There has been plenty of speculation on the direction Atlanta will take in the first round of this year's NFL draft, though there is little doubt it will be a defensive pick.
Linebacker is an obvious need. Cornerback is another area that requires improvement and depth, especially after the departure of Chris Owens and potential departure of Brent Grimes.
And even if the Falcons decide they want to sign Giants DE Osi Umenyiora (and that's unlikely to happen if he doesn't lower his current asking price, which stands above the $5M per year mark), there's still a strong chance Atlanta will look at pass-rushers early in the draft.
Of course we've known this for a while, but only now are we starting to get a sense of who the Falcons might actually draft in April. (hint: it's not Marcus Lattimore)
OLB Sean Porter Shows the ATL What He's Got
Via Walter Football's Charlie Campbell, Texas A&M outside linebacker had a private workout session with team officials. Notable persons in attendance include a couple of guys named Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff.
Porter is an interesting player. Like pass-rusher alumnus Von Miller, the Aggies used Porter as a hybrid outside linebacker / defensive end as a junior, filling the role of "joker and leading the Big 12 with 9.5 sacks as a junior.
But with the arrival of Damontre Moore this season, the coaching staff delegated Porter to a more standard role at 3-4 outside linebacker. However he was less effective in that role, and as a result recorded only 3.5 sacks as a senior, which has led some to believe that he projects more favorable as a 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL.
The talent is there, but question marks surrounding a lackluster senior campaign have led many to believe that Porter could fall to the third round.
Falcons Want To Talk To Alec Ogletree
Coming from good 'ole D. Orlando Ledbetter at the AJC, the Falcons will reportedly try and meet with the former Georgia linebacker at some point before the draft.
Anyone who watched even a little bit of SEC football last season will know Ogletree's name. He is an incredibly talented linebacker with top-tier athleticism, but of course the character question marks (DUI, four-game suspension for presumed failed drug test) have caused more speculation (so much of that these days) that the UGA linebacker could fall into the second round.
We know the Falcons typically look for high-character players, especially when drafting, but I think there's no doubt that Ogletree is at least among the top three inside linebackers in this draft. He could give Atlanta exactly what it's looking for, whether he lines up inside in a 3-4 or outside in a 4-3.
The only real issue for him is maturity. He's my age (21), so he's not a baby and should know better. But that doesn't mean we don't make mistakes, and I think Ogletree's issues have been magnified simply because of the talent he possesses.
Mike Smith Attends UGA Pro Day
Smith certainly wasn't the only NFL coach in Athens on Thursday - Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan and a handful of others were also in attendence - but it is a nice little tidbit.
As for Georgia, there were obviously a number of talented players working out that the Falcons could feasibly draft: Ogletree, Cornelius Washington, Kwame Geathers, Tavarres King. Dare I even use the name Jarvis Jones?
Smitty's commentary is riddled with coach-speak, per usual. I think he gets pointers from Bill Belichick.