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Atlanta Falcons '05 Draft Review
President, NFL Draft Countdown
Last season we all saw just how important one player could be to a football team. When Michael Vick missed the entire 2003 season the team ended up choosing in the Top 10 overall, while with him in 2004 they almost landed in the Super Bowl. The key to continued success for this team will be to surround Vick with talent while maintaining the running game and defense that got them to this point. Did they take a step in that direction with this draft class?
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. That must be the Falcons motto after using yet another first round pick on a wide receiver this year. If you remember, two years ago they dealt their #1 to Buffalo in exchange for Peerless Price, who was a bust, and in 2004 they nabbed Michael Jenkins, whose future is still up in the air. This time around they opted for Alabama-Birmingham's Roddy White at #27 overall. A guy who didn't get a lot of press and who many might not have seen, White has an excellent combination of size and speed and was one of the best available in this draft when it comes to running after the catch. Will he finally be the weapon in the passing game Michael Vick has been searching for?
In round two Atlanta addressed their need for an interior defensive lineman by selecting Iowa defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. With Ed Jasper moving on the team was woefully thin up the middle and, while he lacks ideal size, Babineaux is a difference maker who can wreak havoc inside. Look for him to provide depth at first behind Rod Coleman and play a major role as a rotational player right away for this team. In round three they went with another undersized but very productive player in Cal-Poly linebacker Jordan Beck. A tackling machine with excellent speed, Beck will provide the type of quality depth they were lacking and should help out on special teams as well.
When the second day began the Falcons went right back to the defensive side of the ball. In round four they nabbed Florida St. defensive end Chauncey Davis, who will be a situational pass rusher and provide depth behind Patrick Kerney and Brady Smith. In round five the team chose Southern Miss linebacker Michael Boley, followed by defensive tackle Darrell Shropshire of South Carolina in round seven. A better prospect than his former teammate Rod Davis a year ago, Boley lacks the bulk you look for but was very productive and in a lot of ways will remind you of Demorrio Williams. In Shropshire I believe they got a steal and when it really comes down to it he will provide the run stuffing presence they lost in Jasper.
The Falcons didn't ignore the offense on day two though and used a couple of second day picks on that side of the ball as well. First they opted for a sleeper in offensive tackle Frank Omiyale of Tennessee Tech. He is raw and will need to be developed but they needed some depth at tackle and this pick gives them a promising youngster there. And finally, in round six they picked Michigan St. running back DeAndra Cobb, a guy whose real value will come as a return man on special teams and not in the backfield.
For Vick and Falcons fans hopefully the third time is the charm when it comes to expending first rounders on wideouts. If White turns into the vertical threat they have been looking for this draft will have been a resounding success. Outside of White and Babineaux the remainder of their choices will likely be ticketed for backup and situational roles, but if they can get two guys who are key performers as rookies they will be doing very well for themselves.