Tag Archives: NFL Draft

#Falcons pick of #TakkaristMcKinley – hubris or just following their hunches?

28 Apr

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Photo from USA Today on BruinsNation.com

The  2017 NFL draft ‘needs list’ for the Falcons wasn’t too much different from 2015 or 2016. Get a good edge rusher, and shore up the offensive line with players who could play right away. In 2015 the pick was fairly obvious. Pundits and fans alike thought Vic Beasley the standout DE from Clemson had shown the speed and quickness to be a good NFL pass rusher.  Even though he was a bit undersized at only 235 pounds, Atlanta drafted him 6th overall.  He has become one of the NFL’s  best pass rushers , leading the league last year in sacks.

In 2016 however the Falcons started with picks that did not seem to address their needs at all.  1st round pick Keanu Neal was a SAFETY, not an edge rusher. 2nd round pick Deion Jones was fast but was a middle linebacker, and like Vic Beasley a little undersized.  Reaves turned out to be a ‘thumper’ who patrolled the Falcons back-end. and dished out punishment to opposing players at will. Deion was a tackling machine and rookie of the year finalist. Another slam dunk for the Falcons.

So here we are in 2017 and again Atlanta surprises us by picking outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley from UCLA.  McKinley appears to be another ‘DQ’ (Dan Quinn) guy. The All Pac 12 DE/OLB is described by NFL.com as “Relentless worker bee on the field” “…and is always charging towards the ball” However on the other side he is considered to be “raw” and a “little stiff in the lower body” He also is coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.  He was slotted by some to be a 2nd round pick. Why did the Falcons traded a 3rd round and 7th rounder to move from 25th to 31st pick to get him. In a draft which is supposed to be one of the deepest in history it seems they could have stayed put and still got him. 1st round picks should be impact players on your team right away. The fact the Falcons selected a raw, injured, player with big potential, means  Falcons leadership is convinced they have the coaching system and team culture that allows them to get the most from the players they bring on board.

The rest of the Falcons draft has yet to unfold. But if McKinley plays the way last year’s draft group did, the Falcons could back in the Super Bowl again and got another rising star in Takkarist McKinley press conference bad language notwithstanding.

By Jonathan Simmons

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Is #Washington WR #JohnRoss fastest ever at #NFLCombine ?

4 Mar

Step aside, Chris Johnson. Possibly. Washington receiver John Ross unofficially ran a 4.22-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. If that number stands, it becomes the fastest 40 time in the history of the Indianapolis gathering of incoming prospects. Nine years ago, Johnson (who has played running back for the Titans, Jets, and Cardinals) cranked…

Check out this #NFLCombine update from @ProFootballTalk via John Ross sets Combine speed record, unofficially — ProFootballTalk

Big day by #Beasley leads way as #Falcons corral #Broncos 23-16

10 Oct

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When the Falcons drafted Clemson’s Vic Beasley #6 overall in the 2015 NFL they felt they had someone who would finally give them a legitimate pass rusher of the edge. This was something not present since the departure of John Abraham a few years ago. In his 1st season however Beasley had very little impact. He tallied only 4 sacks 2 of them coming in game 15 vs the Panthers. Some of this was due an injury the severity not publicly disclosed until after the season.  2016 seemed to be going the same way. Beasley was constantly stymied by bigger lineman from the teams Atlanta faced. That all changed in Denver.

Check out our Vic Beasley interview

The 2nd year player who been moved to linebacker, finally became the game disruptor the Falcons thought they were getting when they picked him. Beasley had an epic game. He lead the team with 7 tackles, forced 2 fumbles, and most important tallied 3.5 sacks as Atlanta beat the Denver Broncos 23-16. Now people will point out Denver played rookie QB Paxton Lynch, and an injured lineman. But Beasley was in the Broncos backfield all day long making plays.  The difference was intensity,placement, and technique. The young LB was unrelenting in his pursuit of the ball carrier on run and pass plays when on the field. As we have advocated for repeatedly, he was moved around. First set up on the edge to rush the QB. Then in the middle on a stunt to create pressure from the middle. Next faking the rush and dropping back into coverage. He used his hands and arms more to create leverage and keep lineman from getting in to his body to block him. All told the Falcons defense registered 6 sacks on the day including the final one by Beasley’s former Clemson teammate Grady Jarrett. Next up is the team the Falcons are trying to model their defense on, the Seattle Seahawks

Falcons miss chance to have dominant Defense by not drafting Randy Gregory

24 Aug

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The Atlanta stood in the 2nd of the 2015 NFL draft with a choice. Draft a to fill a  ‘need’. Help to shore up their defensive backfield especially at the safety position.  A reasonable, conservative approach by a franchise STILL haunted by the departure 8 years ago of Michael Vick to a dog fighting scandal. Or they could take a risk. Use the pick to take a calculated risk to make their team suddenly one to be feared defensively. Randy Gregory, LB/DE of Nebraska was still on the board. Gregory, who by many pundits was rated HIGHER than Falcons 1st round pick Vic Bealsey. Gregory was available because of testing positive for marijuana. Imagine offensive nightmares that could be created by having 2 lightning quick pass rushers on both sides of the field!  Atlanta chose Jalen Collins, S, LSU with that pick. Seemingly a safe, conservative pick.

We find out later however that Collins had his own off the field issues, AND had an injury which he needed surgery on before camp. So why not take a chance on Gregory?

Former Pro bowler Adrian Clayborn who looked done in Tampa Bay, seems rejuvenated in ATL. Paired on the same side of the field as Vic Beasley, these two already seem to be making things tough on opponents. Imagine having a pass rusher like Gregory on the other side.

This choice may determine whether the Atlanta Falcons will be simply playoff contenders, or lost an opportunity to be Super Bowl caliber team for years to come. Time will tell (As of this writing Gregory has 2 sacks, Collins has often looked a bit lost so far)

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