When looking at the Falcons and the upcoming draft, there are certainly needs that have to be addressed. The team could use upgrades or young talent at cornerback, defensive end, Free agency is different this year with the lockout, which makes it more difficult to project how to fill some of these needs outside of the draft., wide receiver, running back, and tight end.
Looking at some and projections, it seems most experts see the Falcons taking a defensive end with their 1st pick. As a Thomas Dimitroff supporter, I would be excited if he selects a DE with the 27th pick because I trust his talent evaluation abilities.
What intrigues me, though, is the possibility of being available in that #27 slot. There are certainly other backs that could come in and be a solid back up to in 2011 in the later rounds, but no one else that could eventually develop into the next feature back in Atlanta. With almost 900 carries the last 3 years, Turner is most likely past his prime years and a young stud like Ingram seems like a good fit. He doesn’t overwhelm scouts with speed or size, but neither did Emmitt Smith.
The 2nd round will likely still have many DE’s, with as many as 9 going off the board in Round 1. The influx of DE’s and QB’s from picks 10-40 will likely drop some players projected as late 1st to early 2nd round picks down to #59, where Atlanta picks in Round 2. Allen Bailey is from Georgia and projects as a mid-to late 2nd round pick. If he is available at #59, I think he would be a steal. Also, there are some intriguing speed guys at receiver that are projected 2nd round picks in Randall Cobb, Jerrel Jernigan, and Torrey Smith. This trio also would provide depth in the return game as all have good speed and return skills.
The 3rd round looks like a round where there is tremendous depth in talent at cornerback. Curtis Brown, Johnny Patrick, Chimdi Chekwa, and Marcus Gilchrist are all talented corners that could provide needed depth in the Birds secondary.
If Ingram is unavailable or Dimitroff likes Clayborn, Heyward, Kerrigan, Watt, Jordan, Houston, Bowers, Ayers, or any other DE prospect in Round 1, there are 3rd round RB’s that could come in and help the depth need at running back. Kendall Hunter of Oklahoma State, Kansas State’s Daniel Thomas, and Shane Vereen of Cal may be available with pick #91.
Tight End would likely be either a 1st round pick, with Kyle Rudolph of ND, or a 3rd round pick on Tennessee’s Luke Stocker. If OL is considered a 1st 3 round need, there are definitely talented players that could compete with the returning big men up front for playing time.
Here is what I hope will go down next Thursday/Friday:
1st – Mark Ingram, RB – Alabama
2nd – Allen Bailey , DE – Miami (FL)
3rd – Curtis Brown, CB – Texas
1st – Justin Houston, DE – UGA
2nd – Randall Cobb, WR/KR – Kentucky
3rd – Daniel Thomas, RB – Kansas State