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Draft review: Atlanta Falcons

Desmond Trufant, Mike Smith AP

After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Atlanta Falcons.

What they needed: Defensive end, cornerback, linebacker, offensive tackle, guard.

Who they got:
Round 1: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Round 2: Robert Alford, CB, Southeast Louisiana

Round 4: Malliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson

Round 4: Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford

Round 5: Stansly Maponga, DE, Texas Christian

Round 7: Kemal Ishmael, DB, Central Florida

Round 7: Zeke Motta, SS, Notre Dame

Round 7: Sean Renfree, QB, Duke

Where they hit: They knew they needed to make a move to get a starting-caliber player at either cornerback or defensive end, and Trufant was the choice. Getting a physical cover player 22nd overall was good business, and helps in part to cover the loss of Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson. Alford has the speed to play at a high level, but it’s unclear how such a young secondary is going to hold up in a division that will test them.

Where they missed: Osi Umenyiora better be good, because he doesn’t have terribly much in the way of help. With two big needs, the Falcons elected to double up at corner and hope for the best with the current cast of pass-rushers. Umenyiora is talented and motivated to prove the Giants were under-utilizing him, and he better be right. They’re also thin on the offensive line, and will hold their breath they stay healthy there.

Impact rookies: The Falcons roster is such that there weren’t too many spots available for drafted rookies, so beyond Trufant, expecting much out of any of them is unfair. Goodman’s an intriguing prospect, but not the kind of sack guy they needed. Toilolo is a big blocker, who could get work soon. Renfree keeps getting described as a guy who will help a team without taking a snap, and frankly, the Falcons hope that’s the case.

Long-term prospects: Atlanta is built for the right now. And while the Trufant move wasn’t as dramatic as trading for Julio Jones, it was still a short-term fix. They haven’t done much this offseason, but the only position they’re obviously better is at running back (Steven Jackson). They still lack playmakers in the front seven of their defense, and there’s not an understudy for Tony Gonzaalez. Is that a quibble, considering they have an offense full of Pro Bowl-caliber personnel? Perhaps. But the Falcons have gotten to the point where they’re being judged on postseason success only, and it’s hard to say they’re better able to achieve that after the weekend.

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10 Responses to “Draft review: Atlanta Falcons”
  1. hartcarluncarlun says: Apr 29, 2013 1:05 PM

    Dimitroff is not Jerry…..hard to argue against anything Dimitroff does. He has shown that he knows what he’s doing. This was Nolan’s draft. In TD I trust!!!! Rise up!!!!

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 29, 2013 1:09 PM

    Trufant failed the physical. To the surprise of everyone, his glasses weren’t cosmetic, to make him look smarter. He actually has really bad eyesight.

  3. atsbuzz says: Apr 29, 2013 1:21 PM

    Not sold on the DEs and the hope that throwing them in the mix will result in a better pass rush. No corner can cover if there is no pass rush.

    Maybe it’s time to call Abe and see if he’ll come back. It would be on the cheap, but some money is better than no money.

  4. packerbackernj says: Apr 29, 2013 1:23 PM

    Obviously better at running back? Steven Jackson invent a time machine? If not they aren’t any better at RB at all. Behind that OLine he’ll be injured for at least 6 games.

  5. hogheavelyham says: Apr 29, 2013 1:34 PM

    Toliolo was supposed to be the starter in 2010 over ertz and fleener at Stanford before he was injured. He has amazing potential, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is meant to be the understudy.
    Do your research

  6. mrlaloosh says: Apr 29, 2013 1:41 PM

    If Dimitroff had any cojones he’d fire Smith. That’s the key to any Falcons success. Head coach holding them back.

  7. kane337 says: Apr 29, 2013 1:44 PM

    Bring Abe back, bring in Richard Seymour for DT depth, and bring in Dansby for LB. Ready to roll.

  8. torontofalcon says: Apr 29, 2013 1:46 PM

    I think Dimitroff is gonna pull off a Julio Jones type trade for Clowney next year so that’s why he didn’t make any drastic moves along the defensive line

  9. drpepper8 says: Apr 29, 2013 2:06 PM

    This is an excellent review. The Falcons had a poor pass rush even with Abraham. Osi is a lateral move at best. They desperately need another impact DE (or two) and they need at least one more linebacker who can cover. As it stands, Weatherspoon is the only respectable LB on the team. Trufant may prove to be an upgrade over Dunta…….but not in his rookie year. This defense needed some dramatic improvement, and they may actually be worse.

    Dimitoff has shown no real ability to find diamonds in the rough in the lower rounds. Good grief, even Hurney (who was fired) found 2 really good DEs in the third and sixth rounds for the Panthers.

    I guess the plan is to have a track meet each game like the Saints. This strategy will ultimately fail in the playoffs. The Falcons have a more difficult schedule this year and that defense just can not stop elite passers like Rodgers and Brady. The Forty-Niners and the Seahawks have improved and look very strong. I hope I’m wrong, but I see no reason to think that the Falcons will go any further this year.

  10. cowartsh says: Apr 29, 2013 4:01 PM

    @packerbacker so you think turner is better than Jackson in koetter’s offense which utilizes the screen game heavily? That is ridiculous and I think very few people would agree with that. It was clear that turner was on the way out when koetter was hired. As for the o line all I will say is that they allowed 28 sacks on a team that passes a lot. You can make the argument they are not a great run blocking line but i will counter that Turner was more of the issue than the line. Speaking of o line how’s that o line in Green Bay that gave up 58 sacks

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