Now that the 2012 NFL Draft is over, we're profiling each team's draft. Who were the steals? Who were the reaches? We continue with the Atlanta Falcons.
The Atlanta Falcons entered the 2012 NFL Draft without picks in the first and fourth rounds due to the Julio Jones trade last year. Jones quickly proved his worth, and the Falcons missed little this year. Everyone knew coming into the draft the team would target offensive linemen. So to get Wisconsin's Peter Konz, the best center in the draft, at pick No. 55 should be considered a steal. Konz should step in immediately as Atlanta's starting center or right guard.
Atlanta also used its third-round pick on an offensive lineman in tackle Lamar Holmes. Many expected that pick to be Bobby Massie (the next offensive tackle drafted) or even Brandon Mosley, who was taken in the fourth round. Fullback Bradie Ewing was the team's first fifth-round pick. Because he can block and play special teams, Ewings may beat Ovie Mughelli out of a roster spot. Pass rushers Jonathan Massquoi, safety Charles Mitchell and defensive tackle Travian Robertson closed out the team's draft class this year. Oh, and the Falcons traded a seventh-round pick for three-time All Pro cornerback Asante Samuel. Not bad.
Late-Round Steal: DE Jonathan Massaquoi, Round 5, pick 164
It's uncertain how Massaquoi fits into Atlanta's defense. He's a little too small for end, and maybe not athletic enough to be a 4-3 linebacker. But what he can do is get after the pass and there's always a place for that in the NFL. At Troy, Massaquoi had 19.5 sacks in two years because of his tenacity and hustle. He'd be wise to become the understudy to John Abraham as the veteran's career winds down.
Questionable Selection: OT Lamar Holmes, Round 3, pick 91
Holmes, a Combine standout, could eventually become a solid player for the Falcons. So this isn't questionable because of him. It's questionable because the Falcons chose to pass on either a tight end who can catch or a running back. Current tight end Tony Gonzalez is near the end of his career and running back Michael Turner is the dreaded 30. That meant the Falcons passed on running backs Lamar Miller and Robert Turbin and tight ends like Orson Charles and Ladarius Green. It's a risky move for the franchise.