The Falcons continue to baffle fans with their draft selections, this time taking UNLV center Joe Hawley.
With former Matt Ryan teammate Matt Tennant still on the board, Thomas Dimitroff and the team's front office elected to go in a different direction at the same position. It's becoming clear that the team is not influenced by the rankings of others, which is hopefully a good thing, but is making for some puzzling picks thus far.
And Hawley? Man, it's hard to even find comprehensive scouting on the guy. CBS Sports says he put up 35 reps at the combine, comes in at 6'3" and 297 pounds, played both center and guard while at UNLV and was an honorable mention as an All-Mountain West Conference team selection. Draft Nasty says he has experience as an in-line blocker that has shown the ability to "pull, execute assignments and finish plays."
There's not a lot else out there. Clearly, Dimitroff loves his versatility, his strength and his college experience. I respect that, and I'm willing to buy that Hawley was the best center on the team's draft board right there.
What really bothers me about this pick, however, is who isn't going to be available down the line. If you like Hawley better than Tennant, by all means, take him. But why do it in the fourth round, when the chances of other teams selecting him until the fifth or sixth are so slim? There are guys left at other positions I would have preferred here. Maybe there was another team who was targeting Hawley and Dimitroff felt he held to pull the trigger, but I'm really not sure how likely that was. The Broncos were linked to him at one point, I believe.
But regardless, Hawley's a Falcon now. Welcome him, and hope he does some great things in the future. Dimitroff isn't drafting this guy in the fourth round to be a long-term backup.