Ever the optimist, I present to you my personal breakdown, pick-by-pick, of the Falcons' 2010 draft.
Sean Weatherspoon LB: This was the pick everyone knew was coming. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this is a good pick. Spoon is a tacklin' machine, offers a decent pass rush, and can even do a little underneath coverage every once and a while. He's a leader too, something that didn't go unnoticed by our dear Comrade. He's vocal, loves the game, enjoys himself, and is good leader material. His confidence will hopefully bolster a defense that has needed linchpin since Dimitroff and Smith took over.
Corey Peters DT: Who saw this coming? A "for depth" pick this high up, Peters could be seen by some as a mega-reach, seeing as he's not even projected by many draftniks to be a starter anytime soon. That, however, is precisely what Smith and Dimitroff are hoping for. Losing Jerry hurt a lot last year, and they wanted a good, aware gap stuffer behind him, just in case. I'm not sure exactly what this pick says about the condition of the post-injury Jerry or the contractual front-office "future vision" of Babineaux, but it means that they are at least attempting to find a DT that could compete with and (more than likely) take a certain #98's job from him. The fundamentals are good but inconsistent, according to scout reports. Peters isn't explosive, has not shown a real tenacity for getting to the quarterback; but he has, at the least, shown the aptitude and awareness to push the pocket and apply pressure. Sometimes, that's all you need from your interior linemen.
Mike Johnson G: [Let me put aside my Alabama favoritism for this analysis, if I may]. While his beard may not be up to Baker's lumberjack BEARDCORE!!!! standards, Mike is a solid backup G and/or potential T prospect. I say that because he's played every position known to man outside of TE on the offensive line. He's not the best, mind you. There were times in his career at Alabama where he was woefully overmatched. If the guy in front of him is bigger than he is, expect the pocket to be pushed. He's also a solid run blocker, so expect his rush blocking to be far superior to his pass blocking. I could easily see Johnson, should he make it out of camp with a jersey, being a situational, versatile OL. A starter? No. Role player? Definitely.
Joe Hawley G: Another guard?! Another late-round projection going mid-round? Say it wasn't so? Well it was, and at least this one's beard fits 99% of our current line's facial hair standards (daggers aimed at you, Mr. Tyson "Smoothey-face" Clabo). Hawley isn't great. He might even be barely good, but apparently the teams' scouts and fearless leaders think that the talking heads' version of scouting s.u.c.k.s because they took higher than anyone expected anyway. According to reports, this fella's got decent protect skills and has played all interior spots (much like Johnson). So again, this is a depth thing. I can understand that. We need to protect Matty Ice, reGUARDless (see what I did there?) of who goes down with an injury. You can't fault them for preparing, especially not after last year.
Dominique Franks CB: We traded up for this guy and I can understand why. He's got tremendous cover skills and, despite this "small" stature, is one heck of an athlete. Think of him as Grimes Squared. And, with his size, he could easily fill in as safety if the need arose. Versatility seems to be the theme of this draft. Well played, Comrade.
Kerry Meier WR: This guy used to be a quarterback. For the past three years, however, he's been Mr. Wes Welker in Kansas' receiving corps. He's versatile, can throw the ball, and runs decent routes. He's a possession receiver. Sound like a familiar label? Yeah, consider him our insurance when the venerable Brian Finneran hangs up his cleats. Also consider this: Wild Falcon. Yeah, I just lit up your world, didn't I? I can hear Durham now: "Direct snap. Turner, end around, laterals to Meier; Meier's gonna THROW! Touchdown Roddy White! Strike up the band, our newest receiver can throw!"
Shann Schillinger S: Odds are, he won't make it out of camp. But then again, I've been wrong before (three Alabama players? Really? We only took two...) It would be funny to hear a guy with a lisp attempt to say his name, though. Anyone fancy recording that for me? In all seriousness, Shann's from Montana, and as you've seen from watching Biermann, there's something unique about Grizzly players. I feel he'll have a nice impact as a Special Teams tackler.
UFA - Colin Peek TE: So we got Peek as a UFA and frankly, that's a steel. He's a fantastic blocker and has decent hands. Make no mistake about his heritage. He was originally expected to sign with his hometown Florida Gators, but instead went with Georgia Tech before abandoning the ACC for the
much better and more awesome slightly different SEC, landing at Alabama and helping them win a National Championship. With Rader now retired, I'm wholly convinced Peek will keep a spot on the team and may even see some action should Peele or Gonzo need recovery time.
All images courtesy NFL.com (expect Colin Peek image - source: NFLDraftScout.com)