It’s the 2017 NFL Draft and the Falcons braintrust is hunkered down here at the team facilities.
The Falcons currently hold the 63rd pick in the second round of the draft. They traded up to select UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley with the 26th overall pick on Thursday. We’ll be posting updates here throughout the evening and night about what’s happening at here and at the draft in Philadelphia.
Please check back often.
The Falcons’ third-round pick will surely rate as a surprise to some. Many pegged defensive end and and offensive guard as the team’s chief areas of need, and Atlanta checked the first box Thursday by trading up to select UCLA edge rusher Takkarist McKinley in the first round. After trading away their second-round pick Friday, the team selected LSU linebacker Duke Riley, making this the third consecutive draft where the team has selected defensive players with its first two selections. Riley played in space quite a bit for the Tigers, usually on the weak side. The 6-0 1/2, 232-pound native of Louisiana was MVP his senior year at LSU, where he made 93 tackles, nine for lost yardage — including a sack and a half. It would be easy for wanna-be critics to grumble that Riley was only a one-year starter. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll not that he was behind two players who are now in the NFL — Kwan Alexander of the Bucs, who is fantastic, and Deion Jones of the Falcons, who may get there based on his rookie season last fall. Scouts love his instincts, though he’s considered a shade short. The Riley pick was announced by a pair of Falcons, one former and one present. Running back Gerald Riggs, who joined the Falcons years ago from Auburn, opened the announcement, and punter Matt Bosher finished it.
Former Georgia Tech standout linebacker/defensive end Jeremiah Attachou, who played for the Jackets from 2010-‘13, announced San Diego’s third-round pick. The Chargers star let the world know that former Indiana Guard Dan Feeney, who worked out recently for the Falcons, would likely be his teammate.
More Georgians were involved as Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was selected by the 49ers with the 66th selection, in the third round. His pick was announced on the broadcast by former Washington County star linebacker Takeo Spikes, who played for several years in the NFL after a college career at Auburn. Next up, the Saints chose Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, who prepped at Norcross High School in metro Atlanta.
The Atlanta Falcons apparently have traded their second-round pick to the Buffalo Bills, and picked up multiple selections. Details are coming, but it seems that they have added a pick in the third round and two fifth-rounders as well.
At No. 57, the Texans took a player who should be familiar to college football fans in Georgia when they selected Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham. He was a menace last fall at Georgia Tech, although the Yellow Jackets beat the Commodores, and then made 19 tackles at Georgia soon afterward as Vandy upset the Bulldogs. He also made the game-saving tackle at the very end of the game. He had the longest wingspan (81 5/8 inches) of linebackers at the combined, which might help a little when he’s in coverage. That shouldn’t be often, though, as he lines up a a run plugger, usually in the middle.
The run on Georgians continued as the Miami Dolphins picked Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan. The Liberty County High School standout, who played three seasons for the Buckeyes is old-school big at 6-1 7/8, 240, a while he’s not super quick nobody breaks his tackle attempts. Middle plugger deluxe. With the very next selection, the Giants tabbed Henry County High standout Dalvin Tomlinson, a defensive tackle who helped Alabama win a national title. Tomlinson (6-2 7/8, 310) was the first high school wrestler in Georgia history to win three state titles in the heavyweight division.
It took a while, although some feel that no team should have drafted Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, as the Bengals did at No. 48. A fabulous performer, Mixon is best know for having punched a female student a couple years ago, causing considerable damage to her face. He missed a year for the Sooners, and then returned to rush for 1,274 yards last fall with a 6.8-yard carry average and 10 touchdowns despite splitting time with Samaje Perine. He’s big (6-0, 3/4, 228) and fast (4.46) and quite a return man, too. He may be a great road dog to run with Cincinnati linebacker Vontez Burfict now that Adam “Pacman” Jones has lost so much treat.
Atlanta’s Gerald Everett didn’t play football until his senior year at Columbia High School in DeKalb County, but he’s made serious hay the sport since. When the Rams picked him at No. 44, they picked up a good-sized and agile fella (6-3, 249) who was most noted in college as a blocker. He appears to have receiving skills as well. No wonder. Primarily a basketball player at Columbia, where he also competed in track and field, he weighed about 180 pounds as a prep senior and came to catch 49 passes last season.
When the Eagles picked cornerback Sidney Jones of Washington, they picked a skinny dude who has slightly-better-than average speed and fantastic ball skills and awareness. Jones is 6-feet and 186 pounds with recorded 40 time of 4.52, yet scouts love his instincts.
The Saints added a potentially versatile player when they drafted Utah safety Marcus Williams at No. 42. The 6-foot and change Williams has played some cornerback, not to mention basketball and track and & field. Scouts love his football IQ, and he’s quick.
The Vikings made a move to move on from the loss of stellar running back Adrian Peterson by drafting Florida State junior Dalvin cook with the 41st overall pick. Many people might consider it a surprise that Cook lasted this long. He was a Doak Walker Award finalist last fall, when he rushed for 1,765 yards with 19 touchdowns — and a remarkable 6.1-yard average on 288 carries. Very fast, follows blocks well.
With the 40th overall pick, the Carolina Panthers selected super speedy wide receiver Curtis Samuel of Ohio State. He split time last season flanked out and in the backfield in a hybrid role, but everybody knows his future will be about catching passes. The junior had the second-fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine, trailing only that of Washinton wide receiver John Ross, who set a Combine record. He gives the Panthers three wide receivers from Ohio State, as he’ll join Ted Ginn and Philly Brown.
Lamp’s a big boy, er, man. At 6-3 5/8 and 309 pounds or so, he’s a plower. He’s had some injury issues, yet just allowed three sacks over his final three seasons. While playing tackle in college, many NFL smarty-heads believe he’s a good candidate to play guard, or even center. He worked out recently for Falcons officials at team headquarters.
San Diego plucked one of the Falcons’ presumed targets off the draft board when they selected Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp.
Seattle selected Michigan State defensive end Malik McDowell.
Cam Robinson was the No. 2 rated tackle in the AJC list of the top 10 offensive lineman in the 2017 NFL draft. His brief bio:Cam Robinson, 6-6, 322, OT, Alabama (first round): He was a three-year starter at left tackle for the Crimson Tide. He earned the starting left tackle job as a true freshman and started all 14 games in 2014, earning Freshman All-American honors. Robinson started all 15 games as a sophomore left tackle in 2015 and earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team. He again started all 15 games at left tackle as a junior in 2016 and was a unanimous All-American, earning First Team All-SEC honors and winning the Outland Trophy Award as the nation’s top lineman.
Jacksonville selected Alabama OT Cam Robinson with the 34th overall pick.
Kevin King, 6-3, 200, Washington (first): Came on strong after a dazzling work out at the scouting combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. He was a three-year starter for the Huskies. He started at safety before moving to right cornerback his final two seasons. He had broke up 15 passes last season.
The Packers selected Washington defensive back Kevin King. He’s represented by Atlanta based agent Thomas Simms.
The pick is coming in.
Comissioner Roger Goodell was booed again. The Green Bay Packers are on the clock.
Around 4 p.m.
Here’s what Takkarist McKinley said about carrying around his Grandmother Myrtle Collins’ big picture. “It meant everything,” McKinley said. “My Grandmother is no longer here with me. But draft day she was here with me in spirit. I think completing that promise to her meant everything to me, her and my family. That was in Oakland, California. One of my family members took it. I don’t know who took it. We just had it for the longest. I told my family that I wanted to take that picture with me to the draft. We cleared everything off the table and put her right in the middle.”
Around 3:30 p.m.
Here’s what Dan Quinn had to say about the second round of the draft. “There are some really good players who are going to have impactful careers are going to get their name called off today not just at the start of the round, but all the way through tonight,” Quinn said.
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