Reviewing the draft: Atlanta Falcons

The winds of change are in full swing for the Falcons. Rich McKay brings experience and a great reputation as a general manager while first time head coach Jim Mora Jr. brings exuberance and potential. With a solid nucleus in place that includes recent first round selections Michael Vick and T. J. Duckett, many felt the Falcons needed to only tweak an already talented roster to get back in the playoff hunt.

With the eighth overall selection the Atlanta Falcons quickly nabbed DeAngelo Hall.  Hall was widely considered the best cornerback in this draft, as well as its' fastest player, and should have no problems breaking into the starting line-up as a rookie.  With time and development, Hall could develop into a shut down corner yet may make his biggest mark as a playmaking return specialist.  Atlanta then traded back into the first round and selected receiver Michael Jenkins.  Jenkins, the big bodied wide out, should provide a nice complement to Peerless Price and in time become the Falcons primary pass catching threat.   Matt Schaub is the latest developmental quarterback and potential long term backup for Michael Vick.  Though both hail from universities in Virginia, Schaub is much the opposite of Vick in every way.  Schaub has difficulty escaping the rush and does not have the arm Vick possesses.  However Schaub has a good feel for the position and knows how to play within himself.    Demorrio Williams offers the Falcons both speed and athleticism at linebacker.  An off season in an NFL weight program should help Williams improve his size while classroom dedication will help him play even faster, improving his ability to diagnose the action.   Chad Lavalais was considered by most to be a first day player but slipped to the fifth round.  There is nothing special about Lavalais's game though he is productive in most areas.  A high motor player that gives good effort on every play, Lavalais should find a spot in the Falcons rotation and may turn into a long term starter for the team.  Etric Pruitt is a nice sized safety that has the skills to develop into a difference maker.  While he will be hard pressed to get playing time as a rookie he could excel on special teams until he fully develops into an every down defender.  Quincy Wilson is a physical running back that offers a nice replacement for T. J. Duckett .  While he may never be anything more than a backup he could stick around the NFL for a long time as his ability to carry the ball in short yardage or block on passing downs will be invaluable to a team.

Overall the Falcons did a nice job adding talent to their roster.  DeAngelo Hall and Michael Jenkins may be the only two players that make an immediate impact yet Atlanta strengthened their depth at several critical positions and all three of their second day defensive selections should play significant roles by their second season in the league.  This draft may be remembered for supplying the team with 5-to-6 long term players and given the presence of the teams young offensive stars, that is what was needed.

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