The Falcons made one of their boldest moves in the team's history in 2011 and made the blockbuster trade for Julio Jones. The risk was huge, but Jones has turned into potentially the best wide receiver in the entire league. How did Thomas Dimitroff follow up such a rousing success?
Bombing the 2012 draft. The Falcons were short their 1st and 4th round pick. Looking at their selections with the remaining picks, they may as well have traded all of their 2012 picks to the Cleveland Browns. They did not even luck out on undrafted free agents, with the only notables being QB Dominique Davis and OT Bryce Harris. Harris is the only player the Falcons drafted or signed still in the league.
Which brings us to the actual grades.
I don't know what to say here. My only criteria was, "Did this player stick on the roster, and if they did, were they the worst at that position in the entire league?" I still can't really explain this draft. The team really needed a guard, and Kelechi Osemele was widely mocked to Atlanta. Instead they tried to replace Todd McClure for unknown reasons. Konz was the top ranked center in the draft, but ended up as a spectacular bust. He could not play and always looked outmatched when given the chance. Despite getting ample opportunity, Konz failed to make any positive impact in Atlanta.
Lamar Holmes was another head scratcher. Tackle did not look like a big need, and many wondered where the slow-footed Holmes would end up. This guy couldn't slow down an approaching toddler. Like Konz, Holmes looked terrible from the start and failed to improve.
Jonathan Massaquoi and Travian Robertson are the only two selections that weren't complete busts, as both players showed something on the rare occasion they saw the field. Neither finished out their rookie contract, and neither made an impact elsewhere in the NFL.
This draft was either homeruns or strikeouts, as Seahawks GM John Schneider swung for the fences. While first round pick Bruce Irvin did not work out as well as possible, the team got ridiculous value in Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, Jeremy Lane, and J.R. Sweezy. In fact, Wilson should break our standard ranking categories and deserves a 7.
This offseason illustrates why the Seahawks have been so good. The team went bold and drafted guys who had great potential. They signed Matt Flynn to a decent contract, but still drafted Wilson. Then they started Wilson. The Falcons, on the other hand, blamed Konz's problems on Garrett Reynolds, and gave him the starting job for a few years without adding any competition.
As sure as the sun rising every day, the Browns had a very bad draft. They traded up for a slow running back 3rd overall, and drafted a quarterback that was a member of AARP. They got great value in Mitchell Schwartz, and did well drafting Travis Benjamin and Billy Winn. You just can't be a winning team if your first round picks are only averaging 18 months in Cleveland. They were smart to get some value out of Trent Richardson after one year, but I've got to look at his impact as one of the top picks.
The Browns took a big risk and dropped a 2nd round selection in the 2012 supplemental draft on Josh Gordon. Gordon lea the league in receiving despite being suspended for part of the season. And he followed it up with more suspensions. It was a risky move. I respect it because it gave the Browns a chance to have one of the best in the league, but it has ultimately failed to prove successful.
Another year, another time I regret suggesting the Giants as our "average" benchmark. Is Jerry Reese some sort of spy from the Dallas Cowboys trying to destroy their best competition in the division? I can understand the reason for some of these picks, but what a terrible group of selections. Players that worked out: no one.
You shouldn't be surprised that this was a terrible draft for the Falcons. In fact, this may be one of the worst in Falcons history. The team selected no one who had a positive impact. If we are looking for 21 points, the Falcons didn't even come close at 7, averaging under 1.2 points per pick. How does it compare to other teams?Well, it is way worse than every other team.
The Seahawks continued to swing for the fences, more or less finding busts or Pro Bowl players. If the hope is a time will end up with about 21 points every draft, Seattle blew it out of the water with 31 points and still end up above average averaging just over 3 points per selection.
This year the Browns famously drafted the core to their offense, grabbing Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, and Josh Gordon. The only guy who stuck on the roster more than two seasons has spent most of his career suspended. They wound up with only 26 points with 12(!) additions, including two 1st round picks and an additional 2nd rounder from next year. More picks doesn't always help. Under 2.2 points per selection. Yuck.
The Giants totaled 13 empty points on 7 picks, and again look worse than the Browns.
Follow along as we look at the next couple of offseasons and see where Dimitroff ends up.