Atlanta Falcons 2012 NFL Draft Review

Peter Konz

Atlanta made their second consecutive playoff trip after posting a 13- 3 record. The back-to-back playoff appearances were a franchise first. Without a first or fourth round selection, both of which were traded for the rights to draft Julio Jones, the Falcons targeted need positions in the offensive and defensive lines. A lead blocker was needed to keep the running game on track and Bradie Ewing fills that niche. Peter Konz was the top rated center in the 2012 draft, but may work at right guard until salty veteran Todd McClure retires. Konz has the size and athletic ability to play any position on the offensive line. He is aggressive, technically savvy, and has a complete understanding of the zone blocking schemes. He plays square in pass protection, works to sustain his blocks, and is patient to handle inside twist stunts. Lamar Holmes will be competing at left tackle with Sam Baker and Will Svitek. Pat Hill, the former head coach at Fresno State, is now the offensive line coach and will bring out the best in the former junior college player. Holmes is big, rangy, and a good athlete. He has long arms and needs technique work in every part of his game. He was projected to go late in the draft. Bradie Ewing was drafted to help the Falcons improve in short yardage and goal-line lead plays. He accepts and thrives in his role as a blocker – is willing and productive in both the run and passing game. Physical in his play he can create running lanes, kick out a defender, or step on his targets’ toes. Heady and productive on blitz pick-ups, he is plugged in as the starting fullback following the release of Pro Bowl fullback Ovie Mughelli who suffered a season ending knee injury. Jonathan Massaquoi impressed the Falcons’ brass with his relentless play as a junior where he was virtually unblockable. He put on weight as a senior and lost some of his first step quickness. With only 33 sacks in 2011, Mike Smith will be counting on a leaner and quicker Massaquoi to help raise those numbers. He will also be an asset on special teams’ coverage units. Charles Mitchell is a full contact, take-on safety who is looking to blow up any back who leaks through the line. He doesn’t shy away from contact and demonstrates good timing when asked to blitz and disrupt a backfield play. A competitor who is mentally and physically tough, he should be a major factor on special teams’ coverage. He is a former corner who brings that edge skill set to the safety position. Travian Robertson was coached to penetrate offensive line gaps for the Gamecock defense. He has good first step quickness off the ball. A better run stuffer than pass rusher, he can stack and hold a double team block. He has a tendency to play high which takes away from his explosiveness. He will compete with Vance Walker to gain a place in the front defensive rotation. GRADE: AVERAGE.

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