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NFL Draft: Who the Falcons have landed in the middle of the first round over 50 years

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It's an interesting history with some true busts and a handful of terrific players.

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The Falcons haven't found themselves in the middle of the first round all that often over the years, but with the #17 pick looming in this April's draft, I thought it might be entertaining to look back at the times they did and see who they wound up with.

These are all the Falcons' picks from 12-20, which I would define as the middle of the draft. If your mileage varies and you want to dig through the archives for, say, picks 10-11 and 21-23, please be my guest.

2010: Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
2002: Running back T.J. Duckett, Michigan State
1998: Linebacker Keith Brooking, Georgia Tech
1992: Running back Tony Smith, Southern Mississippi
1991: Wide receiver Mike Pritchard, Colorado
1990: Running back Steve Broussard, Washington State
1987: Quarterback Chris Miller, Oregon
1986: Linebacker Tim Green, Syracuse
1983: Defensive tackle Mike Pitts, Alabama
1979: Nose tackle Don Smith, Miami
1978: Tackle Mike Kenn, Michigan
1977: Defensive tackle Wilson Faumuina, San Jose State
1972: Defensive back Clarence Ellis, Notre Dame
1970: Defensive tackle John Small, The Citadel
1966: Quarterback Randy Johnson, Texas A&M-Kingsville

Historically, the Falcons have picked between 12 and 20 just 15 times, because they're either a playoff team (rarely) or have earned themselves a top ten selection (sadly often). What does stand out is that the Falcons have landed some very good players in this range over the years, from multi-year starters like 'Spoon, Brooking and Pritchard to the legendary Mike Kenn. There are plenty of busts on this list, of course, but a surprising number of very good players, considering this team's sordid draft history.

We'll see who the Falcons add to this list at #17 in April, but I'm personally hoping it will be a player who rivals Kenn. A man can dream, can't he?