Atlanta Falcons are not looking for “Workout Warriors”
The Atlanta Falcons cannot be afraid to pull the trigger on who they really want in the first round of this year’s NFL draft. Names and faces will change plenty between now and Thursday April 25th, however, the one certainty that will not change is Atlanta’s need to fill the spot next to Grady Jarrett for the next decade.
With the power of social media in 2019, everyone is a General Manager. We all believe we could do the job better than Thomas Dimitroff and there have been moments over the last decade, that I would agree that many could have.
This is one of those years where we need Thomas Dimitroff to nail his job, to draft the right player. The consensus for several years was the 2019 NFL Draft was going to be heavy in Defensive Lineman and it is. However, not all DL are created equally.
The NFL combine this weekend will inevitably make some dumb GM fall in love with workout numbers and ignore what is seen on film. Every year some GM is caught falling in love with a workout warrior who sets the franchise back another couple of years; Dimitroff and the Falcons cannot afford for that to happen in 2019.
I read an article this week over at 929thegame.com that talked about all the warning signs on Ed Oliver. For those that do not follow recruiting or college football closely, Oliver, was one of the three best DT coming out of high school three years ago; only Michigan DT Rashan Gary and Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence were rated higher – both are expected to be first round picks in April as well.
What was so polarizing about Ed Oliver, was his decision to stay home and play for the hometown Houston Cougars of the AAC. The problem, is Oliver never played up to his potential consistently. This last season he had issues with then head coach Major Applewhite, he also pulled the Jadeveon Clowney nonsense, and decided when he did or did not want to play.
The Falcons and Dimitroff can ill afford to ignore those warning signs and take a chance on a guy like Ed Oliver when much more accomplished players, such as the aforementioned Dexter Lawrence and Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, will be available at 14. Sure, this may come off as a homer pick for me being a Clemson alum, however, look at what those two accomplished in college football and just how dominant they were.
For my money, Christian Wilkins would be the pick at 14. He reminds me of Aaron Donald on the field and has the charisma of a Michael Strahan off the field. His energy is infectious and teammates follow his lead.
I also read an article this week on AJC.com that talked about the Falcons would draft Deandre Baker at 14. For the love of all things great, I sure hope not. Is Baker going to be good, yes. However, I think 14 is way too high for his services and the Falcons have other glaring needs that need to be addressed with their first couple picks. Besides, there are some really good CB’s on the FA market that I think the Falcons will target to help while the young guys like Oliver and Kazee continue to develop.
I look forward to the NFL combine this weekend, I sure hope Dimitroff and Co are in Indy in the right frame of mind and are looking for supplement draft information based on game tape and not in Indy to find a workout warrior that will set this franchise back and waste the rest of Matt Ryan’s prime years.