The Julio Jones results draft is what this will be known as from here on out, as the Atlanta Falcons mortgaged their 2012 NFL Draft in order to move up and get a game changer in Jones in the 2011 draft. The results are still TBD, but the immediate outcome was another first round loss by the Falcons where Jones was, well not overly effective, at no fault of his own.
We know my disdain for calling Matt Ryan a top level QB in this league and that will show even more as we progress through the off season.
Today however, we will be discussing the draft, and giving out my 2012 Atlanta Falcons Draft Grade.
As always, if there is a question of how I grade my drafts, well check it out here.
The draft started out fantastically for the Falcons with the injury concerns of Peter Konz causing him to fall to their selection near the end of round 2.
Konz is a plug and play type at either guard or center for the Falcons, wherever they decide their greatest need will be, but I am assuming he comes in and takes over at the center position for Todd McClure, the 35 year old incumbent starter.
He is a smart, instinctual player, who can make all the line calls, works good in space, and shows why Wisconsin offensive linemen are so effective in the NFL with his nasty run blocking disposition.
There are some slight injury concerns, again that is why Konz was available so late in the draft, but if he stays healthy he should be an immediate fixture in the middle of the line for the foreseeable future.
In round 3 the Falcons stayed with the offensive line concerns and took massive tackle prospect Lamar Holmes.
This was a shocking selection to me, not because of who they took, tackle was an obvious need for the Falcons, but where they took Holmes, a late round prospect on most pundits’ draft boards.
Holmes is a large, long limbed, well built tackle prospect. He has good strength and shows effectiveness when he is asked to pass block. Exceptional at cut blocks, and should fit in well with the Falcons scheme.
The problem, he is RAW, has horrible technique, and was predominantly used out of a two point stance in a pass first offense, and there are legitimate concerns on whether or not he can become and effective blocker in the run game as he tends to miss his targets when asked to get out and move and when he does latch on, falls off his blocks too easily.
He has what the Falcons look for in a blocker, but the timing, with his raw ability was just… well odd.
The Falcons continued with their run game oriented theme by selecting bruising fullback Bradie Ewing.
Another Wisconsin product, and another outstanding lead blocker in the running game, who is more of a scrappy, game strong player than a weight room fiend.
Isn’t overly athletic, and while he will contribute to special teams and in the run game, won’t be anything more at the next level, but if he continues to make the Falcons a great running team, then it is a good selection.
With their second pick in round 5 they took the enigmatic Jonathan Massaquoi.
Massaquoi is long armed, well built edge rusher who has excellent speed off the end of the line and can close down the run game but is more apt to just getting to the quarterback.
He has average instincts and has shown a propensity to weight gain, which then takes away his speed and explosiveness.
If the Falcons can get the edge rushing specialist, keep his weight under control, and get him to play with explosion, they drafted a guy who can get close to 8 sacks a year as a situational rusher, and that is great value in round 5.
In round 6 the Falcons took safety prospect Charles Mitchell.
Mitchell is a well built, athletic safety who was a productive player for three years at Mississippi St. He is a box safety that has adequate enough speed to stick with most NFL TE’s, but will gain the most from being able to sit and play against the run.
Doesn’t change direction well and lacks the big playmaking skills that are really needed in the NFC South.
I was a little surprised by the Mitchell pick, for the division the Falcons are in to take a low upside prospect that projects more as a run stuffing safety was an interesting pick. He should be a viable special team’s contributor and back up option, but I just don’t see the upside of Mitchell to be more than that.
In the sixth round though, it isn’t a bad choice at all.
To end their meager draft selections the Falcons took defensive tackle Travian Robertson.
Robertson is a large bodied, strong defensive lineman who looks athletic enough to bounce between the inside and outside of the line.
He isn’t an explosive up field type athlete and will be used primarily, if he is able to make the active roster, as a run stuffing defensive lineman.
Overall: The Falcons came into the draft with a handicap, but I think they were able to shine through despite their limitations.
They added a starter in Konz and a possible situational pass rusher in Massaquoi. Adding in their selection of Ewing, and I think they got three immediate contributors, but I am not so sure what to make of the rest of their selections, most importantly I am not sure why they took Holmes as early as they did.
They have to get more out of Jones this year as well, but this was a Good draft. With their limited picks adding what they added has to be considered a win, but that third round selection will bother me until I see if he ends up producing on that potential.