Matt will be reviewing each team's pre-draft analysis by talking about the draft range of targeted players.
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Atlanta Falcons (Last Year: 4-12)
While the third-overall pick is a very important one for rebuilding the Atlanta Falcons, it hails in comparison to the hires of GM Tom Dimitroff (former Director Of College Scouting for the Patriots) and head coach Mike Smith (former defensive coordinator in Jacksonville). Don't sleep on the team that finishes last in the NFC South the next season. It's well known that in the past five years, that team has gone on to win the division. The Falcons must have a great draft in order for this to even be a possibility.
It all starts for the Falcons at No. 3. Jerry Jones would be a complete moron to trade up this high for one player with character concerns and a scrawny lower body. Dallas' first-round picks total 1440 Trade Value Chart points. The No. 3 pick is worth 2200, so Jerry is going to have to find at least 800 more points in there to trade up that high. It simply isn't worth it for him to have to give up that much to get one player who wouldn't even be a starter on his football team. If Jamie Dukes read this page, maybe he would actually see the light. Sadly, he will be telling you the Cowboys should make this move for McFadden, but don't listen to him.
Even still, I think it would also be a bad move for the Falcons to trade that far down in the draft. They have four picks in the top 48 now that they traded DeAngelo Hall to the Black Hole, where players go to make a ton of money but see their careers go into oblivion. I don't see where trading down for even more picks helps this team out so much. The Falcons likely won't be in the playoffs in 2008, and what's the rush? Be patient, build through the draft, and work with your scouting department to put together a great depth chart. I love the direction this franchise is headed and it all started with the hires Arthur Blank made of Dimitroff and Smith. Let's get to the Falcons' No. 3 overall selection:
A franchise quarterback. Draft the face of the franchise. Oh, what was that Mike Mayock? Apparently I missed the part where you can't draft a franchise quarterback in the second round. I missed the part where the Falcons would be drafting a quarterback who has a knack for throwing interceptions. I don't see the value in Ryan here, and I think Atlanta would be smart to explore other quarterback options (Woodson, Flacco, Brohm) in the second round with one of their three picks. You can get an extremely solid player there and you don't have to make a reach for Ryan at No. 3. I really can't see this selection happening. Ryan's draft range starts with the Falcons, but like I said, I highly doubt he will be the pick.
I think Long presents enough value here to be taken, as he fills a role as either a solid left tackle or an elite right tackle. Offensive tackle is one of the Falcons' greatest needs, so from a need standpoint this makes a lot of sense. However, I think the Falcons could package a few of their picks (or stand pat) to move up to get a left tackle in the mid-late part of the first round. Let's move onto my selection for the Falcons at No. 3:
With the third pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select...
Glenn Dorsey/Sedrick Ellis:
I have Dorsey rated higher than Ellis, and if he is off the board I say they take Dorsey. Great value with either of these players, as they both fill a position of extreme value in this league. If you can plug the run and rush the quarterback from the middle of the defensive line it drastically changes the effectiveness of a defense. Mike Smith knows this (Henderson/Stroud) and I think he will lobby very hard for one of these guys to be taken, whomever the Falcons have highest on their draft board. Let's move on to the rest of the Falcons picks.
The Falcons have a near unlimited range in the second round with picks at 34, 37, and 48. They have a ton of options, whether it's moving up in the draft or standing pat. They might trade out of one of their picks here and might even consider trying to pick up a 2009 first-round choice, which is VERY, VERY possible. The Falcons might accept the fact that they aren't a great team and continue to build for the future, trying to maximize the value in the 2008 Draft for the long haul. I mean, if you're able to pull a 49ers-Patriot trade like last year and get a top 10 selection, that is huge, especially because next year's draft looks loaded at the top.
In this range I like the Falcons to address quarterback, cornerback, and inside linebacker (moving Keith Brooking over to weakside). Andre Woodson, Joe Flacco, Brian Brohm, Antoine Cason, Patrick Lee, Tracy Porter, Curtis Lofton, Dan Connor, and Jerod Mayo all present solid value for the Falcons in the second round.
They might want to trade up for a left tackle like I mentioned earlier for a player such as Ryan Clady or Chris Williams if they fall in the mid 20s of the first round.
Their third-round range expands to safety with players such as Thomas DeCoud and Josh Barrett likely to still be on the board. Kirk Barton, Barry Richardson, and Franklin Dunbar would make sense for the Falcons in the late rounds to fill the void at right tackle.
It's going to be an interesting, busy day for the Falcons, but as a Buccaneers fan I desperately hope they **** it up. ;)
Atlanta Falcons 2008 Offseason Needs
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