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2009 NFL Draft Retrospective: Cornerback William Middleton

This is the fifth entry in a series of articles examining players from the 2009 NFL Draft. The Falcoholic will also be putting together a retrospective on the 2009 season when the collective brain trust has sorted out just what happened this season. The brain trust is drunk. Next on our list, fifth-round cornerback William Middleton.

William Middleton was supposed to be a project. It wasn't supposed to be for the Jacksonville Jaguars, though.

Middleton was a head-scratching pick in the fifth round, considering the relative depth we have at cornerback (relatively unknown at the time) and the fact that the Falcons had just drafted Chris Owens (probably known). I reasoned that the team would cut someone who they didn't believe would perform up to their lofty standards and bury Middleton on the depth chart, or maybe give him a spot on the practice squad and hold onto him for the season. Instead, he was claimed by the hated Tampa Bay Bucs and eventually ended up on the Jags, where he played in parts of twelve games and accumulated 20 tackles. Ho-hum.

Obviously, Middleton could be a quality cornerback in the NFL someday, so it's tough to criticize this pick completely because it was in the fifth round, and the Comrade was dreaming of his days in Soviet Russia, and the sun was at an odd angle, and William Middleton was a vision in blue. So you can understand that. Still, it underscores the one real criticism I've had of the Falcons' drafting strategy, which is that the team seems to love to blow their low round picks on corners they have no real intention of doing anything with. This year it was Middleton, last year it was Wilrey Fontenot, and who knows who it might be this year. When you build through the draft, every pick matters.

So obviously, the Middleton pick didn't do us crap for good. I am a man who forgives, and I still like the rest of the 2009 draft, but I'm going to grade harsh on this one. Sorry folks.

Initial Draft Grade: C-

Final Draft Grade: F