http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-1778 ... lcons-lean
19) Atlanta Falcons Jared Odrick DE/DT Penn State (previous selection: Odrick) With Weatherspoon off the board, the Falcons may surprise some here with Odrick. Some will call this a curious pick, but here's why it makes sense:
The player most believe the Falcons will select (Weatherspoon) is gone. Instead of selecting a player that may be a reach, they select a player at a position that requires a heavy rotation, the defensive line. Defensive tackle doesn't require the same pass rush that defensive end does, but getting a good push from the middle helps the ends out and allows the linebackers to do more things.
In Odrick the Falcons get an exceptional leader who is big and strong and can control the line of scrimmage. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year does not have elite-level pass rushing skills, but what he does provide is run-stopping ability that is at the top of the charts.
Consider what is important to Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith: deep and physical defensive line play and stopping the run. Atlanta's run defense improved last season and a player like Odrick in the middle would only improve that. He could join a rotation of Jonathan Babineaux and last year's first-round pick Peria Jerry along with numerous players on the end positions to give Atlanta a deep and menacing defensive line.
The Falcons' brass were present at Penn State's Pro Day and one must also consider if Peria Jerry, who Smith has said will miss minicamp, is completely on track for the start of the 2010 season. With or without Jerry, Odrick is a good back-up plan or a part of a frequent rotation that will wear out opposing offensive lines.
Though he doesn't have traditional end size, the 6'5", 304-pound Odrick just may be versatile enough to spend time on the outside as well.
Round Three pick (No. 83 overall) Navorro Bowman OLB Penn State (previous selection: Bowman) The chances of finding a solid starter at linebacker in the third round are better than finding a pass-rushing specialist or middle-clogging tackle. Because of this fact, Atlanta goes with Odrick in Round One and selects his teammate, linebacker Navorro Bowman, in the third round.
There are some character concerns from earlier in Bowman's Penn State career, but he appeared to change his ways during his redshirt junior year in 2009. The 6'1", 242-pound linebacker's stock dropped a little during the offseason, but GM Thomas Dimitroff will focus mainly on his college production. Bowman led the team in tackles for loss as a junior (17) and returned two defensive plays back for a touchdown, an interception for 73 yards and a fumble recovery for 91. He plays with a high football IQ and considered a well-liked teammate, perhaps Bowman's best attribute is his aggressive, hard-hitting, and sure tackling, a skill Smith values highly.
A very smart player in pass coverage, Bowman could be the heir apparent on the weakside for Atlanta.
Round Three pick (No. 98 overall-compensatory) J.D. Walton C Baylor (previous selection: Walton) The Falcons have said their draft will be more balanced than the two previous and with two defensive picks at the top, No. 3 will be a move to help the offense.
In Walton, Atlanta gets a 2009 AP All-American and a player capable of taking over for Todd McClure at center when he retires. The 6'3", 300-pound Walton was clearly the top center on the South squad at the Senior Bowl. A consistent player who started every game at center from his sophomore year on, he could potentially help out at guard until his time comes at center.
Known as a leader of the offensive line, he's tough, physical, and goes all out on every play, exactly what the Falcons want in the understudy to McClure.
Round Four pick (No. 117 overall) Marshall Newhouse G TCU (no previous selection) The Falcons will want to continue to spend picks to add talent, depth, and competition to the offensive line. They did the same last year with offensive tackle Garrett Reynolds who impressed late in the season with increased playing time.
While the Falcons return all five starters on the line from 2009, the future doesn't imply that will continue. The right side of the line (G Harvey Dahl and T Tyson Clabo) are restricted free agents and there's a strong possibility that both won't return in 2011. In Newhouse, Atlanta gets a versatile player who started three straight seasons at left tackle. At the East-West Shrine Game Newhouse played every position except center and impressed.
Newhouse, 6'4", 319 pounds, has good bloodlines as well. His father, John, was on three Houston Cotton Bowl teams in the 70's and his uncle, Robert, was a Dallas Cowboys fullback for 12 seasons. Strong, with good length, Newhouse may fit in better inside at guard, allowing him to use his strength and run-blocking ability.
Round Five pick (No. 149 overall) Patrick Stoudamire CB Western Illinois (no previous selection) Even with the signing of Dunta Robinson and what looks to be decent depth at the cornerback position, look for the Falcons to look to add another young corner in this year's draft.
In Stoudamire, the Falcons get a player who has potential and could develop into a starting-caliber player. He's blessed with good size (5'11", 206 pounds), good speed (40's ranged from 4.43 to 4.52), and athleticism. Smooth and fluid in his backpedals and transitions down the sideline, Stoudamire also is known to play physical, sometimes too much so.
A three-year starter, he had 16 pass breakups as a senior. Stoudamire also has good genes; he has two cousins that have played in the NBA and another that played in the NFL. He also was on the Western Illinois basketball team as a freshman.