The Falcoholic roundtable has returned! It's like King Arthur's roundtable without the brawn, or the Algonquin Roundtable without the wit.
I turned to three of our writers to come up with their choices for the UDFA most likely to make an impact for the Atlanta Falcons. While your answer may be "none of them," the Falcons have a habit of taking at least one UDFA a year and turning him into at least a semi-useful player. For previous examples, see Michael Palmer, Brent Grimes, and Darrin Walls.
Our measured, intelligent picks can be found after the jump.
WR/ KR James Rodgers: Quizz's older brother had plenty of experience with special teams during his extended tenure at Oregon State. He's a versatile guy who isn't afraid of stepping up to any task the Falcons ask of him. Rodgers said before the draft, "I can return, catch the ball. I'm very excited about playing special teams. I like tackling people." It doesn't really seem like he cares where they put him. He just wants to play. Rodgers is a talented receiver as well, and he looked the part in camp. This guy has a ton of talent and a great work ethic. I like his chances.
WR/KR Cody Pearcy: Well, I can't stray too far from my previous post about my ROTY being Cody Pearcy, but that's alright. Pearcy is an intriguing prospect to me. He runs almost cartoonishly fast, but he's very small. He has excellent leg strength for someone his size as well as good muscle control, which would allow him to make cuts and be evasive on a dime. The Falcons have shown an interest in high-speed players (Kevin Cone) and I think that Pearcy is so fast, letting him go would be a mistake. Brandon Banks made it work for the Redskins, and I think Pearcy – with a little bit of training – can make it work for the Falcons.
WR/KR James Rodgers: Sure he's small. Sure he weighs less than his brother. But he's versatile, and versatility matters. Look how New England uses Danny Woodhead. Rodgers could play a similar role; he belongs on an NFL roster. Let's be honest, who's his competition? Kerry Meier? Rodgers had over 6,000 all-purpose yards at Oregon State. At best, he's' faster than his Quizz. He has the same shiftiness and his hands may be better. He's willing to fit any role. He has a great instincts and he's football smart. Remember, he blew his ACL in 2010, then he played all of 2011 with a knee brace. He's only getting better. By all accounts, his knee is fine. And by all accounts, he's a hard working, gritty, multidimensional gamer. I want him on this team.
DE Louis Nzegwu: Let me be clear: This is not a pick for this season. Nzegwu is raw, lacks the size you look for in a 4-3 defensive end and isn't anywhere close to being an asset against the run. All that is working against him.
Nonetheless, Nzegwu has a real shot to make this team, and he should. He could be a huge help as a edge-rushing linebacker right away, and with a little weight and work he could become something special as a pass rusher. He has an explosive first step, natural and buildable strength and terrific instincts.
As a hybrid guy in Nolan's new defense, he makes too much sense. Watch for him to at least make the practice squad in 2012 and go on to bigger and brighter things down the line.