McKay builds for future; safety Hall re-signed
By MATT WINKELJOHN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/25/05
FLOWERY BRANCH â€” For Falcons' president/general manager Rich McKay this weekend's NFL draft was more about the future than the present.
Sunday, Atlanta picked two defensive linemen and a linebacker and also added an offensive lineman and a running back.
BILLY SMITH II / AJC
First round pick Roddy White was introduced Monday at Flowery Branch.
Grade the Falcons draft:
A: All excellent picks
B: Pretty good overall
C: Pretty bad overall
F: Who are these guys?
Voter Limit: Once per Hour
View Poll Results
Forum: Tell us what you think of the Falcons' draft
However, McKay said "We didn't draft any of these guys [including wide receiver Roddy White, defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux or linebacker Jordan Beck on Saturday) that they would come in this year and be starters."
The Falcons didn't address their secondary in the draft, but wasted no time in re-signing safety Cory Hall and tabbing him a starter as Bryan Scott recovers from shoulder surgery.
"Right now, the depth chart will be Cory and Keion [Carpenter]; Cory at free safety and Keion at strong," coach Jim Mora said.
This year's draft class may not be counted on to start games, but it may be counted on to log more playing time than last year's rookies.
A roster drain since the end of last season all but means that Florida State defensive end Chauncey Davis (a fourth-round pick), Southern Miss linebacker Michael Boley (fifth) and Michigan State running back DeAndra Cobb (sixth) are in line for playing time on special teams, and/or as key backups.
The same goes for White, Babineaux and Beck.
Davis, who had seven sacks, 18 tackles for a loss and 22 quarterback pressures at Florida State last season, "Reminds me of the Greg Spires kid who came out of Florida State [and was drafted by the Bucs]," McKay said.
"A very high-motor guy. We want to let him compete to be the third end [filling a hole created with Travis Hall was cut]."
Beck, a third-round pick Saturday, and Boley are similar. Both run very well. McKay suggested that Beck may backup new middle linebacker Edgerton Hartwell, and Boley might be behind weakside linebacker Keith Brooking.
"There are some guys who will have a chance to be one nick, or one injury away from playing in a game," he said. "We have no necessity to compete for a championship this year and have either of them play [on defense]. We need them, though, to be contributors on special teams.
"We had guys last year who did it well for us in Artie Ulmer and Eric Johnson, but they were not positional players. We weren't growing anybody in the system. We tried to get back to what I'm accustomed to, which is you take that fifth or sixth linebacker spot and get fast guys with linebacker potential and let them grow."
Cobb, who at 5-feet-9, 196 pounds is a little bigger than starting running back Warrick Dunn, was a situational back at Michigan State, rushing for 1,060 yards as a freshman.
But he also had a career kickoff average of 25.5 yards in college, including four touchdowns.
"He's viewed as a guy who can help with kickoffs," McKay said, "and compete as a third-down back."
After the somewhat surprising pick of White in the first round, the Falcons ended up selecting five defensive and three offensive players.
Mora said White could work his way into the offensive rotation as a rookie.
"The offense will evolve as you grow as a team, as the players learn it together," Mora said, "as you add quality pieces to the puzzle I think you'll just see a very complete offense."