Atlanta Falcons Day 1 Grade

Yesterday the Falcons made a statement that they were ready to officially close the book on Vick; long live the Matt Ryan era. I will admit that with Dorsey sitting on the board, I thought Atlanta should go with Dorsey, and then go after Brohm or Henne, and offensive line help. Instead, Atlanta went after Ryan, their franchise QB, and traded back into the first round and
took Sam Baker (USC, LT). Is this enough to set the franchise in the right direction?

  • Matt Ryan (QB, Boston College) – Round 1, Pick 3: All the experts say that this is the franchise QB of the draft. I think the bust potential is there, but if the Falcons need a new face to sell tickets, merchandise, and put the Vick debacle behind for good, then Ryan was the right pick.
  • Sam Baker (OT, Southern Cal) – Round 1, Pick 21: The Falcons traded back into the first round by sending the Washington Redskins several picks. The Redskins received the Falcons 2nd (34), 2nd (48), and 4th (103) picks. In exchange, the Falcons took Baker with the Redskins 1st (21), and received their 3rd (84), and 5th (154) selections. With the Falcons having needs all over the field, I think the price for Baker was too steep. Baker has had injury problems the last couple of years, but he did only give up 4.5 sacks on his last 889 pass plays. If Baker overcomes his injury problems and can be coached, this Baker could play a pivotal part of rebuilding the offensive line.
  • Curtis Lofton (LB, Oklahoma) – Round 2, Pick 6 (37): I admit that I am not crazy about this pick, however, if he can start, or at least get on the field a few times a game, this will be a good pick. If Lofton can talk over MLB, Keith Brooking can move to the WLB, while Michael Boley will continue to hold down the fort at SLB. If Lofton fills the inside for years to come, then everyone will wonder how Lofton fell into the second round.

Bottom line, I am going to give the Falcons a “C” for wow factor, but “B+” for addressing needs of QB and OL. Ryan may turn out to be the real deal, and everyone will wonder why all the fuss for taking Ryan three overall. The price to land Baker was too high. Lofton is not exactly a sexy pick. With all that said, if Baker and Lofton start right away, and Ryan takes over before the year is out, day one has to be considered a huge success. Not exciting, but successful.

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