I have a lot of respect for TD, but when Oakland has a better draft than you do, you know your draft sucks. In fact, Atlanta's selections were about as bad as they could have been. Only Jacksonville and Buffalo were worse performers.
Not trading with Denver and moving down to 25 from 19 in the first round as Atlanta had an opportunity to do, cost the Falcons dearly. The Birds chose not to do so for fear of not getting Weatherspoon. For this discussion, let’s say the Falcons trade down and the worst thing in the eyes of the Falcons happens. Weatherspoon is gone, but the Birds have Denver’s 25th and 80th picks.
The next move is to trade with Detroit for the Lions’ 34th and 100th selections, the same picks the Lions gave up for the Vikings pick at 30. Not hard to imagine at all.
With the Falcons' trade up in the fifth round, they would have picked at 34, 80, 83, 98, 100, 117, 135, 165 and 171. Let's see who we could have selected:
34 - Lamarr Houston - DT/DE, disruptive, penetrating, tackle with nonstop motor who can play end. Had seven sacks last year at Texas. Excellent against the run. Eliminates need to spend a third round pick on Corey Peters and is a better player than Peria Jerry.
80 - JD Walton - C, HUGE improvement over Hawley who was a two round reach at the very least.
83 - Jimmy Graham - TE, This is the one player we may most regret not getting. Tutored by Gonzalez for a year or two, Graham has the athletic ability to be a Pro Bowl tight end for a half dozen years. But all is not lost. We'll get to see Graham at least twice a year as he'll be catching passes for the Saints!
98 - Bruce Campbell - OT, far greater upside than Mike Johnson.
100 - David Reed - WR, a sure-handed, clutch receiver. 4.55 forty speed who is not afraid to go across the middle. (Jacoby Ford was also available at this pick).
117 - Roddrick Muckelroy - LB, only slightly less talented than Weatherspoon.
135 - Dominique Franks - CB, best value in Falcons' draft.
165 - Dekoda Watson - LB, faster than Weatherspoon. Disruptive pass rusher and a terrific special teams player.
171 - Kyle Calloway - OT/OG, experience at every position on the O-line except center.
Free Agent Signings:
Shann Schillimger - FS
Leigh Tiffin - PK
Danario Alexander - WR
Brandon Lang - DE
Vince Oghobaase - DT
Lonyae Miller - RB
Ciron Black - OT
What a difference a trade makes!