MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 1: Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Nebraska Cornhuskers with teammates Sam Arneson #49 and Peter Konz #66 on October 1, 2011 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin won the game 48-17. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Falcons have not been known, over the years, for getting the best physical specimens in the draft.
Julio Jones and Sean Weatherspoon are the obvious exceptions to that rule. Ditto William Moore and Spencer Adkins. By and large, though, the Falcons have gotten tough players with good character who fit what the team was trying to do, even if they weren't the tallest or most powerful or most athletic. It's an approach that has served them well in the regular season, but combined with the limitations of the coaching staff, it's just about reached its apex.
Thomas Dimitroff is knocked for quite a few things, and some of them are justified. My biggest pet peeve with his drafts since he arrived in 2008 has been that very factor, the unwillingness to push aside the draft philosophy in favor of getting a guy who has all the tools to be excellent but needs to be coached up. Instead, they got mostly guys who are ready to play now but probably will not be elite.
I realize I'm generalizing here, but it's bringing me to this point: This year was a little different. The Falcons got a center with enormous upside, a left tackle with prototypical left tackle size and an extremely bruising fullback. These might not have been the positions we wanted the team to focus on, but they're guys who have the potential to be something special. It's scarier to go with that kind of risk, but at the end of the day you need those guys alongside the (perfectly useful) Kroy Biermanns and Chris Owenses of the world.
I'm hoping, now that they have the foundation to build on, that this will be the future of Falcons off-seasons. Go for the game changers, because those are the guys who will ultimately help to push this talented but flawed team over the top.
What approach would you rather see the Falcons take?