My Turn

The Falcons had their chance, here's what I would have done with Atlanta's picks going into the Draft and who was available.

#3: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU - Highest rated prospect at his position - a position of critical need to the Falcons - in a decade.  High character, high productivity, high effort.  Once Dorsey was cleared medically, he became the best player available in the draft.  With a huge hole at defensive tackle, the ability to put an impact player there would not only fill a need, but take pressure off the linebackers and free up last year's top pick Jamal Anderson at defensive end.  Dorsey would be a defensive cornerstone for 8 to 10 years and not only start, but make an impact, from day 1. Aside from everything else, Dorsey was the one player who could have united a fractured fan base, energized fans about what figures to be a miserable '08 and sold tickets - something rare for a defensive tackle.

#34: Justin King, CB, Penn State - King ended up falling to the 4th round so I could be accused of reaching here, but King was projected into the late first or early 2nd rounds going into the draft.  King has the elite athletic ability to play the aggressive press-man coverage on the outside that the Falcons want to employ.  A starting corner opposite Chris Houston was a must going into the draft.

#37: Dan Connor, ILB, Penn State -Like King, Connor ended up slipping, but was projected into the late 1st or early 2nd round.  At #37 the Falcons selected Curtis Lofton, an inside linebacker from Oklaohoma; I sign off on that pick, but prefer Connor slightly.  Depth at LB, particularly in the middle, was an area of high need.

#48: DeShaun Jackson, WR, Cal - I would have loved to draft a starting tight end here and both USC's Fred Davis and Texas A&M's Martellus Bennett were both available, but the Falcons are looking more for blocking than pass catching from their tight ends and that isn't the strength of either Davis or Bennett. Jackson is a tad small, but is lightning fast, has good hands, is incredibly productive and can also excel in the return game.  This is why you stockpile picks, to allow yourself the flexibility to take chances on players who end up falling on draft day.  Jackson was slated in the middle or late first round going into the draft and WR is a need area for Atlanta.

#68: Andre Fluellen, DT, FSU - FSU has a good history of producing productive defensive tackles and if it weren't for injuries last season Fluellen would have likely gone much higher.  Defensive tackle was a huge need going into the day and by taking Dorsey in the first round and Fluellen here, that need is addressed for the forseable future.

#98: Anthony Collins, OT, Kansas - Best available offensive tackle on the board and that's a huge need area for Atlanta.  Big and physical lacking some of the finer technique, but at worst should be able to provide depth or play guard.

#103: Xavier Adibi, OLB, Virginia Tech - With Connor already on board, I realize linebacker is no longer a need area, but I've watched Adibi closely for three years and all he does is fly to the ball and make plays.  A great athlete who can support the run and drop back to cover, if nothing else he can anchor special teams and provide depth to what could be a suddenly young, athletic, linebacking corps.

#138: Barry Richardson, OT, Clemson - Physically huge and a gifted athlete.  Offensive line continues to be a need and Richardson should provide depth at least.  Worth a chance here.

#172: Dominique Barber, S, Minnesota - Safety is a need area and has yet to be addressed.  Barber is the highest rated S left on the board.

#212: Marcus Monk, WR, Arkansas - First round body.  First round talent.  Injured last season and played for a team that couldn't throw the ball so his stock plummeted.  Put him on USC or Florida and he's a first day pick.  Well worth the risk here even at a position not of great need.

#232: Kirk Barton, OT/OG, Ohio State - Not the best athlete, but has great technique.  Dependable.  Competitor.  Knows how to play the position.  Versatility to play guard or tackle.