Falcons 2000 Draft Recap

This is a collection of information on each Falcon draft pick that you can find on the internet. It is a collection from multiple on-line sources about each player, so that you know how each of the experts feel on each player.

Falcons 2000 Draft Picks

Pos. Player
2 6 37 G Travis Claridge Southern California
3 5 67 LB Mark Simoneau Kansas State
4 6 100 T Michael Thompson Tennessee State
5 5 134 CB Anthony Midget Virginia Tech
6 6 172 WR Mareno Philyaw Troy State
7 5 211 CB Darrick Vaughn Southwest Texas State



#71 - Travis Claridge

Hgt: 6'5" Wgt: 305
College: USC 40 Time: 5.18
Pro Football Weekly by Joel Buchsbaum
Notes: High-school All-American. Never redshirted and started every game of his career. Had shoulder surgery after the 1996 and '97 seasons. Moved from guard to right tackle in '99 and had the best year of his career.
Positives: Four-year starter who improved a lot as a senior. Has developed a good work ethic and solid intangibles. Tough, blue-collar-type mentality. Aggressive and tenacious run blocker who works to finish his blocks. Improving pass protector. Very durable and prides himself upon being ready to answer the bell every week. Can line up at either guard slot or at right tackle.
Negatives: Does not have the athletic ability or foot quickness scouts look for and probably can't play left tackle. Will get outquicked and beaten by athleticism at times. Has a tough time handling counter moves. Does not redirect as quickly as scouts would like. Is a little stiff in his movements and does not play with natural hip roll and explosion.
Summary: Tough, solid, blue-collar offensive lineman who can play guard or right tackle, but he has athletic limitations and limited potential from an athletic standpoint.
NFL Draft Digest by Brian DeLucia
Solid four-year starter. Claridge is a tough guy who rings the bell every week. Claridge is a respectable athlete, but his game is pure power. Claridge could be a solid run blocking guard at the next level. Has been showing adequate enough movement skills to be considered as a right tackle by some teams. Claridge takes a professional approach to the game and is all business on the field.
Springfield Draft Publications
Started every game of his college career. Has had a lot of injury problems over the years but never missed playing time as a result. Very tough and will play through pain. A battler in the trenches. A physical player who likes to mix it up with defenders. A brutish blocker with a massive frame. Difficult to dislodge when he anchors. Gets a good jump off the snap and gets into the defender quickly. Uses his hands well and finishes his blocks. In pass protection he doesn't always sink his hips as he should and can be knocked off balance. Learning to slide and shuffle but still looks stiff at times. Has superb physical potential and has shown the ability to learn. Extremely versatile and could be used as a team's swingman. Will work hard and should succeed at the next level when he refines his technique. His stock is on the rise.
The Sporting News by NFL War Room
Run blocking: Outstanding base; sinks hips into blocks. Works to finish and does outstanding job driving legs through blocks. Feet are adequate. Occasionally out of position, but if he gets there he finishes. Grade: 6.5
Pass blocking: Setup is average but usually gets good position and does excellent job controlling defender with strong hands. Great pop in short set. Can anchor in phone booth in one-on-one situations. Grade: 6.0
Initial quicks: Adequate but needs to do better job coming out of stance low. Dominant when sinks into base, but occasionally gets beat off ball by quicker, more explosive defensive tackles. Grade: 5.0
Strength: Shows more on field than in weight room. Excellent trunk allows him to anchor. Uses outstanding hands to create separation in pass protection. Good surge in run game; will drive through blocks with superb lower-body strength. Grade: 6.5
Mobility: Not overly quick but shows body control and ability to adjust. For now, more of short-area player. Grade: 5.0
Notable: As a youngster worked out with former Trojan Marv Marinovich, father of former Southern California QB Todd.
Final analysis: Reliable and physical throwback-type. Mobility needs to improve but should start immediately based on strength and toughness. Overall grade: 29.0
Dan Pompei's Analysis: A mauler type of blocker who has some nasty in him. Runs and moves well. Has balance. Is not overpowering but has a good punch. Played offensive tackle in college and was a four-time all-conference selection.
The Falcons Roost by Mike Sherrane
Claridge is a player that is still developing. He has excellent size and strength and is a mauler in the middle. He isn't the athlete that Cosey Coleman or Leander Jordan (from what I've read) is, but Claridge has good power and will fit well in the Falcons run offense. He will struggle initially against the quicker opponents, and he may never get the needed quickness to play exceptional against those types of players. However, he is an excellent anchor and the Falcons should be able to get rushing yards behind him, including short yardage situations. He needs to develop as a pass blocker, but he appears that he can be a good pass blocker with a good teacher for his OL coach. Claridge is the first player in Southern California history to start every game in his college career without redshirting. Claridge played right tackle in his senior season after playing right guard his first three seasons.


#42 - Mark Simoneau

Hgt: 5'113/4" Wgt: 238
College: Kansas State 40 Time: 4.63
Pro Football Weekly by Joel Buchsbaum
Notes: Redshirted in 1995. Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year in '96. All-conference the past three years and an All-American in '99, when he also was named the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year. Had 111 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3 1/2 sacks and eight passes broken up in '96. Had 103 tackles, 15 for loss, four sacks and two passes broken up in '97. Had 95 tackles, nine for loss, 1 1/2 sacks and one pass broken up in '98. Had 91 tackles, 17 for loss, 61/2 sacks and four passes broken up in '99, when he also picked off two passes.
Positives: Very smart and instinctive football player. Aggressive and intense. Has a nasty disposition and likes to hit. Wants in on the action. Quick and fast with excellent range and speed.
Negatives: Misses too many tackles because he is too aggressive and tries to blow people up instead of wrapping them up. Is short and has short arms, making it harder for him to get off blocks and necessary for the defensive linemen to keep the blockers off him. Is a little stiff when he must change directions while in pass coverage.
Summary: Size may keep him from being a top pick, but he is a very productive player who can be an effective "Will" 'backer in the right defensive scheme.
NFL Draft Digest by Brian DeLucia
Simoneau is not much of an athlete when matched up against pro standards and lacks the skills to become an excellent player at the pro level, but Simoneau is a solid college football player who has a lot of experience. Simoneau is a very hard worker who brings a lot of intangibles to a club and could excel on special teams.
Springfield Draft Publications
A classic overachiever with a short, stocky build. An extremely aggressive defender whose motor never stops running. Though he's not a natural athlete, he's worked hard during his five years at K-State to improve his strength and speed. Cut over one-tenth of a second off his 40 yard dash time by speed training. An instinctive player who understands and enjoys the game. Works hard and is very energetic. Incredibly productive player who has been the cornerstone of one of the best defenses in the country over the past few years. However, Simoneau lacks the size and striking ability teams look for. Will get tied up in traffic and is ineffective when double-teamed. Plays with a lot of energy and should become a good special teams player and backup-caliber player at the next level.
The Sporting News by NFL War Room
Vs. inside run: Overachiever limited by size but extremely active. Plays bigger than measurables would indicate. Excellent toughness and natural strength but will have trouble at point of attack vs. bigger, more physical blockers. Needs to play with better leverage between tackles. Grade: 5.0
Vs. outside run: Sideline-to-sideline player with tremendous agility and quickness. Makes quick reads and flows to ball. Does good job in pursuit but must avoid being reached in order to make plays. Will have to improve change of direction and body control to get over congestion in middle of field. Grade: 6.5
Blitz/pass rush: Active pass rusher with great motor. Has good instincts as inside rusher; sees crease open and attacks. Not much of threat to push pocket. Needs to get clear shot at quarterback to contribute on blitz. Grade: 5.0
Key and diagnose: Excellent read-and-react player. Student of game. Studies opponents and understands tendencies. Wastes little motion and takes few false steps out of stance. Grade: 6.0
Pursuit/tackling: If he doesn't get caught up, is special pursuit player with great speed and reaction. Takes good angles and makes a lot of plays on move. Technically sound as tackler and shows good explosion into ballcarrier. Grade: 5.5
Notable: Hometown of Smith Center, Kan., is less than 15 miles from geographical center of contiguous United States.
Final analysis: Size and skills make him more an outside linebacker prospect but offers enough power and activity to compete inside at NFL level. Teams may balk on him early because of size limitations, but don't expect him to hang around into third round. Is too gifted an athlete and a proven playmaker. Overall grade: 28.0
Dan Pompei's Analysis: Scouts are divided on whether he is a middle or outside linebacker. Has the speed for the outside. Drops well enough to play three downs. Can cover. Shows good instincts. Played well at the Senior Bowl. Has been compared to Dallas' Dat Nguyen. Isn't the most physical player and doesn't always play up to his potential.
The Falcons Roost by Mike Sherrane
Simoneau is a high-effort player who will overachieve in the NFL. He has good range and works through traffic well. Has a difficult time coming off offensive linemen, but handles backs and tight ends well. He played middle linebacker in college, but will likely play strong side in the NFL. He needs to develop a better feel for the passing game. Appears to have good instincts and flows to the ball well. He is not a great blitzer at this point, but he appears to have the ability to develop into a quality blitzer.


Michael Thompson

Hgt: 6'41/2" Wgt: 305
College: Tennessee State 40 Time: 5.25
Pro Football Weekly by Joel Buchsbaum
Notes: High-school and college basketball player. Started at defensive end in 1995 and at tight end in '96. Redshirted in '97 and made the move to offensive tackle. Started at tackle in '98 and '99. Had a problem with his strength in '99 as a result of a religious fast, which caused him to drop considerable weight and weakened him. However, gained much of the weight back by the time he played in the Senior Bowl and managed to hold his own with the big boys, although he was so anxious to impress he kept jumping offside.
Positives: Very good all-around athlete. Wants to play badly. Practically campaigned to get into the Senior Bowl after a down senior season, and he made the most of his chance. Has quick feet and should be able to play left tackle on the next level if the rest of his game is good enough. Moves extremely well and is light on his feet. Had his weight up to 305 pounds at the Combine and still looked athletic in his workout.
Negatives: Lacks bulk strength and power in the running game. Has a hard time anchoring vs. a really good power rusher and gets pushed back too much. Is not a strong drive blocker in the running game. Summary: The key will be this player's ability to develop his bulk strength, power and explosion without sacrificing his greatest asset -- his movement skills. Probably got himself drafted at the Senior Bowl. Could even go pretty high in the draft because of the progress he made with pro coaching in one week in Mobile, Ala.
NFL Draft Digest by Brian DeLucia
Thompson has good size and size potential that intrigues scouts. Thompson is a good athlete who shows enough foot quickness to play left tackle. Thompson has been progressing as a run blocker and just needs further refinement at the next level. Has a chance to develop into a solid player.
The Sporting News by NFL War Room
Intriguing developmental-type player. Excellent potential in frame, but needs to add bulk. Good technique and footwork. Has good burst off ball and initial pop. Struggles to sustain blocks and shows insufficient lower-body strength to move pile. Can move with any defender, but has trouble locking on and tends to get pushed around.
Notable: Walk-on member of basketball team one season.
Overall grade: 20.0


#9 - Anthony Midget

Hgt: 5'11" Wgt: 188
College: Virginia Tech 40 Time: 4.50
Pro Football Weekly by Joel Buchsbaum
Notes: A four-year letterman who never redshirted. Became a starter at the end of the 1996 season and finished the year with 32 stops. Had 48 stops but was too erratic in '97, when he started seven of the 10 games in which he played. Was Tech's third corner and also played some safety in '98, getting in on 358 snaps and recording 17 tackles and seven passes broken up. Started all 11 games at cornerback but also played safety in '99. Got the first four interceptions of his career, including three vs. Miami (Fla.), broke up four passes, had 24 tackles, forced two fumbles and won first-team All-Big East honors.
Positives: Has adequate size and speed. Can play corner or inside in some defenses. Shows good range for a safety. Has some man-on-man cover skills. Made some big hits in '99 and was a little more willing to support against the run. Was a much better overall player in '99 than he had been in the past.
Negatives: Most of his big hits came when the receiver had his back turned toward him and very few were face-up tackles. Still is a little soft against the run. Is somewhat inconsistent in coverage. Is not as disciplined with his footwork and technique as scouts would like. May lack a little agility.
Summary: Showed enough improvement in '99 to be considered a draftable prospect but still has a ways to go.
The Sporting News by NFL War Room
Good quickness and athleticism, A solid contributor in the Hokies' defensive secondary. Played some free safety in 1998. Used mostly at cornerback last season. Intercepted four passes for national runner-ups in '99. Has tendency to get burned and needs to develop more consistency. Not overly physical, his tackling ability needs to improve.
The Falcons Roost by Mike Sherrane
Has the athleticism and mentality to play corner in the NFL, but needs to work on technique. He started only one season in college. He had only one interception in his first three college seasons, but that was a critical interception in the endzone to help Virginia Tech win. Midget has below average hands, but is capable of defending passesÖ he just doesn't seem to make the catch. Midget also is an effective special teams player.


#8 - Mareno Philyaw

Hgt: 6'2" Wgt: 205
College: Troy State 40 Time: 4.42-4.64
Pro Football Weekly by Joel Buchsbaum
Notes: High school quarterback who enrolled as a QB in 1996. Was moved to wide receiver so he could play as a freshman. Caught three passes for 42 yards while also carrying the ball three times for 104 yards and one TD. Moved back to QB in '97 and split time. Completed just 13-of-39 passes for 146 yards with one interception but did run the ball 97-447-4. Played wide receiver in '98 and '99. Caught 18-343 and three TDs, returned 16 kickoffs for 432 yards and carried 4-39-1 in '98. Caught a team-high 32-632-4 and was a second-team all-conference pick in '99, when he rushed 11-114-3 and returned 16-371. Ran in the 4.4-second range last spring, but his Combine speeds ranged from 4.6 to 4.7.
Positives: Excellent size and jumping ability. Very athletic and versatile. Can run with the ball and return kickoffs. Can also be used as an option quarterback on the goal line. Has a chance to get a lot better.
Negatives: Is not a natural receiver. Really needs to improve his pass-catching skills and routes. Poor hand placement at times. Does not adjust to or catch the deep ball well. Seems to have a hard time judging and tracking long passes thrown over his shoulder and/or head. When he was timed in the 4.4s, my report said he did not play to his timed speed.
Summary: Developmental player who needs a lot of development and refinement. Will probably be re-timed a lot this spring. His times and how he works out will have a lot to say about his draft status.
NFL Draft Digest by Brian DeLucia
Has all the measureables in terms of size and speed. Has good hands. All he needs is reps at this point in order to gain a better feel for the game. Will make plays downfield with his size and speed. Philyaw is a great character guy who works very hard, so his future looks bright.
The Sporting News by NFL War Room
Developmental-type player with great size and speed. Adequate hands but needs to be more consistent. Shows quicks and excellent burst in and out of cuts but tends to oversell routes and wastes motion. Gets off line well; uses quickness and size to avoid press. Flashes big-play abilities, especially as runner after catch. Tremendous prospect with huge upside. Still raw.
Notable: Shared quarterback position in 1997.
Overall grade: 23.5
The Falcons Roost by Mike Sherrane
Philyaw began his college career as an option QB and moved to wide receiver in his junior season. Philyaw is very raw as a wide receiver and will likely take at least a year before he is productive in the NFL. However, he does have exception athletic ability and catches the ball well. In college, he reportedly ran a 4.2 40, but he has not run that fast in any "official NFL workouts" to my knowledge. Philyaw accelerates very well and if he learns to use his size to his advantage, he could develop into a top wide receiver. Philyaw is a great example of how I believe this draft is at WR. Philyaw should be productive in the NFL. But if he works hard and is well coached, Philyaw could develop into a great wide receiver. It is hard to determine where Philyaw will go in the draft. I could see some team liking him enough to draft him in the 3rd round.


Darrick Vaughn

Hgt: 5'101/2" Wgt: 190
College: SW Texas State 40 Time: 4.55
Pro Football Weekly by Joel Buchsbaum
Notes: Played as a true freshman, even though he did not turn 18 until the season was a month old. Started the next three years. Had four stops in 1996; 47 tackles, 10 passes broken up and one pick in '97; 42-4-3 in '98; and 43-4-4 in '99. Also returned 12 punts for 58 yards in '98 and eight punts for 116 yards and a TD in '99.
Positives: Has adequate size and speed. A good athlete. Has quick feet and good agility. Covered the opposition's best receiver and was generally right on coverage. Has good hands and can return punts. Young. Will not turn 22 until October.
Negatives: Is not a physical player. Does not play with a lot of power, punch or aggressiveness. Seems to have a hard time reacting to and finding the ball when he is playing man-on-man coverage. Is often right on coverage yet still lets the receiver make the catch.
Summary: Has enough size, speed and ability to play cornerback on the next level but needs to become much more physical and to do a better job of locating and playing the ball if he is to make it.
The Sporting News by NFL War Room
Has a lot of experience at the college level. Played as a true freshman and started his final three years at cornerback. A good cover man with excellent footwork and quickness. Size (5-11 194) is decent, but scouts would like to see him be more aggressive. A versatile player who can return kicks. Led led his team in interceptions in 1999. If increases his toughness, he has the physical skills to play.

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