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Post 2009 Draft Analysis and Grades

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You can say I've been busy lately, what with the new year turning over, my Alabama Crimson Tide winning the BCS National Championship, and some guy at a gas station breaking my beloved (and only) pair of glasses with his car door, so take this as a quick apology for the absence. To make up for it, here's a post!

The 09 Falcons Draft Class may go down as one of the most ineffectual in a while (or at least, in the Thomas Dimitroff portfolio). With the injury bug running rampant in Flowery Branch and the Dome, it has been very hard to get a glimpse of just how useful the players we picked up last year are. With that in mind, let us push forward, into the misty lands of that bitter mistress Queen Hindsight.

Oh, and I grade em. Here's the scale: F, D, C, B, A, INC (for injuries), NAF (Not A Falcon)

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Round 1, pick 24: Peria Jerry, DT. Grade: INC. Games played: 2. Status: IR.

So we lost Jerry early this year. Very early. As in so early, there's no way to really gauge just how good he actually is. I do know one thing: for the limited time he was in, our DL got some awesome pressure on the QB. Recall the Miami game, when we made Chad Pennington cry for his mommy? I fully believe Jerry had something to do with that. The same can't be said for the next game against Carolina (Jerry's last game before going on IR) where Delhomme looked somewhat serviceable. And then he went down. Time (and camp) will tell if Jerry will be a more important contributor this season, but I do know one thing: I'm willing to give him the chance.

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Round 2, Pick 23. William Moore, SAF. Grade: INC. Games played: 3. Status: IR.

Having followed Moore pre-draft, I had high hopes for this athletic ability. Unfortunately, he never got much of a chance to develop on the field as he didn't get much playing time before facing Chicago, getting a tackle. The next week, he went down against Dallas and was placed on IR a few days later. And now we have to wait until pre-season to actually get to see if he'll be a more important part of the secondary in September.

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Round 3, Pick 26. Christopher Owens, CB. Grade: C. Games played: ALL. Status: ACT

Chris Owens can tackle, even in the limited time he was given to play. A situational player for the most part this year (save the last few weeks), Chris didn't manage to wow us with his INT skills but he collected 29 total tackles and managed to pick off a pass that was TO-bound against Buffalo in Week 16. While yes, he was ineffectual most of the year, he showed promise the last two games (admittedly, against not-so-good teams) by picking off a couple of passes and only time will tell if he goes from a sitautional player to an every down kinda guy. He has, however, been given the tlozwarlock "You didn't get placed on IR" Rookie Badge. Now I just have to give it to him...

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Round 4, Pick 25. Lawrence Sidbury, DE. Grade: C. Games Played: ALL. Status: ACT.

Sidbury saw play time in every game and even recorded a sack in "The Eagles Fiasco." He tackled five dudes. He too gets the tlozwarlock "You didn't get placed on IR as a Rookie" badge. Again, like most players in this draft class, he hasn't shown a whole heaping of a lot yet, but his name did start to be called more often as the season wore on and I personally like the guy. He's scrappy and seems to play hard, even if his name isn't called. Expect more things from him in 2010.

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Round 5, Pick 2. William Middleton, CB. Grade: NAF. Games Played: 0. Status: On Jacksonville Jaguars' roster, ACT

We shuffled him to our practice squad and then the Jaguars took him. He didn't do much aside from 20 tackles for them, so a real great loss? Nah.

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Round 5, Pick 20. Garret Reynolds, OT. Grade: D. Games Played: 4. Status: ACT.

Reynolds got playing time for one reason only: injuries to the OL. The first game he played in, the PHI game, saw Chris Redman reduced to either handing the ball off to Jason Snelling or running for his life. Every ball he threw seemed to be batted away by the Eagles' DL. I'm not saying it's completely Reynolds' fault for this, especially considering it was Redman who was in control of how the ball was put in the air, but had he not been pressured, perhaps he could have made better, loftier throws. The next few games saw better efforts from our QB and more effectual running, so I can see that Reynolds did improve.

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Round 6, Pick 3. Spencer Adkins, LB. Grade: D. Games Played: 5. Status: ACT

Adkins didn't see much play until the end of the season, playing in the last four games on the schedule and coming in for a few downs earlier in the year against Dallas. He managed just 3 tackles in 5 games and not much else. While he was used situationally and didn't get much of a chance to do anything, he still didn't show much.

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Round 7, Pick 1. Vance Walker, DT. Grade: B. Games Played: 10. Status: ACT

Vance Walker was a name we heard a lot. Though he managed only 13 tackles in 10 games, he also batted away 2 passes and filled in nicely for Peria Jerry. It's not often you can say that a Round 7 player managed to fill in for a Round 1 player and not mess things up too much. Granted, he didn't help apply much pressure to opposing quarterbacks, but that seemed to ail the entire DL after the Miami game, so it's a moot point. Fact of the matter is, Vance had earned his first career start by the last game of the season, and I fully expect him to get plenty of playing time next year. He's shown himself to have a tall presence on the line and can contain running plays. Oh, and he's a local, coming from Georgia Tech, so he's got that going for him.

Overall Draft Grade: INC. We just don't know enough about enough of these players to really give this draft class a grade yet. Let's give them another year and see how things go.

All headshots sourced from NFL.com's player pages.