I disagree with the notion that Peters will be fine as a 3-4 NT. A 3-4 NT needs to be able to control the A gap. That means having to contend with both a guard and a center. Corey Peters isn't going to be able to do that consistently. Corey is fine as a 4-3 NT where He can split the A Gap assignment with the UT. But in a 3-4, the NT will have to occupy two people. I just don't think that Peters can do that consistently.
IMO, you think this because Peters has not been asked to do this before and therefore it's an unknown. But IMO, Peters skillset projects fairly well to this. Is he going to be Vince Wilfork? No. But as I've stated he doesn't have to be. Can he be Shaun Cody or Dan Williams? Yes absolutely.
The issue is that the two prime candidates for the ILB spots in the proposed Falcons 3-4 are not good at taking on blocks: Dent & Spoon. Therefore it's important to have a big physical NT that can control those A gaps. You want a Casey Hampton or Ted Washington that can allow those guys to flow to the ball more easily.
And Peters doesn't fit that classic mold. But again, I believe he has the ability to do so because I believe he is more than capable of anchoring against the double team due to his excessively large lower half. And watching Peters on tape down the stretch IMO he did a much better job than I expected taking on double teams. Again, I think if asked to be this type of player, his skillset projects much better to this than you believe.
But regardless even if I'm wrong, using a high pick on such a player is a waste of a pick for the Falcons. These players are a dime a dozen and can be had relatively cheap on the open market. Glenn Dorsey, Terrance Knighton, Isaac Sopoaga, Aubrayo Franklin, Casey Hampton, Alan Branch, Pat Sims, Sammie Lee Hill, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, etc. are all available FAs that can become stopgaps in a pinch which would then give you another year or two to evaluate Peters in that role. Then in 2014, you will have players like Soliai, Josh Brent, Terrence Cody, Kyle Love, Brandon McKinney, B.J. Raji, Cam Thomas, etc. as potential free agents.
Similar to fullback it really is a plug and play position, unless you really think someone "special" is available or a pretty good player drops a couple of rounds.
But IMO the move to the 3-4 must be precipitated with the acquisition of that Justin Smith/Richard Seymour/Aaron SMith type of player. If the Falcons do not find such a player this off-season, then IMHO there is no point in moving towards a stricter 3-4 scheme. Instead, going with the multiple hybrid scheme is smarter and maintaining the 4-3 principles because the majority of your players fit that skillset. Maybe that player is Margus Hunt, who might be available at Pick #30.
Without that player there is not much precedent for building a top-notch 3-4 unit, which obviously is the goal regardless of scheme.
As for good 30th overall picks, here are some of the really good ones over the past 15 years:
2011 Muhammad Wilkerson, DL, NYJ
2001 Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
2000 Keith Bulluck, LB, TEN
1999 Patrick Kerney, DE, ATL
Some of the pretty good ones (or at least had the potential to be so)
2010 Jahvid Best, RB, DET
2009 Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
2008 Dustin Keller, TE, NYJ
2006 Joseph Addai, RB, IND
2005 Heath Miller, TE, PIT
1997 Ross Verba, OG, GB
The outright busts
2007 Buster Davis, WR, SD
2003 Sammy Davis, CB, SD
1998 Marcus Nash, WR, DEN