Looking back the 2008 Draft was the one that began it all. It was the one that bequeathed us with Matt Ryan, and gave us the rock that is Curtis Lofton. Since it's the offseason why not go back and regrade Thomas Dimitroff's draft picks in every single draft so far? So let's start off from the beginning the 2008 Draft.
1st Round, 3rd Overall Pick. Atlanta took Matt Ryan of Boston College.
Many people had questioned if Ryan had the tools to succeed at the next level. Many questioned his arm strength, decision making, and pocket presence. Many people saw the draft as riding on this pick. Larry Weisman of USAtoday gave the draft a grade of a C+ and had this to say about it, "Atlanta Falcons: Everything rides on QB Matt Ryan. His stock climbed as the draft approached. The Falcons desired stability and a new face for the franchise. Not sure the second reason is enough to take Ryan (19 INTs last year) third overall. Traded back into first round for OT Sam Baker, who could well wind up at G, making this a reach. Liking the defensive picks more than the offensive ones, but Ryan ultimately makes or breaks this draft."
Looking back on this pick Matt has answered nearly all of the questions that were raised about him, (Still needs to put more zip on the ball.) So for this pick I give it an A.
1st Round, 21st Overall Pick. The Falcons chose Sam Baker of USC.
Many people including me at the time viewed this as a huge reach. Baker had many questions, many said he didn't have a polished technique, that his feet aren't as good as they could have been, he was a bit injury prone, and that he had extremely short arms. Ultimately they were right and Baker busted big time, he was benched halfway through this year after another horrid showing at LT, and is expected to be cut this offseason. This pick earns a F.
2nd Round, 37th Overall Pick. The Falcons chose Curtis Lofton a MLB out of Oklahoma.
Many people saw this pick as Atlanta trying to find the core of their defense. They did and Lofton has been a integral part of what is now one of the best LB corps in the NFL. Back then I thought this pick was solid, today I think it was excellent. A-
3rd Round, 68th Overall Pick. Atlanta decided to try and bolster the secondary by accquiring Chevis Jackson of LSU early in the 3rd round.
Chevis never amounted to anything in the NFL and was cut in the preseason before the 2010 season. This pick was seen as an attempt to try and make up for the loss of Deangelo Hall. This pick earns an F.
3rd Round, 84th Overall Pick. Atlanta went back to the offensive side of the ball and took WR Harry Douglas out of Louisville.
Douglas has made marginal impact during his time in Atlanta, but much of that can be credited to the brilliant Mike Mularkey who only had HD on the field for 51% of the offensive snaps that Atlanta took. Just a reminder this guy was a starting slot receiver and was only on the field for half of the offensive snaps. Just let that sink in for a second. HD has immense potential as he is fast and shifty. He's shown flashes of it and has also shown to be a good return man. For that this pick gets a B.
3rd Round 98th Overall Pick. Atlanta switched back to the defensive side of the ball and took Thomas Decoud out of Cal.
Decoud looked promising at first and had an excellent 2009 campaign, but has tailed off significantly since, however he still contributes on D, but his bad angles in coverage have become a huge liability. For that this pick gets a C.
5th Round, 138th Overall Pick. Atlanta takes Robert James an OLB from Arizona State.
I can sum up James career in two words, Practice Squad. Aside from only being a PS player at best James has been suspended under the league's banned substance policy after testing positive for PEDs. This pick earns a F.
5th Round, 154th Overall Pick. Atlanta selects Kroy Biermann a DE from Montana.
Biermann has been a nice surprise during his time in Atlanta, being a steady contributor and even doing a couple of kickoffs. This pick earns a B.
6th Round, 172nd Overall Pick. Atlanta selected Thomas Brown a RB out of UGA.
Brown never amounted to anything, I'm pretty sure he tore his hammy in spring training and then was put on IR and cut the year after that. F
6th Round, 212nd Overall Pick. Atlanta selected Wilrey Fontenot a CB out of ASU.
I'm not even sure Fontenot made it past training camp that year without being cut and I've heard nothing of him since. F
7th Round 232nd Overall Pick. Kieth Zinger was takent in the final round of the draft.
Another late round pick that never amounted to anything. F
Overall Mr. Dimitroff did a solid job in his first draft, he scored big with Matt Ryan and Curtis Lofton, and found some solid contributors in Biermann and Douglas, but he also busted big on Baker and Jackson. He missed on a few late round picks, but most people do anyways, so beyond that this draft was a good one and gave us some building blocks on both D and O. So for an overall grade this draft gets a B+.
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