The future is now: Drafting for the Atlanta Falcons

Kevin Wandra's picture

The regular season in the NFL is set to conclude, and that means all the teams staying home for the playoffs are already looking ahead to the NFL draft.

One such team is the Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons are a mess — and that’s putting it nicely — and they have a wealth of holes to fill, many of which they can attempt to fill in the draft.

The draft won’t be held until April, but it’s not too early to consider whom the Falcons might select with their first-round pick.

If the Falcons lose to the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow and the St. Louis Rams and New York Jets lose, they will own the second overall selection, a high enough pick to land a difference maker.

Here are a few players Atlanta most likely will consider:

Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson. Atlanta’s quarterback situation is dismal at best; the former face of the franchise, Michael Vick, is currently sitting in a crowbar hotel, and none of the three quarterbacks who have started for the Falcons this season — Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich and Chris Redman — is the answer. D.J. Shockley, currently on injured reserve, likely isn’t, either.

There isn’t a consensus No. 1 quarterback prospect in the draft, but Ryan, Brohm and Woodson each are considered franchise quarterbacks. Franchise quarterbacks can be found late in the draft or as free agents — New England’s Tom Brady and Dallas’ Tony Romo are two that come to mind — but that’s not a gamble the moribund Falcons can afford to take.

Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. Atlanta’s top two running backs, Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood, are decent, but neither will keep defense coordinators awake at night. The Falcons could use a game-breaking running back who is a threat to score each time he touches the ball.

McFadden, a junior who is almost certain to declare for the draft, fits the bill. He can do everything — run, catch and throw; he could immediately become the Falcons’ best quarterback — and he might be better than Minnesota rookie running back Adrian Peterson, the front-runner for the offensive rookie of the year award. The downside to drafting McFadden is that he wouldn’t find much room to run behind Atlanta’s porous offensive line, plus the Falcons don’t have a franchise quarterback to force defenses to shy away from focusing on their ground attack.

Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long. The old adage “Football games are won in the trenches” is wisdom the Falcons would be wise to consider. Drafting a franchise left tackle, the most important position on the field behind quarterback, could benefit Atlanta’s offense significantly, opening holes for its running backs and giving its quarterback time to pick apart defenses. Long is massive (6-7, 331) and has nimble feet and a nasty temperament, something the soft Falcons could use.

LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. Dorsey, by far the top defensive tackle in the draft and perhaps the best overall lineman, is a disruptive force who can collapse the pocket and anchor against the run. He is the type of player who can instantly upgrade Atlanta’s defense. He and Rod Coleman would be an imposing defensive tackle tandem in the Falcons’ 4-3 defense. The problem is, Dorsey might not be available when it’s time for the Falcons to pick; many mock drafts have Dorsey going to the Miami Dolphins with the first overall pick. If the Falcons fall in love with Dorsey, they likely would have to trade up to snag him.

Some other options for the Falcons include USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, USC offensive tackle Sam Baker and Vanderbilt offensive tackle Chris Williams, a fast-rising prospect.

Kevin Wandra's blog | login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by wheeljc on Fri, 12/28/2007 - 9:55pm.

Kevin, you are on to a winner! Think that it would be great if the Falcons were to draft McFadden right out from under Petrino! That would doom his first two or three years at Arkansas, and reduce the 'rebuild time' for the Falcons! While Warrick Dunn has been a bright spot in recent years, think he only has one more year at the most -- and that might not necessarily be in Atlanta. At the same time, the Falcon's most pressing problem is a GM. Would love to see Mr. Blank coax Bobby Beathard out of retirement for a couple of years to get the Falcon's ranks stacked with some doable talent -- for the long haul. Then, and only then, get a coach.

Fyt35's picture
Submitted by Fyt35 on Fri, 12/28/2007 - 7:49pm.

I like Ryan and Mcfadden, but we seriously need to address our GM situation. It's unfortunate Parcell's bailed out, but Mackay has to go in order to hire a respectable coach.

P.S. DHall has to go as well!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.