Jan 26, 2013; Mobile, AL, USA; Senior Bowl north squad defensive back Desmond Trufant of Washington (6) prior to kickoff of a game against the Senior Bowl south squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
If I had to give the Falcon winter season a grade it would be an A minus. The signings of Jackson, Moore, Baker, Reynolds, Umenyiora, and the comeback contract for Tony G fill nearly every hole on the birds checklist in equal or improved content, except the corner back spot weakened when Robinson was let go. The recent tryout contract to Brian Banks may fill in some depth at linebacker and along with bringing Pat Schiller off the practice squad gives the linebackers a good infusion of youth. Banks and his well documented troubles may be the most motivated body in camp, and was not totally out of football last season, with a mini camp workout in Seattle and some play in the UFL. Speaking of youth infusion, the release of Tyson Clabo will give Holmes or Johnson a competitive camp to come and no doubt will take one draft pick to shore up depth.
Twenty days and counting until the draft and with the free agency pool of corner backs nearly drained, we must be thinking a first round corner back Before Osi signed, I thought defensive lineman, and I still have a bet with my son that Atlanta will take a defensive lineman, an offensive lineman, a linebacker and a tight end, but that is only four picks in a draft where the Birds control seven picks in the top 200, and four more in round seven. I was not horribly upset Grimes was not signed, knowing he was never a tough hitter and was out all of last year from the game.
How the Birds brass will play their hand is only a guess and may be dictated by the first twenty picks on April 25th. Would they move up to take Desmond Trufant if he is there around the 22nd pick? He had a good senior bowl and combine showing, has cover ability, size, speed and can play physical. The Falcons have not selected a defensive back in the first round since Hall in 2004, but the need this year has slightly narrowed than in past years and demand is there for this piece of the secondary. If it’s a swap of first rounders and one of their fourth round picks Atlanta departs with, this would be a great move. To those that think this a horrible jump, I just look at a very thin cornerback group in the nest with our best guy already age thirty two.
The conservative approach will be to take the best player at pick thirty, possibly Tight end Ertz of Stanford , defensive ends Montgomery of LSU or Okefor out of Texas, and use the second round pick on the cornerback. Xavier Rhodes from Florida or Darious Slay of Mississippi State are good hard nosed corners that could fill the need. It may not be a surprise to see Atlanta take two cornerbacks in the first four rounds if they do not jump up, because bodies are needed at the position and the thinking would be to let the competition in preseason decide the depth chart.
The only other draft scenario now that many of the Birds slots have been filled would be if T.D and company make a Julio type move and go for a stud defensive lineman in the likes of Mingo from LSU, Richardson from Missouri or Werner out of Florida State.
They would have to swap first rounders and put up a third and one of the fourth round picks, and this might seem crazy but the defensive line needs another body who can rush the pocket and it is the trenches where the defense begins, and the pass rush is a major contributor to helping the secondary. It is no secret the defense will occupy the majority of the moves in the coming draft, and what Nolan has in mind is probably already on the board in the Falcon war room. The previous signings and winter moves have gotten Atlanta younger and in position to narrowly target two area’s (Cornerback and defensive line) with eleven picks, to the point they just might make a move that will have Falcon nation debating and writing all the way into August.