Welcome to the first installment of a three part roundtable discussion where the Grits Blitz bloggers discuss some important topics in relation to the Atlanta Falcons 2012 draft.
Put yourself in this guys shoes for a minute
QUESTION: Armchair GM: You are Thomas Dimitroff. What is your draft strategy?
Eric (@GentlemanMashr): My Draft Strategy is to focus on the lines - primarily athletic OLs and speedy ends. We've all but ignored DEs in the early rounds, and it has hurt us. If the Falcons can hit on a high value End or OT in the 2nd or 3rd round, it could fundamentally change the future for this team. Defense should be the priority, as the offense has more of the weapons it needs. This all goes out the window, of course, if some player who absolutely should not be available when we pick just happens to fall there.
On an additional note - the running back issue - I do think it needs to be addressed in this draft, but can wait until the last day. I like Bernard Pierce and Chris Polk, but not enough to continue using early picks on offensive skill positions Based on Virginia Tech RBs lack of production in the NFL, I want no part of David Wilson - especially after I watched him run East to West for most of the game against Michigan. In the fifth round, I would love to see us take Terrance Ganaway, a running back with decent speed for his tremendous size - or even wait until late in the draft to roll the dice on a Sun Belt workhorse in either Bobby Rainey or Lance Dunbar.
Matt (@mFalcons5): I fully believe Dimitroff goes to straight best player available mode. With only a handful of selections, you need to go for value. Let us not forget that our only real FA loss, Curtis Lofton, already has two replacements in Lofa Tatupu and Akeem Dent. Atlanta has no big "needs" created by the offseason.
I think it is hard to target certain positions with only a few picks. For instance, say Dimitroff wanted to take a tackle, but a position fit was not available with the first two picks, we are then deep into the 5th round trying to plug in a player. Unless Atlanta has only two "needs" at starting spots, I expect the Falcons to draft only the best talent available, and supplement our weaknesses with still available free agents or perhaps a last minute trade (such as Tye Hill or Domonique Foxworth). Edit: Last minute trade appears to potentially include Asante Samuel.
Mike (@ColossalChicken): The Falcons are already a playoff team; therefore, drafting project players in the early rounds would be counter productive. I believe there will be a few surprises come Friday evening, and Atlanta will have to RISE UP and select a player that will compete during camp for the starting position. I would select a defensive back with the 55th pick. You will not be able to draft an elite lineman in this draft in the second round. Sorry, but there are too many unknown variables with them. Atlanta needs to be safe, draft a defensive back that can start at nickel and call it an evening. I can see Atlanta trading back up into the fourth round, it’s a wise move and also expected. I would be shocked to see Atlanta trade anybody this weekend, but if they do I would support TD and his decision.
Kevin (@CFBZ): Games are won and lost in the trenches. It's all about how well you protect your quarterback and how well you can throw your opponent's quarterback off kilter. The Falcons need help along the offensive line and I believe that they can find a guard in the first two picks that can compete for playing time this year. With the other pick they should go after a pass rusher. I don't care what position he plays but we need someone besides John Abraham who can get after the quarterback. After those two picks, I think you default to best available talent with the focus being on positions that will become a need for us next year (like center and tight end).
I love playing armchair GM. I agree in part with many from FALCON NATION that we need to address key areas
on the OL & DL base on what happen last year ( YES, I still have a bad taste from the Giants game). OK, base on
the current draft board on CBS.com. 2nd RD. #63 Kelechi Osemele OT, REASON: only 3 OT'S on the charts and
I am not 100% sure of Sam Baker. 3rd RD #85 Alameda Ta'ama DT, REASON: There are 5 DE'S on the roster &
a player like this at DT will help the current DE's pass rush & also permit Nolan to convert to a 3-4 time to time.
NOW THE POWER PLAY FOR A 4TH ROUNDER: I would try to trade my 2013 3rd rounder for a early 4th round
pick. NOTE: There are 6 other teams with 2 4th round picks. Now choose your center to replace McClure in 2013.
Ben Jones at #106 or Michael Brewster at #114. Finish off the draft with the following:
5th RD. Ryan Steed-CB 6th RD. Kellen Moore-QB 7th RD. Sean Richardson S.Safety & TJ Graham-WR.
Interested in what FALCON NATION thinks about this.
@JRS in Miami I like the picks. Don't know that much about Ta'ama and Steed. Kellen Moore will probably make someone a nice NFL back-up but I'd rather take a powerhouse RB with that pick. Give me Brewster over Ben Jones.
@JRS in Miami I would love Osemele if available. Seen him go earlier in most mock drafts, but he would be a great OL for Atlanta. It looks like Atlanta will try to get some big bodies on the DL after they looked at Franklin the other day. Wouldn't be surprised to see a good sized run plugger early on.
I have actually seen a few people suggest spending the 2013 3rd for a 4th this year. I'm not sure how I would feel about it, but would probably depend on someone falling pretty far. I think Samuel was a great use of that 7th, though.