CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 26: Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies throws the ball as Cam Johnson #56 of the Virginia Cavaliers chases at Scott Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Over at the mothership, Jay Adams has been keeping tabs on what sites are predicting what prospect to the Atlanta Falcons this April. I thought now would be a good time to check in on that effort.
The first point: Most of these players are on the defensive side of the ball. This is due to a combination of where the Falcons are picking in the second round—I don't know that there will be a number of superior offensive line prospects at that point—and recognized needs along the defensive front. Also, some "experts" mock cornerbacks to the Falcons with a high-round pick every single year. Happens.
But one of the two players currently narrowly leading the pack in this largely meaningless derby is a tight end. That would be Dwayne Allen, who we've profiled before. The other is Cam Johnson of Virginia, a defensive end. There's more worthy options here that we'll talk about over the next few weeks, but I want to briefly zero in on these two.
Allen's kind of a logical fit as a replacement for Tony Gonzalez down the line, but while he has potential and was productive in college, he's neither the fastest nor the strongest guy in this draft. He also is said to have poor blocking form, and if your name isn't Gonzo you better be able to get that done. The Falcons would have to coach him up and hope he can use his average speed and strength well by learning to become a better route runner. There is upside here.
Truthfully, I'm not blown either with either of these possibilities. Both have projection and could someday be future starters, but Johnson was not a productive pass rusher at Virginia despite quality strength and fundamentals and plays defensive end. If he can't get after the quarterback, he's not much use to the Falcons off the edge, given the plethora of younger players with at least some upside against the quarterback. Again, he has the physical tools to become better, but he needs to expand his suite of pass rushing moves and doesn't have elite upside. If we're looking for a well-rounded end, that's great, but I'm pretty sure that's what Kroy Biermann is supposed to be around for.
The upshot is that I can't really see either of these guys as options with the team's second-round pick. Can you?