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

28 Apr

Takkaist McKinley usa_today_10033656.1493351431
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


Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones #NFL Training Camp. Julio talks Miami Dolphins Defense,more #ATLvsMIA preview

29 Aug

Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones during Training Camp. Julio talks about upcoming game vs Miami Dolphins. Facing Dolphins D, former Falcon Brent Grimes, injuries and preseason length #ATLvsMIA #realtalksports

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)

#Falcons seemed to lose sharpness on Day 5 of #NFLTrainingCamp

6 Aug

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Maybe it was the temperature being a little cooler due some welcome crowd cover. Or it could the big crowds of the weekend were gone. It might have been the ‘Friday Night Lights’ scrimmage. Whatever the reason Falcons had more dropped passes and fumbles that were not there previously. Timing was slightly off.  A few players looked like they may have been nicked or a little banged up. Stay tuned for injury updates. Minister Jonathan Simmons (@MinisterJSimm) on the scene at Falcons HQ in Flowery Branch. For more photos and videos go to www.realtalksports.net

Family, Fun, and Football at #Falcons #NFLTrainingCamp on a Sunday morning

2 Aug


The Atlanta Falcons officially launched their training camp on July 31. But today parents grabbed their kids and packed the Falcons Flowery Branch HQ on a beautiful Sunday.

The team does a great job each year of connecting fans through the free and open training camp. Players like 1st round pick Vic Beasley take time to get up close and personal. For more #Sports coverage check out our show every Mon 6-7pm on WIGO 1570, online at www.realtalksports.net Also on your mobile via Tunein Radio app. Follow us on Social Media @talksportsatl

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