Join Date: Aug 2007
Libid21's Post-Senior Bowl Mock Draft
Libid21's 2008 NFL Mock Offseason - Atlanta
by Matt Libid
January 26, 2008
Surprisingly, this is my second mock draft in just two days. I apologize to anyone that finds this annoying that I keep changing my mind and making new mock drafts, but I guess it's not really that bad considering the Senior Bowl raised a lot of people's stocks and changed my mind about a lot of players. And it's only my third Atlanta mock draft of the entire season. I'm not going to post pictures this time because I don't really think it's needed. However, I'm letting you guys on the heads up: don't judge my mock draft as soon as you read it. Please read my depth chart and the analysis that comes with it as well. Speaking of the draft, I was surprised to find out that we could fix relatively most of our problems through it without having to dig for free agency gold. I'd like to start you guys off with the draft.
(Side Note: Just like any of my other mock offseasons, I didn't add the part of free agent signings and the releasing of our players because in my depth chart, if a player isn't there, then please assume that he was cut. Also if a player is there who's contract is supposed to run out this year, please assume that the player was resigned.)
In the draft, I see us losing out and getting stuck with the fifth overall draft pick. If we get the fourth overall draft pick, I would still want the guy I have drafting now. If we get the third overall though, I can see us drafting Darren McFadden. However, in this draft, I projected the Falcons to have the fifth overall draft choice.
2008 NFL Mock Draft
1. Sedrick Ellis, DT, Southern Cal - It was official. After seeing how Sedrick Ellis played in the Senior Bowl game, I knew he was the real deal. Ellis has a good mix of run stopping and pass rushing. He's strong and is quite a rare athlete. Atlanta would be able to solidify the interior part of their defensive line with this draft choice. He's a typical three technique defensive tackle who would be perfect in Mike Smith's idea of a 4-3 defensive tackle. When asked about his draft plan in his introduction press conference, it seems as if Mike Smith was trying to emphasize how much he wanted to stop the run by utilizing his interior defensive linemen. This draft choice just makes a lot of sense to me.
2. Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware - How far Flacco has gone never ceases to amaze me. He's played Divsion 1-AA competition, yet, he's projected to go in the very early second round. I previously had him in my previous mock drafts to be drafted in the third round, then I moved him up to be drafted with our second second round choice from Houston, and now, with so many teams like Chicago interested in drafting a quarterback like Flacco in the second round, I had to grab him with our first second round draft pick to make sure we get the next best signal caller besides than Ryan and Brohm. Joe Flacco has played in an offense that rarely has him drop back, but it's nothing Billy Musgrave can't fix. Besides, Musgrave fixed Michael Vick's sloppy footwork. What makes you think he can't fix Flacco's minor dropback problems? Anyways, Flacco's got all the tools that Atlanta is looking for in a quarterback. He's big, he's tall, he's strong, he's a leader, and he's got a good arm. It might take him a while to adjust to a pro style offense because, again, he played in a shotgun offense in Delaware. However, if you look at the strengths and weaknesses of Joe Flacco, the strengths just completely overshadow the just minor weaknesses.
2. (From Houston) Carl Nicks, OT, Nebraska - This draft choice might not make a lot of sense to you guys right now. However, I will save the analysis until after this mock draft. You will, at least I hope you will, understand this draft choice after reading the analysis part of the offensive line's depth chart. Anyways, Nicks is the best right offensive tackle in this year's draft. This pick is of great value in terms of what we're getting from him. Nicks is physically perfect for our offense line weighing in at around 340 lbs. and constantly hovering a couple pounds below or over it. Although he's at that weight right now though, that's not the thing that I'm most impressed with. The fact that Nicks is so athletic at that size is what impresses me the most. Nicks has major upside and with proper coaching, I believe Nicks can be a premiere right tackle as early as his second year starting in the NFL.
3. Beau Bell, ILB, Las Vegas - Beau Bell was projected to go in the second round due to the lack of talent in the inside linebacker position. However, he suffered a minor injury during the Senior Bowl practices, and that forced scouts to raise questions about his durability again. Well... the minor injury that he recently suffered doesn't concern me. If you listen and try to understand what Mike Smith has been saying in his interviews and press conferences, you can tell that he wants an inside linebacker that is big, strong, and can stop the run. That just makes Beau Bell a protypical 'Mike Smith' linebacker then. Beau Bell is weighing in at 245 lbs. while being 6'3". It doesn't get any better for us. He's a good combination of size and speed, and he's shown how well he can diagnose a play. I think if we're going to look into Brooking's possible replacements, this point of the draft would be it.
3. (Kerney Compensation) - Matt Forté, RB, Tulane - This is a minor reach, but if you think about it, it's not really that bad. Compensatory picks usually end up being one pick after that round, so if you're really having a problem with Forté being drafted in the third round, think of this as being the first pick of the fourth round. Forté raised that stock of his yet again in the Senior Bowl by making one of the key plays to put the South team into winning position. Forté certainly displayed his power running style and his ability to catch. This draft pick makes so much sense considering Mularkey's offensive scheme often requires a power back and a speed demon. We already have the speed demon in Jerious Norwood. Now, we can pick up a power running back in Matt Forté.
4. Tony Hills, OT, Texas - Once again, this draft pick makes more sense only after you read the analysis part of my offensive line's depth chart. So I will not explain the draft choice here, but will only describe why Hills would be a good left tackle for us. The last time he weighed in, he was only 305 lbs. He was also injured for the entire 2007 season, but before he was injured, he was considered a nominee for the Outland Award trophy which is awarded to the best offensive linemen in the country. He weighs in at 305 lbs., but he's got the frame to get even bigger and stronger. He is also an athletic player who was a former high school tight end. (He was only converted into a left tackle once in college.) This pick would also make more sense because Tony Hills could then play side by side by former Texas teammate Justin Blalock who plays at the left guard position. Chemistry is important to have in an offensive line, and what better way to build chemistry than by having a player to play with that you already know from winning a championship game in the past? Hills will take time to adjust to the left tackle position of our power blocking scheme, but I expect him to take at least one year off in the NFL anyways. I'm going to consider this my biggest sleeper pick of the draft considering the upside that you get when you draft a project like Tony Hills.
5. Dexter Jackson, WR/R, Appalachian St. - Every thing that Appalachian State has been through this year has been nothing short of amazing. Dexter Jackson's stock has skyrocketed ever since his punt and kick returns - especially the ones in the infamous Michigan upset. After seeing him play in the Senior Bowl, I was amazed with the speed that this kid has. I'm now ready to say that Jackson will end up being more important to us than anyone can ever expect him to be because of what he can bring to the table in terms of special teams and returning kicks and punts. Jackson's stock has also risen because of his solid catches in the Senior Bowl practices and the Senior Bowl itself. Jackson has slipped into my top three sleeper picks of this draft.
6. Adamm Oliver, DE, Georgia Tech - We desperately need to add depth to our defensive line. Abraham isn't always going to be healthy the entire season. In fact, I think that was the first year that John Abraham played through the entire season without suffering a major injury. Even though he stayed healthy, the rest of the defensive line had a lot of durability problems last year, and that really hurt us. Besides it usually making up for our inconsistent secondary, we mostly rely on the defensive ends to apply pressure to the quarterback, and besides Davis, there are no other reliable back ups. Adamm Oliver looks to be a reliable back up man in the NFL and can produce tackles coming off the bench whenever Abraham needs a breather. Sort of a boring pick, but Adamm is a fundamentally sound player who has the right technique down.
7. Fernando Velasco, C/OG, Georgia - The injuries on our offensive line is the thing that killed us last year. What we need is 'depth', and you don't get more depth at this point of the draft than in Fernando Velasco. He is naturally a center but has played offensive guard in the past. He was a terrific center on Georgia's offensive line last year, and he was a very productive lineman. Velasco fits our offensive line protocols because of how well he can perform in a power run blocking scheme. He has a powerful push off the line and showed good drive in the Shrine Bowl. When you think of Velasco, you will think of 'depth' from now on because if Datish gets injured again, we can always plug Velasco in at that second string center position and not have to worry about it. I think Velasco will start off as a back up interior lineman though. I have him playing as a second string right guard which should be enough to help him adjust to the NFL until he can show more of his potential. This is my second sleeper pick behind Tony Hills.
7. (From Pittsburgh) Jeremy Ito, K, Rutgers - Atlanta needs to look towards another direction with their kicker position other than 47-year-old grandfathers who can barely kick it within the thirty yard line. No offense to 'Grampa' Andersen, but we desperately need a kicker who will stay clutch and pull through for us for a long amount of time. I've had enough of worrying about the kicker position every time we start the season. No more free agent unknowns and no more last minute signings. With the amount of teams that will more likely be looking for a kicker outside of the draft, I wouldn't want Ito to slip into the free agency pool. Ito has kicked 50+ yard field goals in the past, and he's very clutch. When you think of the value you would have to pass on if you wanted Carmody or Coutu in the sixth round, I think again if it's really worth getting them at that point of the draft. Jeremy Ito has gone under the kicker radar this past year for reasons I don't quite know. Note that he was a nominee for the Lou Groza award his senior year as well.
QB: Redman | Flacco | Leftwich
RB: Norwood | Forté | Dunn | Snelling
FB: Mughelli | Snelling
WRx: White | Robinson | Jennings
WRy: Jenkins | Horn | Jackson
TE: Crumpler | Blakely | Milner
Analysis: Nothing too special here. Obviously Flacco will sit out his rookie year. In case of emergency, I think Leftwich would step in at the starting position. If we had nothing to lose, I can see us starting Flacco by the start of week eight (earliest). However, because Flacco has played in a shotgun offense in college and will probably need to work on his dropback, it makes more sense to just bench him for the year instead of immediately throwing him into the fire. Jerious Norwood and Matt Forté will be the 1, 2, Punch combination of our running game. In Mularkey's offense in Pittsburgh, he used a combination of Jerome Bettis and someone else (I forget), but anyways, this is the combination that you would want in an offense that runs first with the ball. Norwood can now show that he can start as a running back and Forté will contribute around ten to fifteen carries a game to respectively change the pace of the rush. Warrick Dunn will mostly contribute through his knowledge and advice, and Snelling can be yet another change-of-pace running back. I will say that I still haven't given up on Snelling yet. He has shown flashes of potential in the 2007 NFL Pre-season, and if I were to give him another shot, I would want him to be a running back and if it means he'll be in the line up, a fullback - the original position he was listed as in the 2007 NFL Draft. Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, and Laurent Robinson will mostly be the premiere receivers of this offense. We would occasionally bring in Jennings to be a fifth slot receiver.
LT: Weiner | Hills
LG: Blalock | Batiste
C: McClure | Datish
RG: Clabo | Velasco
RT: Nicks | Foster
Analysis: Okay, here's the place where a little uniqueness goes on with my depth chart. Todd Weiner will be converted into a left tackle. There's nothing wrong with that considering his athleticism has been shown against players like Julius Peppers and Patrick Kerney who have gone up against Weiner this past year. (Weiner played well against both of them just to let you know.) While Tony Hills gets accustomed to a power blocking scheme and is given time to bulk up a bit, Weiner can fill in at the left tackle position. At the center position, I can see Doug Datish competing for the starting spot because he was doing exactly that before he was injured for the season during training camp. Tyson Clabo at right guard position just makes sense. He played very well this season with all the injuries that occurred on our offensive line, and he should be able to step up for this offense. Fernando Velasco will be responsible for backing up the right guard, and occasionally, the center position. Carl Nicks will immediately start at the right tackle position while being backed up by Renardo Foster who was last year's emergency tackle. I will add that Foster did quite well backing up the tackles last year, so there's no reason for me not to trust him this year. With this offensive line in place, I don't see why our running game can't get started early in the season. Weiner is mostly a pass blocker, but he is still a decent run blocker. Blalock is a great run blocker, McClure needs to improve (but we can always plug Doug Datish in), Clabo is decent with blocking the run, and Nicks is excellent in terms of driving. We will most likely be running inside to the left guard or outside towards the right tackle. I might as well trust Todd Weiner with being our blind-side left tackle because he has been Michael Vick's blind-side tackle for all the years that Vick's been on this team. I thought this part of the offense out long and hard, and I think this is the best way to solidify our rush and pass blocking.
RDE: Abraham | Davis
UT: Coleman | Babineaux
NT: Ellis | Lewis
LDE: Anderson | Oliver
Analysis: This one is quite simple. Lewis has been able to adjust in being a nose or under tackle, but his main position is nose tackle, so I have him listed as that. Chauncey Davis will occasionally be rotated into the defensive end position during the game to keep the starters fresh. The same goes with Trey Lewis' role. I think this is our strongest part of the team with having excellent pass rushers in John Abraham and Sedrick Ellis. We also have power bull rushers in Rod Coleman and, in my point of view, in Anderson. I don't see a major weakness in this position against the run other than Abraham being the thinnest/smallest member of the line, but that's never really stopped him in the past. Abraham is still a solid tackler. The defensive line will be mostly relied on to make up for the weak depth in our secondary.
SLB: Boley | Wilkins
ILB: Brooking | Bell
WLB: Williams | Nicholas
Analysis: There wasn't anything special here. We resign Michael Boley to a long term deal and have Beau Bell back up Brooking until Brooking is ready to step out (which I predict will be in a year or, at most, two). The leader in the future will be Michael Boley. However, right now, it should be Keith Brooking. Other than that, DeMorrio Williams is also resigned to a relatively short term deal to fill the void at the weak side linebacker position.
LCB: Hall | Irons
RCB: Houston | Sanders | Lowe
FS: Williams | Crocker
SS: Milloy | Stone
Analysis: This is the only part of the team that I didn't contribute to. I see us re-negotiating DeAngelo Hall's contract and giving him the big bucks that he's looking for. We also resign Chris Crocker to another short term contract. The reason why I'd want Crocker to be on this team is because he can also play the cornerback position. That's a crucial role player to have in this part of the roster. Sanders is still going to be our nickel defensive back, but I can picture Irons getting more playing time than last year. Daren Stone will stay as Milloy's back up, and I can see him and Irons getting most of their playing time in special teams.
KOR: Jackson | Jennings
PR: Jackson | Jennings
Analysis: Obviously. Jeremy Ito will be our place kicker, Koenen will punt and kick off, Dexter Jackson will return the kicks and punts, and Mike Schneck will long snap. With the return duties mostly off of Adam Jennings' shoulders, I expect a boost of receiving performance from him from here on out.
QB D.J. Shockley
C Ben Wilkerson
NT Montavious Stanley
CB Brent Grimes
S Antoine Harris
WR Jamin Elliot
OT Harvey Dahl
LB Travis Williams
Last edited by oldLibid21 : 01-27-2008 at 12:48 AM.