The Atlanta Falcons had a terrible year not making the playoffs and regressing. Their undersized defense was the cause with of course the early season ending injury to wide receiver Julio Jones. Roddy White never got on track and that is a concern for the 2014 season. If he can’t get separation like last year, I am afraid Roddy’s days are numbered. The Falcons finished 4-12 and have the 6th pick in round 1. hey need to get bigger on the defensive side of the ball and they need to replace Tight End Tony Gonzalez. They also need to think about the future sooner than later replacement of RB Steven Jackson. The positions that are a priority need are: OLB, OT, TE.
2014 NFL DRAFT PICK RECAP AND ANALYSIS
Jake Matthew OT, Texas A&M Round 1 Pick 6
With the help of the Jacksonville Jaguars taking Blake Bortles with the #3 pick of the draft. The board falls right into the Atlanta Falcons lap and they get the best player that fills the biggest need. GM Thomas Dimitroff should by Jaguars GM David Caldwell a country club membership as a thank you. Jake Matthews comes from a football family, his day being a NFL superstar for many years. We can expect top production and impact from Jake for the next decade barring injuries. I had the Atlanta Falcons drafting TE Eric Ebron in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft because I never thought anyone could be that stupid to take one of these QBs so early in the draft. My mock still looks right to me and I did have the top 12 out of 13 players right, just the wrong team courtesy of David Caldwell. Great, lucky pick.
Ra’Shede Hageman DT, Minnesota Round 2 Pick # 5
I projected him going to the Falcons. Hageman (6’5″, 310) combined with free agent additions, NT Paul Soliai (6-4, 340) and defensive end Tyson Jackson (6-4, 296), will be terrorizing and making people fear playing them. This is a really big bunch of mean guys capable of pass rushing and also stopping the run. Atlanta is solving their little man syndrome on defense in a BIG way. Great pick.
Dezmen Southward SS, Wisconsin Round 3 Pick # 4
Overreached for this average talented player that can’t catch a football. Not what I was thinking they would use a early round 3 pick on. This was where they needed to step up and draft a talent regardless of position and deal with Safety at another time. I would have drafted DE Scott Creighton Oregon State or RB Tre Mason from Auburn, then I would have drafted Utah State SS Mo Alexander and that was the right way to go. May have some value on Special team. Southward is a Bad pick.
Devonta Freeman RB, Florida State Round 4 Pick # 3
Reminds me of a Frank Gore who can catch passes and can easily run the gaps and break one with his 4.5 speed. Good Pick and nice rebound by GM Dimitroff after screwing the pooch with this last pick. Great Pick.
Prince Shembo OLB, Notre Dame Round 4 Pick # 39
Filling some needs at OLB with a guy that has the skill set and determination to fight his way to be a starter. Good Pick by the Falcons and should make an impact immediately. Great Pick.
Ricardo Allen CB, Purdue Round 5 Pick # 7
Plays bigger than his size. At only 5’9″, he will always be outmatched physically but has the awareness and football intellect to even the score. Needs some help with watching QB tendencies and not getting faked out by a pump fake. Pedals nicely and comes downhill in run support with purpose. I think he has the skills, but will his size just make him a better nickel than a conventional press corner or even cover 2 man. Above average pick with lots of upside.
Marquis Spruill ILB, Syracuse Round 5 Pick # 28
Falcons again look to add some talent at linebacker, a major need but the Falcons overreached again. Will impact immediately on special teams coverage but will need to work hard to break onto the field in any type of role. I actually see him being switched to Strong Safety has he has all the skills to be a premiere Safety and a mediocre linebacker. Below Average Pick.
Yawin Smallwood OLB, Connecticut Round 7 Pick # 38
A steal in the 7th round, this guy should actually fight his way onto the field and is definitely more of a fit into the Falcon defensive schemes. Needs some technique coaching and should get better with time and become a backup that adds tangible depth for the Falcons defense. Good Pick.
Tyler Starr LB, South Dakota Round 7 Pick # 40
Development player with big upside as he has the skill set, just needs some time in the weight room to get NFL strength and be able to take down NFL TEs. Will develop nicely and can see him being a viable backup. Great Pick.
Overall Team Draft Day Analysis
A good draft that had the potential to be a great one but GM Dimitroff kinda dropped the ball with the 3rd pick and could have really added a premiere RB and also got his SS in the following round. This guy should have know better and spent probably too much time focusing on round 1 and that in hindsight wasn’t even a tough draft to make.
Overall Draft Grade: C+
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