The season is over, so why the hell not? Before I get to the juicy stuff, I don't have Sam Baker on the cut list (yet), because I don't think we'd take the huge cap hit to release him. Be warned, my opinion on that matter is subject to change. Also, I only mocked the 1st 4 rounds of the draft. There is still alot of college football left and I have to do some more research on a few guys who I think will be late round picks.
Mike Smith: Firing Mike Smith is still unpopular with alot of folks. I'm not one of them. I think Blank will look at Smith's entire tenure (not just 2013) when the pink slip is handed out. There are simply too many flaws in his style. He struggles against division opponents, he has a poor playoff record, he has a poor record vs elite coaches, and he fails to get the team to show up for 4 quarters far too often.
Thomas DeCoud: I am a known DeCoud defender, but it appears the writing may be on the wall for my favorite Falcon. Ishmael and Motto will duke it out for the FS job in 2014.
Joe Hawley: Hasn’t done much in this league and is known more for his PED’s suspension than his actually play on the field.
Stephen Nicholas: It doesn’t take a genius to know Nicholas is as good as gone.
Key Coaching Change:
HC Kevin Sumlin: My signature says it all. Sumlin is an offensive guru and he's created a juggernaut team everywhere he's gone. He believes in putting his foot on an opponent's throat. Personality wise, He's the polar opposite of Mike Smith. He will be in high demand after the NFL season. The fact that he's a college coach (given the Petrino disaster) shouldn't be an issue considering his players (former and current) rave about him.
Corey Peters: He has proven to be a very good DT over the years. He will be rewarded for his efforts.
Jonathan Babineaux: Babs will return on a 1 yr deal, but he won’t be a full-time player.
Free Agency additions
1. Brian De La Puente C: I was a big fan of Konz in college, but he is struggling mightily. He may never gain enough strength to handle interior defensive linemen. The Saints are in cap hell and they will be hard pressed to sign De La Puente. He is one of the most underrated centers in the league and will vastly improve our OL. He's done a hell of a job the past few years protecting Breesus and will do the same for Matty. Konz would become the back-up C/OG (signs a 4 yr $18M contract)
2. Michael Bennett DE: I'd love to see us pursue Michael Johnson, but I think he'll be too expensive. We desperately need a bookend for Osi. Bennett gets after the QB and is stout vs the run and will immediately improve our DL (signs a 5 yr $28M contract)
3. Brandon Spikes LB: He’s not a world beater, but Spikes is a very solid player. He’s a sure tackler and won’t embarrass himself in the passing game. (signs 3 yr $8M contract)
2014 NFL Draft
1st round Taylor Lewan OT Michigan (6'7 315 lbs): Lewan is an elite tackle and immediately upgrades our OL. He’d be a day one starter at either LT or RT.
2nd round Gabe Jackson OG Mississippi State (6'3 340 lbs): We continue to add studs to the OL. Our run game is pathetic so we need some beasts on the OL. Jackson is powerful and athletic and could allow us to move RGGR to a reserve role.
3rd round Daniel McCullers DT Tennessee (6'6 355 lbs): He's a massive human being. He's terrific against the run and is disruptive in the backfield. He’d swallow up multiple blockers allowing our DE’s to feast on QB’s. He has all the tools to be a day one starter next to Peters.
4th round Prince Shembo LB Notre Dame (6'1 257 lbs): He excels at getting into the backfield and should thrive as a blitzer and run stopper. He could also play the Biermann role since he also lines up at DE.