8 Late-Round Prospects That Would Be a Perfect Match for the Atlanta Falcons

Al Bruce@@AlBruce7Contributor IApril 10, 2013

8 Late-Round Prospects That Would Be a Perfect Match for the Atlanta Falcons

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    The third and final day of the NFL draft is typically what separates hardcore NFL fans from casual NFL observers. 

    At this point in the proceedings, most of the prospects whose names don't require a Google search when they're called from the podium have found their NFL homes. 

    Even still, top-tier NFL talent evaluators consistently find core players for their teams in Rounds 4-7 of the draft.

    In his five years in Atlanta, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has had mixed success with his late-round draft picks.  Players like Jacquizz Rodgers (fifth round, 2011) and Kroy Biermann (fifth Round, 2008) were hits, while William Middleton (fifth round, 2009) and Wilrey Fontenot (seventh round, 2008) were not.

    Generally, teams are looking for special teams players and backups in the later rounds of the draft, so the risk associated with drafting a player between Rounds 4 and 7 is far less tangible than it is for a player being taken during the first three rounds.

    Atlanta has 11 total picks in the 2013 draft, and eight of them will be used on the draft's final day.

    Let's get acquainted with eight late-round prospects who are good fits for the Falcons and analyze how each prospect could fit into Atlanta's plans in 2013.

Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected by Atlanta: Fourth or fifth round



    Why He's a Good Fit

    At 6'7", 265 pounds, Taylor can run, jump and hit.  He's an instinctive playmaker who may be at his best in pursuit because he never gives up on plays.  In addition, Taylor is a battle-tested SEC veteran with over 50 games under his belt.

    Taylor is a little stiff coming out of a three-point stance because of his length, but he'd be a quality sub-package defensive end and special teams for Atlanta because of his non-stop motor.

Nick Moody, LB, Florida State

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected By Atlanta: Seventh round



    Why He's a Good Fit

    A former safety, Moody is the kind of "run and hit" linebacker that Falcons coach Mike Smith likes.  Moody is a hard hitter who plays run defense with an attitude.  He's not an elite prospect, but he has a high floor as a backup linebacker and core special teams player.  

    I could see Atlanta using a late pick on Moody to add another body to the competition at linebacker in training camp.

Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected By Atlanta: Fourth or fifth round



    Why He's a Good Fit

    Otten is a nice option for Atlanta at tight end because of his size (6'5", 240 lbs), athleticism and demonstrated leadership ability.  He was able to play along the line of scrimmage and split out wide during his time at San Jose State, and he does a nice job of reacting to the ball in the air and using his body to shield off defenders.

    Otten is also a serviceable blocker in the run game.  The Falcons have spent time with Otten during the pre-draft process and he could be the backup tight end that Atlanta brings in to groom behind Tony Gonzalez in 2013.

Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected By Atlanta: Sixth or seventh round


    Why He's a Good Fit

    Sweeting is another veteran college player who figures to have a high NFL floor as a reliable backup who contributes on special teams.  Sweeting is feisty in pass coverage, and he's not afraid to take his chances in an effort to create turnovers.  Speaking of turnovers, Sweeting is a threat to go the distance when he gets the ball in hands thanks to his sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash.

    Sweeting would a be backup corner and special teams player for the Falcons in 2013.

Duke Williams, S, Nevada

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected By Atlanta: Fifth or sixth round


    Why He's a Good Fit

    Duke Williams is a classic head-hunting strong safety.  He isn't afraid of contact as he enthusiastically flies up to the box in run support when you watch him on film.  A four-year letter winner at Nevada, Williams is another savvy, veteran prospect who shouldn't have trouble picking up on the nuances of the NFL game.

    Williams would probably join Charles Mitchell (seventh round, 2012) as a backup safety behind Thomas DeCoud and William Moore.

Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected By Atlanta: Sixth or seventh round



    Why He's a Good Fit

    Wagner is a versatile offense lineman who played left and right tackle during his time at Wisconsin, where he played with Falcons guard/center Peter Konz and Falcons fullback Bradie Ewing.

    As has come to be expected from offensive linemen from Wisconsin, Wagner knows how run block well.  As for his pass-blocking, it's not always pretty, but he can get the job done in spots. 

    Wagner projects as a backup tackle with the Falcons.

Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected By Atlanta: Sixth or seventh round


    Why He's a Good Fit

    6'3", 217-pound Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette would give Matt Ryan another tall, physical target on the perimeter in three or four receiver sets.  Mellette isn't going to blow past anyone with his speed, but he is an alert receiver and a very reliable pass-catcher. 

    Perhaps the best thing about Aaron Mellette is that he did what you would expect an NFL prospect like him to do against the FCS competition he faced in college at Elon by racking up over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his last three seasons.

    Mellette would probably have to make an impact on special teams to take a roster spot away from Drew Davis or Kevin Cone in training camp.

Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt

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    Where He'd Likely Be Selected By Atlanta: Seventh round


    Why He's a Good Fit


    Atlanta could stand to add another developmental quarterback prospect to take a look at in training camp.  Rodgers showed that he can make plays with his legs while at Vanderbilt, and he made enough of an impact with his teammates off of the field to be elected a team captain, even though he didn't begin his college career with the Commodores.

    At best, Rodgers could compete with Dominique Davis (and maybe a veteran backup to be added later) for a the second or third-string quarterback job behind Matt Ryan.  At worst, he's a quality practice squad member who can aid Atlanta's defense in its preparation for read-option teams like Carolina or San Francisco.

Who Are Your Favorite Late-Round Prospects for Atlanta?

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    Now it's your turn to share your favorite late-round prospects for Atlanta with me.