#KRM: Jake Matthews to Falcons.

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Now stepping to the podium, a U of Oregon alumnus hailing from Canton and a Cheddar playoff contender in his second year, please welcome our surrogate Tom Dimitroff, OXR, with the pick for the Falcons.

Thank God, I don’t have to pick one of the quarterbacks.

At #6, I am instead tasked with predicting the choice of Thomas Dimitroff, who has followed the boringly predictable career path of any ex-Browns groundskeeper and inevitably risen atop Atlanta’s front office, and who is without doubt the NFL executive most closely resembling Crispin Glover.

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Ok OXR, I can see the Glover-Dimitroff thing.

The Falcons are in a relatively unusual position, in that they sucked last year but they haven’t fired everybody and aren’t running Matt Ryan out of town on a rail.  A top ten pick should be a luxury for such a team.

By definition, when you’re 4-12, there are problems to be addressed.  So far, Atlanta has brought in Dimitroff’s former co-Brown Scott Pioli as well as a couple of his ex-Chiefs players (DE Tyson Jackson, G Jon Asamoah), have formally switched to a base 3-4 defense (for what that’s worth), and just extended Mike Nolan.  They’ve signed DT Paul Soliai from Miami and resigned DT Jonathan Babineaux.  They’ve still got DE Osi Umenyiora.

Now what?

CANDIDATES

The Falcons are clearly an analytics-friendly front office, and Dimitroff is aggressive early in the draft – which, this year, means that everyone thinks he’s going after the Rams pick to take Clowney.  Here’s an illustration of how an analytics-friendly NFL CEO operates in real-life:

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Now, there’s more than one lesson that could be learned from that 14% figure.  Ten years ago smart NFL draftniks were saying that the late-first/early-second round was where you wanted to position yourself, because you had the opportunity to get a player who would radically outperform his contract; under the old CBA a top-ten pick had to become a Pro Bowler simply to justify the expense, and that has never been a high-percentage play.

Given the terms of the new CBA, though, perhaps now the smart strategy is to trade up aggressively and try to lock up a cheap superstar for four years.  However, if you’re going to use your fourth-round picks as trade chips, thereby making it even less likely that you’re going to come away from the draft with third-day contributors, it becomes all the more crucial that you hit on your early-round targets.

Anthony Barr (LB, UCLA)
I’m listing Barr first because I think pass rush is going to be Atlanta’s top priority and it’ll be easier for them to find OL help further down.  Barr is being talked about in the 10-20 range right now, but if you like a guy in that range then you like him a few picks higher as well.  I’ve seen it claimed that they may, in fact, prefer Barr to Khalil Mack, but who the hell knows.  The downside to Barr as a consolation prize for not getting Clowney is that he’s only played LB for two years and, while he has some gaudy stats, I’m leery of sack numbers as a measure of a college defensive player.  (But that’s me, not Dimitroff, so never mind.)  Unless they’re absolutely in love with Barr, I don’t think they can justify the risk at #6 – but if he slides I could see them trying to get back into the first round for him using the afore-mentioned late picks as chips.

Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma St)
Gilbert is worth a mention as the top CB prospect, but last year the Falcons used their first and second round picks on their presumed current starting CBs (Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford) who, absent any disastrous turns of events, deserve more time to develop.  It’d be a shocking allocation of resources to pick Gilbert here.

O-Line contenders

Jake Matthews (OT, A&M)
Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan)

The Falcons are still committed to incumbent LT Sam Baker, who’s had an uneven career, signed a pretty big contract last year, and then suffered a severe knee injury as part of last season’s general mass of calamities.1 At the risk of reading too much into quotes like:

I think having a tackle that you can bring in who is versatile enough to play both left and right is very important for the National Football League in today’s game, Dimitroff said when asked if the team might consider moving Baker, depending on the health of his surgically repaired knee.

you have to think that they’re considering their options at o-line.

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When you want your top picks to pay off, the Matthews’ have you covered.

Lewan may be the “nastiest” tackle on the board, but Matthews is considered to be more technically sound and versatile.  Again, this needs to be considered if your strategy is to make a small number of picks and have them all come through.  Also, in the scenario where Baker recovers and plays well at LT, it seems to be an uncontroversial opinion (by Nolan Nawrocki standards) that you can confidently plug Matthews in at RT or even elsewhere on the line.

The pick.

Like I said, I think the Falcons want a pass rusher more than anything else, and I think there’s a good chance they’ll get either Clowney or Mack – whether by trade, or in the natural course of things, as I reckon more than one QB will go in the top five.  But you have to let the board come to you. Jake Matthews at #6 it is.

.

No one ever got fired drafting the Matthews family.  Gracias Oxr.

Now on the clock, Peter M and the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Pick #TeamSelection
(linked to KRM post)
Reader
1TexansBlake Bortlesjpftribe
2RamsGreg RobinsonDave Kolonich
3JaguarsSammy WatkinsClevTA
4BrownsJadeveon ClowneyZarathustra
5RaidersKhalil MackPete Franklin
6FalconsJake MatthewsOXR
7BucsJohnny ManzielPeterM
8VikingsTeddy Bridgewatertrashycamaro
9BillsTaylor Lewanclay
10LionsHa’Sean Clinton-Dixbluedog93
11TitansAnthony Barrkanick
12GiantsEric EbronRod of Disaster
13RamsMike EvansMatt Borcas
14BearsAaron DonaldJRich
15SteelersDarqueze Dennard tmoore94
16CowboysLouis NixGrandRapidsRustlers
17RavensJustin GilbertMGBode
18JetsBrandin CooksZarathustra
19DolphinsZack Martintrashycamaro
20CardinalsCalvin PryorJRich
21PackersJace AmaroClevTA
22EaglesMarqise LeeGrandRapidsRustlers
23ChiefsRa'Shede Hagemanclay
24BengalsBradley RobyOXR
25ChargersKyle Fullertexinottawa
26BrownsDerek CarrChuckKoz
27SaintsOdell Beckham tmoore94
28PanthersXavier Su'a-Filojpftribe
29PatriotsTimmy Jerniganbluedog93
30NinersJason VerrettRod of Disaster
31BroncosCJ MosleyPete Franklin
32SeahawksCameron FlemingDave Kolonich
33 (2nd rd)TexansTroy NiklasMatt Borcas
34RedskinsStephon Tuittkanick
35BrownsRyan ShazierMGBode
36Raiders
  1. Baker was a first-round pick in Dimitroff’s first draft – after getting Matt Ryan he traded two second-rounders and a fourth-rounder to move back into the first to get Baker. [back]

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  • jpftribe

    I liked Matthews going to the Browns at 4. Maybe a draft day trade?

  • Petefranklin

    De Shaun Jackson…can we fit his new contract into the mix without capsizing?

    • my opinion is that the NFL should be ‘evaluating’ jackson instead of incognito. but you know go after the mean ol bully of a 300+ pound grown man… and let the desean flash his crip signs on sundays.

      sorry pete. to answer your q: i’ll pass on jackson. never really thought he was that good. not worth the trouble. deep crop of WRs in the draft. eagles are dumping a 1300+ yd player in his prime… big red flag there.

      • Petefranklin

        That was my gut feeling,not to look at him as he seemed inconsistent on the field, but I think he would pair up nicely with Gordon if the price is nice and allows us to drop him anytime without much of a penalty hit.
        An all pro guard with a team favorable contract being shopped for a third round pick has to be a red flag as well, even though he may only have two productive years left.

        • welp, what’s a tad hard to reconcile (myself/internally) is that i’m 100% fine picking up recovering coke head colt lyeria and the anger management project who has been discussed here before. not to mention we’ve got our own scofflaws with magnum groves, drank gordon, and mugshot bryant… and i’m fine with all of them. i sense repentance in all the above cases.

          but jackson’s situation seems different in that he was probably asked to stay away for some of these guys and chose not to. so that walks a little too close to the aaron hernandez scene and/or davone bess. cant see the upside of signing on for that.

          • Petefranklin

            The more I read the more I want to stay away. Even if we do get him on the cheap, after his first productive game he’ll probably sulk if he doesn’t get a raise. Bellichek will surely take him though, which would be a very nice pick up for them.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Is that the same thing? Flashing gang signs or threatening to gang rape a teammate’s sister?
        Incognito does not deserve to play in the NFL.

        • incognito’s text was no more an actual threat to gang rape martin’s sister anymore than the common ‘blow me’ or ‘suck it’ represents an actual invitation to fellatio. jackson’s buddies murdered people dead with real bullets not figures of speech.

      • jpftribe

        The article on NJ.com is not pretty. It really has little to do with the gang signs and more to do with the rapper he signed to his label, jaccpot. The guy was arrested with his buddy for a drive by shooting. He was subsequently found not guilty, his buddy got 15 years. Jackson tweets a picture with the guy celebrating after he is released from jail still wearing his LA jail shirt.

        After the Hernandez thing, teams have to have a pretty low threshold.

  • Happy to see Barr emerge into the thinking. Guy doesn’t go from Von Miller to crap in one year. Know that Myles Jack got more pub this year, but maybe opposing teams focus on Barr opened things up for Jack.

    All I know is I loved Barr last year, would’ve been a top 5 if he’d come out. I’m not convinced he’s not better than K.Mack.

    • mgbode

      I think Barr and Mack are very similar, but Mack has more natural instincts (having played the position longer). Watching them, I thought Barr had more athleticism, but the combine seemed to indicate they were more even than I thought. Perhaps Barr just used it better on the field?

      Of all the top10 picks, I think it is least likely that Atlanta keeps their slot. They will either trade up for Clowney or trade down to get Lewan/Matthews/Dix/Pryor/Donald. Or, they could throw a curveball and target Ebron after a trade down. Dmitrioff knows that good OT can be found later and that he likely has them pegged here.

      Still, if they do hold their slot, I could see them taking Matthews as he is just a good, solid overall talent.

      (sidebar: I still find it funny that the Titans insisted that Bruce be fired for Munchak to keep his HC job and he wouldn’t, then they hire Whisenhunt who told them they were crazy for wanting to fire Bruce and he kept him)

      • Petefranklin

        Why was that? Didn’t Bruce give enough over the years to not become a scapegoat?

        • mgbode

          No clue but I love that munchak told them they’d have to fire him instead of bruce.

          • Petefranklin

            Solid guy!

          • mgbode

            Yeah, wish I didn’t have to hate him now but he signed with Pitt and those are the rules.

          • Petefranklin

            I missed that, he should make a strong point out of a weak point there. Sucks for us!