I won't get into the specifics of drafting because again, I think making draft plans and projections in mid-November is the height of folly. Although for the record i think both Clowney and Barr will be taken off the board in the first 4-6 picks when all is said and done.
fun gus wrote:
We are substantially worse this year then last.As a team
, I absolutely agree. The running game has managed to get worse (thanks to the OL's run blocking getting worse as I noted before) and the defense is much worse. And the only strengths of this team from a year ago are now weaknesses because of the declining play of the QB which is directly related
to the injuries at WR, not the play of the OL. Because the pass protection as a whole has been better over the past 5 games than it was over the first 5 games of the year, and we've seen the huge dip in Ryan's production.
The OL stinks, I'm not trying to deny this. But the point I'm making is that when you really look at this team, this team could go into next year with the same starting 5 as they opened the season, and if they get better production from the QB thanks to healthier WRs, then you have every reason to believe this team will be back in the playoff hunt. And if they actually improve their pass rush, especially since they will be losing 2 veteran starters in the secondary.
The point I'm just trying to make is that it's reasonable to think that the Falcons could do nothing with their OL and they could bounce back and have a 10-win season next year. But I keep hearing how the Falcons are doomed to have another 2-win season without substantial changes to the OL. I don't think that's true at all based off the game of football, this 2013 season, and past seasons the Falcons have had.
Again, I also want to upgrade the OL. But it's a distant
2nd priority to upgrading the defense. The Falcons got Alford & Trufant last year, they have William Moore for another 2 years, and potentially after new deals for Spoon and Peters in the next 6-12 months will have them as well. They might have stumbled onto another good player in Worrilow. But this off-season will be an abysmal failure if they can't add another playmaker/pass rusher in their front 4/7 whether that's a 4-3 DE like Clwoney, a 3-4 OLB like Barr, or a 3-4 DE that is going to be the next Cameron Jordan/J.J. Watt.
I'm tired of this team thinking you can have a middling defense and win Super Bowls. It's been proven time and time again that you can win a Super Bowl with a middling OL. That's all I'm saying is that if/when this team's priorities are in order, and TD is building this team the right way
, it will be because he is finally putting the defense first and not trying to build one with 3rd and 5th round picks. Now, you can
do that if you're the Bengals and you are drafting 1st round talents that are character risks that have fallen into those rounds i.e. Justin Houston, Geno Atkins, Greg Hardy, etc. But we all know that TD isn't that sort of guy.
One of the reasons why I'm not as quick to fire TD as others is because I think he finally "got it" this past April, with using our top 2 Picks on CBs. The reality is that outside QB, DE, and CB, every other position there is good evidence that you can wait until the 3rd round or later to find good players at, whether it's WR, TE, OL, LB, or S. But if you want to find good players at QB, DE, CB, and to a lesser extent OT and DT, you better use a #1 or #2 pick on that position. But it's not automatic, because at the end of the day you have to still draft well. Josh Sitton and T.Y. Hilton and Dashon Goldson don't just fall into your lap, you gotta find them, and that's something that TD hasn't done a good job doing. I believe him capable, he just has to go out and do it.
Look if the Falcons are picking 4th and the 4th best player in the draft is a OT, then I'm not going to complain about them taking the OT. But what people don't realize is that just because you have a good OT, doesn't mean you have a good OL. see Thomas, Joe. What people fail to realize is that if/when this OL becomes a good one it's either going to require 5 brand new starters which will take the better part of 3 years to find or that Jake Matthews/Taylor Lewan pick at OT, plus
Peter Konz and Lamar Holmes not sucking.
Its the exact same argument that I've made int he past when discussing any defensive improvement, that players like Dent, Peters, Massaquoi, etc. have to become significantly better players. You need guys like Konz & Holmes to sink or swim next year. If they sink, then you move on in 2015 as you were going to do anyway. If they swim, then you'll be grateful for it. Again, I think it behooves the team to have some insurance policies in place in case they do sink, and if that means re-signing Joe Hawley and signing Anthony Collins, then by all means do that.
But a player like King Dunlap epitomizes exactly the approach IMO the Falcons should have had all along. He's succeeding in San Diego, and on tape he showed in spot duty in Philly that at worst he was a serviceable stop gap and at best he was a guy that could shut down DeMarcus Ware. And SD signed him to a 2-yr. $4M deal this of-fseason, while the Falcons gave Sam Baker, who is a marginally better player 6-yrs. $41M. And even if Dunlap fell flat on his face in SD this year, it only required an investment of $1.5M or so in guaranteed money. And they could easily move on and draft somebody else or sign somebody else. But the Falcons are in this situation where they are guaranteed like $12M more to Sam Baker, and can't get out of that deal and just have to hope that he plays better next year or else they pissed away all that money.
It's the same sort of value-based argument I made against the Julio Jones trade. This team has been TERRIBLE at assessing value, with overpaying for Julio when they could have gotten Torrey Smith for a 2nd and 5th round pick. Overpaying Dunta $57M and letting Grimes walk for $5M, over drafting guys routinely in Rounds 3-5 like Dent, Meier, etc. Thinking Osi because he's younger would be better than John Abraham, etc. And IMO once again over-spending whether it's in FA or the draft on O-linemen is another example of this team's inability to properly assess value.
As I've illustrated before, you can have Joe Thomas or Jake Long on your roster, and it doesn't make a huge difference. You can go from elite in Ryan Clady to marginal in Chris Clark and it doesn't make a difference. You can be like NO, and have a revolving door at LT with Jammal Brown to Jermon Bushrod to Charles Brown and eventually Terron Armstead, and it doesn't make an ounce of difference.
But if you go from Robert Ayers to Von Miller or Amobi Okoye to J.J. Watt, it for damn sure makes a difference.