Falcons Draft: Falcons Plug a Hole with Jamaal Anderson

Frank VickersContributor IMay 3, 2007

IconNow that the draft has come and gone, I'm like every NFL fan in the country—playing Monday Morning GM and debating how my team made out.
The Atlanta Falcons drafted for need, which is good. There were rumors that owner Arthur Blank was ready to sell the farm for local boy/all-world receiver Calvin Johnson—which would have been a popular but relatively unproductive mood. For Falcons fans, Johnson was like that pretty cheerleader in high school: Yes, you'd like to take her out, but you've got to get money, clothes, and a car first.
As it stands, the Falcons tried to fill a number of holes instead of settling for one big splash. Here's how the weekend played out:
1st Round - 8th Pick - Jamaal Anderson, DE, University of Arkansas
This pick didn't exactly make me do a victory dance—but at least it was a safe one. After the departure of Patrick Kerney, the Falcons needed a pass rusher on the other side of John Abraham. Anderson was probably overvalued as the eighth pick...but then again, WE HAD TO DRAFT A DEFENSIVE END!
2nd Round - 39th Pick - Justin Blalock, G, University of Texas
I was really hoping for Levi Brown from Penn State, but he was off the board before the Falcons' first selection. Blalock looks like a can't-miss pick. By the way: Has anybody else noticed the influx of "BIG" offensive lineman, as opposed to Alex Gibbs' "Nutty Professor/King of Chop Blocks" prototypes? The Falcons have signed and drafted six O-lineman who were at least 6'4" and 340 pounds.
2nd Round - 41st Pick - Chris Houston, CB, University of Arkansas
I've heard all about the upside of Chris Houston, but I'm not convinced. I live and breathe the SEC—and he wasn't a standout there. I hope this ain't a "Holy Burnt Toast Batman" kind of pick,  la Ahmad "Batman" Carroll, who has great speed but lacks good cornerback technique.
In later rounds, the Falcons picked up Stephen Nicholas, a linebacker from South Florida; Martez Milner, a tight end from Georgia; Trey Lewis, a D-tackle from Washburn; David Irons, a corner from Auburn; Doug Datish, a center from Ohio State; Darren Stone, a safety from Maine; and Jason Snelling, a running back from Virginia.
Overall, I'll grade the Falcons' weekend at a B-. I'm not "jumping out the gym" with the picks, but hey, there's a reason the GM gets paid and I don't.
I like Stephen Nicholas as a speedy outside LB in place of Demarrio Williams, who will be out for five months with a pectoral muscle injury. I think Martez Milner could be a nice backup for Alge Crumpler—if he catches the ball. He had a history of alligator-arm syndrome as a Georgia Bulldog.
Bottom line: I think the Falcons did pretty good in the draft.  Only time will tell, but I'm excited.