Or is it?
The NFL Draft has become a juggernaut in its own right. We're barely two months removed from the 2010 NFL Draft and there's already discussion building about the 2011 NFL Draft. This is equal parts hilarious, frightening and interesting, in my opinion.
One such site is NFL Mocks, which baited me with an e-mail about their NFC South capsule for the upcoming draft. Like a big ol' striper, I bit the delicious worm of discussion and now I've got the hook of conjecture through my lip, whereupon I'll be pulled onto the boat of hopeless wrongness and that's where the analogy really breaks down.
Fortunately, being wrong all the time is what we specialize in here at The Falcoholic. Join me after the jump.
So our friends over at NFL Mocks toss us a couple of compliments before diving into their three top projected needs for the Falcons. I'm here to tell you that one of them is way off, one is definitely feasible and one is very intriguing.
No offense to the writer of the post, but this is a common mistake for those not well-versed in the Falcons. Cornerback was a huge need just a couple of seasons ago, but that need has gradually diminished. I'm not saying Brent Grimes, Chris Owens or Dominique Franks are top-flight cornerbacks opposite Dunta Robinson, but they're all talented young players who have a shot at becoming quality starters in the NFL. Whoever doesn't provides excellent organizational depth, and we've also got Chevis Jackson, who is a talented backup in his own right.
What we see on the field may eventually prove me wrong, but I'm comfortable with our depth at corner. I wouldn't say no to one more in 2011 if the Falcons believe it's necessary. I just don't think it's a top need, and certainly not the top need.
2. Defensive line
This is the half-right one. For all their targeting of defensive linemen in recent years, I'm still not willing to close the book on the defensive line. They're clearly much better than many give them credit for, and behind John Abraham and Kroy Biermann we have some depth. Even defensive tackle is deeper now, with Peria Jerry hopefully getting healthy and Corey Peters looking like a potential future starter.
But I'm a firm believer you can never have too much depth along the line, and it's not like we can really expect Abraham to be around forever...which I believe was partially the topic of yesterday's discussion. Sidbury could very well pan out and reward the Falcons with greatness, but he's still a project and needs to be brought along with that in mind. There's nothing to prevent the Falcons from adding more depth at tackle and even a potential future starter at defensive end. I can't imagine Chauncey Davis and Jamaal Anderson are going to stick around forever.
The better target in some ways might be linebacker, where the team really doesn't have any depth that doesn't come with age-related or pure talent questions attached to them. Sorry, Coy Wire and Spencer Adkins. It doesn't mean I don't love you.
The author of the NFL Mocks article and I are talking about slightly different things when we speak of utility. I'll start with his.
He's essentially suggesting the Falcons add a weapon-type back/receiver, someone like Reggie Bush, Percy Harvin, Dexter McCluster, etc. That's an emerging role in today's NFL, a guy who does a little bit of everything and has to be accounted for whenever he's on the field. The team does have both Jerious Norwood and Harry Douglas, but the ship has sailed on Norwood and Douglas isn't someone I'd want to expose to too many end-arounds, lest he get pounded into the turf.
Someone with a lot more knowledge of next year's draft can maybe give me an idea of what kind of player might be out there, but it's safe to say I don't place this as a huge priority at the moment.
Then again, the Falcons are finally nearing the point where they have the luxury of taking the best player available. We saw a little bit of it this off-season, when the team added Franks to a pretty deep cornerback depth chart. If the best player on the board happens to be a Harvin type or just a top-flight wide receiver, these Falcons might be well-positioned to take one. When you really think hard about the holes on this roster—at least in terms of starters—it's hard to come up with one more glaring that wide receiver anyways. The team could always use more depth, but there's reason to believe they may try to hit a home run on offense in 2010. The NFL Mocks guy is right. Matt Ryan could always use more weapons.
Of course, everything we both wrote is probably wrong, so feel freeing to do some mocking of your own.