There are very few players who are selected in the 5th round or beyond who become immediate starters, and this year’s crop of players isn’t much different. The Falcons draft picks from those rounds in 2012 don’t look much different.
With their first pick in the 5th round, the Falcons selected Bradie Ewing. He is a fullback from Wisconsin who did a whole heck of a lot of run blocking in his career as a Badger. He isn’t much of a receiving threat, but that’s not exactly the reason the Falcons drafted him. He is a backup plan at the FB position after this season. Ovie Mughelli isn’t getting any younger, and he is also a very expensive option at the position. Ewing is a very inexpensive player who will be able to bring all the different things Mughelli has to the table. I wouldn’t be completely surprised if he starts in 2012 and the Falcons release Mughelli depending on how Ewing performs in training camp. The position battle at FB will be interesting, as it has tremendous salary cap implications.
The second selection in the 5th round was Jonathan Massaquoi, a defensive end from Troy. He was very good in college, but his final season at Troy he turned in an average season. He was labelled by the guys from the NFL.com as a “tweener” meaning he is slightly small for the Defensive End position, but isn’t quick or athletic enough for the Outside Linebacker position in a 3-4. To make it quite clear, Massaquoi is not going to be a starter for the Falcons in 2012. He may never be a starter in the NFL. That being said, with his long arms and good strength, he brings a particular skill-set that could be invaluable in a rotation at D-End. I think he will be a similar player to Kroy Biermann; he will be effective on passing downs getting after the quarterback, but he will not be a 3-down type of player.
With their 6th round pick, the Falcons took Charles Mitchell, a safety from Mississippi State. Mitchell played corner in college before the coaching staff turned him into a safety. He has some ability from a coverage standpoint, but struggles covering man-to-man, and really isn’t exceptional in coverage. He is a hard hitter when running downhill in the run game, but even then, he’s nothing fantastic. The reason Atlanta took Mitchell is because he provides depth. Behind William Moore and Thomas DeCoud, there really isn’t much at the safety position of any consequence. Mitchell will provide emergency depth, but not much more.
Travian Robertson is a defensive lineman from South Carolina who was taken with the Falcons 7th-round compensatory pick. He is a far cry from a tremendous player, and he had a shocking lack of statistics to show from his time in college. He is, however, extremely strong and is the type of lineman who takes up blockers and frees up linebackers and other lineman to make plays or get to the ball-carrier. He can be stout at the point of attack, but he in and of himself does not make a lot of plays. Robertson could contribute something to the Falcons, but you will not be hearing his name in the same breath as Haloti Ngata.