Over the past weekend, i had a chance to chat with the guys over at NFLMocks. They asked me how the Falcons’ draft picks in recent years have got on and more. Here is the full Q&A:-
NFLM – They say it takes three years to evaluate a draft class how is the 2009 class looking?
BD – If we go pick by pick, starting with first round selection (24th) DT Peria Jerry. Jerry struggled his first two years in the league after suffering a knee injury a few games into his rookie season. This season, he looks fully healthy and is developing into quite a force. He has regained his starting spot and looks to be getting better and better every week.
Second round pick (55th) S William Moore, has so far proven to be the best selection from the 2009 draft. He is dominant against the run and utilizes punishing hits on anyone that comes near him. Moore is getting better and better in coverage, he has had a few INT’s already this season. He reminds me of a young Brian Dawkins, which is high praise but I think he can become one of the best safeties in the game.
Follow the jump for more…
Third round selection (90th) CB Chris Owens started well but has since regressed, he was notably picked on by Aaron Rodgers in last year’s playoff defeat to Green Bay. At the moment he is listed as the 4th corner on the depth chart.
Fourth Round pick (125th) DE Lawrence Sidbury is still developing his pass rush skills. He has great athleticism but he has yet to translate that into production. He needs to start soon otherwise his roster spot will be in jeopardy.
Fifth Round Pick (138th) CB William Middleton was cut after his first training camp. He is now with the Jaguars.
Other fifth round selection (156th) T/G Garrett Reynolds has recently broken into the starting line up, he is now playing at RG. His true position is RT, however. He will struggle to gain any time at that spot, as it is currently held by pro bowler T Tyson Clabo.
Sixth Rounder (176th) LB Spencer Adkins has become a special teams ace, and is now a back up to LB Sean Weatherspoon.
Finally, the Seventh round pick (210th) was used on DT Vance Walker, who is firmly in the DT rotation, which Mike Smith loves to run.
The 2009 draft was solid for the Falcons, 7 of the 8 players selected are still on the Falcons active roster, with only CB William Middleton playing elsewhere.
NFLM – How is Sean Weatherspoon looking? The defense as a whole isn’t playing great.
BD – Sean is looking very good and is showing a lot of promise. He is currently in the top 10 for tackles in the NFL, showing that he is solid in the run game, and he is slowly becoming better and better in the pass game due to his good athleticism. The selection of Weatherspoon at this stage looks to have been the right call.
NFLM – How would you rate Dimitroff’s time as a GM?
BD – Well, his time has been very successful. Since his hiring the Falcons have gone onto 3 straight winning seasons and to the playoffs twice. What he has done very well is building a solid roster, he may not have selected many mega stars (but who has!?) but he has not missed on many players. If you look at the Falcons active roster 31 out of the 53 players were either drafted by TD, or picked up as an UDFA during his time as GM. That is not including the players he has brought in via trade and free agency (Ray Edwards, Michael Turner, Dunta Robinson, Tony Gonzalez).
NFLM – Under Dimitroff’s Tenure Who was the Best pick? Worst pick?
BD – Best Pick has to be his first, QB Matt Ryan. Matty Ice is your prototypical young franchise QB, a great player and leader. I have no doubt he will lead the Falcons to a superbowl title, sooner or later.
Worst Pick would be the decision to trade up to select T Sam Baker in the 2008 draft. Up to this point he has not been too bad, this season however he has been terrible conceding sack after sack. That decision was certainly not TD’s best.
NFLM- Was Julio Jones worth it?
BD – Absolutely Yes! After week 4 he is on pace for 100 catches and over 1200 yards as a rookie! He has all the qualities to become one of the best in the league at his position. Think of him as the next Andre Johnson, as he pays with that sort of mentality. With the ball in his hands, he runs like a running back with lots of power and with 4.3 or so 40 yard dash speed, he is becoming a big handful for the defenses.
The Falcons admittedly gave up a lot for Julio (two 1′s, a 2 and two 4ths). But at this early stage he seems like he was worth it. The Falcons will certainly miss their first round pick this year however, as Dimitroff usually selects well in the first round.
NFLM – Which rookie draft pick is the biggest surprise in either A positive or negative way?
BD – Julio has obviously had a very positive impact but another one that has impressed is RB Jacquizz Rodgers. In his limited touches, he has shown that he is very agile and can take punishing NFL hits. I would like to see OC Mike Mularkey get him involved more.
A Negative impact would be P Matt Bosher, the sixth round pick. He has played very poorly so far and the Falcons are struggling in the field position battle as a result (editor’s note: remind you of anyone Giants fans?). He has the leg for punting, he just needs to become more consistent.
NFLM – Are there any undrafted rookies who look like they may be long for the nil?
BD – Only one UDFA made the Falcons active roster this year: CB Darrin Walls from Notre Dame. He was very impressive in pre-season and was one of Atlanta’s best corners during training camp. He has good size and could certainly develop into a nickel corner or even a starter, a few years down the road.
NFLM – What positions of need to the Falcons have going into the next offseason?
BD – If Sam Baker does not improve, LT will have to be addressed and would be the main need. Other needs include a DE to replace ageing John Abraham, another powerful RB (I love Wisconsin RB Montee Ball, would love to see him in a Falcons uniform) and CB depth would be the ones that urgently need addressing.
Be sure to check NFL Mocks out, they do a great job of previewing the draft.