So, assuming that the Falcons don't make any more big-name free agent pickups (which I doubt, since we paid Robinson a whopping $57 million- far more than he's worth I might add), this is the direction I think T-Dimitroff and the Falcons are headed in the 2010 Draft:
1st Round (19th overall): OLB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
Although it's definitely possible that Comrade Dimitroff decides to trade down or even out of the 1st round, if they decide to stay put they'll go with OLB Sean Weatherspoon from Mizzou. Obviously, we're not taking a CB. We have a couple of projects at DE that flashed some potential throughout last year (Kroy BEARman and Lawrence Sidbury). Lofton is one of the top MLB's in the entire league, and Stephen Nicholas probably has a little room to grow after only starting for one season. Let's face it- I like Mike Peterson, but he's not getting any younger and this is the final year of his contract. He was pretty good in run support, but just isn't what he used to be in pass coverage. So Weatherspoon makes sense- he plays with a lot of energy and explosion, great instincts, and has the skill set to be good in pass coverage LB for a 4-3 defense. He's kind of small at 6'1 and 240, but he was apparently one of the more vocal leaders for Mizzou's defense and played with passion, and that's what will get Dimitroff to bite.
3rd Round: Center Matt Tennant, Boston College
Matty Ice is going to be re-united with his former teammate from BC! And it makes sense- the QB-Center relationship is an important one, and they have to be in sync on every play, or else you end up like Rex-GROSSman and fumble the snap all the time- (actually, I don't know, maybe he was just really bad). Anyways... This will be someone who Matt Ryan is familiar with. Todd McClure is a solid starter at Center, but he is also getting old, and now is the time to draft his eventual replacement. Tennant is someone who will probably be there in the 3rd round, and although a little undersized is supposed to be pretty athletic.
4th Round: TE Jimmy Graham, The U!
Tony G is amazing, this isn't news. But, as much as we like to think it, he's not immortal, and will probably only be in the league for another 2 years or so. Jimmy Graham has the freakish size (6'7 and 259) to create matchup problems in the secondary for corners, and the speed to separate from most linebackers (he ran a 4.7 40). He's a little raw, but I think if we take him, he'll be ready to start and be a star in the NFL by the time Tony G retires.
5th Round: WR Mardy Gilyard, Cincinatti
The past few years receivers have fallen in the draft b/c teams are reluctant to end up like the Lions, who took 4 1st-round receivers, and two of them turned out to be HUGE busts (Mike Williams, anyone??). If he's still here when we pick in the early 5th round, I think we take him. Michael Jenkins is a solid starter, but this past season he really just didn't step up to the plate when we needed him. Gilyard can be for us what Jonny Knox was to the Bears last season.6th Round: DE Lindsey Witten, UConn
Under Mike Smith's scheme, he uses a kind-of DLine by commitee, and he rotates the guys around a lot during games, so the guys are fresh and can keep pressure on the QB when the games on the line. He could add depth to our d-line, one which has a guy who can't rush the passer for his life in Jamaal Anderson (I can't believe he was a first-round pick)6th Round: RB Lonyae Miller, Fresno State
We get a second 6th-rounder from the trade with Detroit (goodbye Chris Houston!) Miller was Ryan Mathews' backup at Fresno State, but flashed a lot of potential during his limited role there. That also means he'll have fresher legs when he gets to the NFL. Like Mathews, he's a smaller, more explosive back who could become a faster complement to Turner, because Norwood has either been too banged up to play or has not used the opportunities given to make plays.
Let me know what you guys think about what the Falcons are gonna do this year, and who else might be a good fit for the team in 2010.