-Pro
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    #2-34th) Marcus Williams (FS), Utah, 6′ 1″ 195 lb. – from 49’ers Trade
    *combine: 4.57 40 / Bench 14 reps
    Starter Day 1: A ballhawking playmaker that can cover deep
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    #2-63rd) Jordan Willis (DE), Kansas State, 6’4″ 255 lb.
    *combine: 4.53 40 / Bench 24 Reps / Vert jump 39″ / Broad jump 125″ / 3-cone drill 6.85 sec / 20 yd shuttle 4.28 sec
    Tremendous combine measurables moves him in to the second round – a QB Tracker that also stop the run
    Starter Day 1 at Base DE
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    #3-95th) Chidobe Awuzie (CB), Colorado, 6’0″ 205 lb.
    *combine: 4.43 40 / Bench 16 rep
    Overlooked in this deep draft class at CB – excellent cover skills – can play outside or in the slot
    Starts Day 1 in the slot or out wide
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    #5-174th) Isaiah McKenzie (WR), Georgia, 5’8″ 175 lb.
    *combine: 4.42 40 / Bench 11 reps / vert jump 36″ / Road jump 123″ / 3-cone drill 6.64 sec / 20 yd shuttle 4.15 sec
    Upgrades kick return game – a game changer – quality depth at WR
    Starts Day 1 as kick returner
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    #7-249th) Aviante Collins (OT), TCU, 6’6″ 295 lb.
    *combine: 4.81 40 / Bench 34 reps
    a “project” with tremendous athleticism – potential starter a couple of years down the road
    <

    Reply
  24. Hamad Meander

    They are talking $14,000,000+ for Trufant. I don’t like it. Too much cap space for a pretty nice corner. I’d rather spend draft capital on a corner than spend 10% of our cap on one.

    Reply
    1. Flo-Ri-Duh

      HM – Agree. TD falls in love with guys he thinks “he” drafted and wants to shower them with gifts. DQ has final say so – even on the contracts -according to what AB said when he hired him. If so, Trufant should come in at around $10 mill per year for 4 years. These guys in the draft sure have the athletic ability but it’s how they are on game day that counts.

      Reply
      1. Hamad Meander

        Let’s hope that is not the case, but with Alford getting $9,500,000, I would bet Trufant doesn’t sign with us for less than $14,000,000. We will have too much invested in too few.

        Reply
        1. Flo-Ri-Duh

          HM – You may be right… I just looked at Alford’s contract and he’s getting around $10.5 mill with bonus per year. thought it was $8 mill for some reason?

          Reply
          1. Mr B

            I think TD is saying that all our starters in defense are a few years away from a contract, and if you don’t spend it to keep our guys, where you gonna spend it? I figured he would want top $$, but it ain’t my money.

  25. Flo-Ri-Duh

    Four teams interested in in Worrilow – according to Leadbelly (ajc.com). Patriots, Lions, Eagles & Colts. Can’t blame Worrilow if he’s having hard feelings over his situation. Doubt he returns to the Falcons.

    Reply
    1. Mr B

      Hard feelings or not, I do know one thing, if he is on the field in coverage and Drew Brees is QB, I know where the ball is going.

      Reply
    2. Dewey

      Don’t think there’s hard feelings. He’s still young, he wants a chance to start somewhere. Barring injury, that ain’t happenin here.

      Reply
    1. Chop Buster

      They can begin meetings with FAs and their agents today at noon, but can’t officially sign them until after 4 pm on Thursday.

      Reply
  26. Dewey

    Been hearing the same $14-15million/year for 5 years for Trufant. Sorry, that’s way too much. Money that could be better spent on the front 7, or oline, or both. Big mistake.

    Reply
  27. just "little ole" me

    Just now catching up on the combine that I recorded from yesterday. I noticed the the Falcon’s new Dline coach Bryant Young was running one of the drills that is more geared toward DTs. There were some guys he watched more closely than others.

    Reply

Join The Falcons Cage Discussion......

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s