The NFL draft is upon us, and as we all know, it's about overreaction of picking 21 year old kids who may not even pan out for at least three years. However, there are those times when a team makes a draft pick that immediately makes you go "Wait, what?"
The Atlanta Falcons, who came within 11 yards of potentially reaching the Super Bowl last year, knew that going into this draft they had to address their major weakness, which is an improved pass rush, especially when playing read-option QBs such as Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and RGIII.
Earlier this evening when they traded up with the St. Louis Rams for the 22nd pick in the 2013 draft (which meant giving up their third- and sixth-round picks this year) it looked as if they were going to get that type of player which improves their defense exponentially. They ended up drafting Washington CB Desmond Trufant instead.
Although there was a need to get a cornerback to replace the now-departed Dunta Robinson (thank goodness), this was not the time to get a CB, especially when they could've waited until their normal spot at the 30th pick in the draft.
I'm not saying that Trufant is a bad player, it's just that getting a smallish CB is not what a team in a win-now mode needs to draft. Below are the players the Falcons could've selected in the draft after the trade with the Rams that would've been a bigger help right away:
Alec Ogletree, LB
Do I even need to mention what type of impact he would've provided from Day 1? This isn't just the old "draft a local star to keep the fans happy" issue, but the former Georgia Bulldog would've been an instant boost to their sagging pass rush, not to mention being able to cover the tight end, something current Falcon LB Stephen Nicholas couldn't do in the playoffs.
Having someone with Ogletree's motor playing alongside Sean Weatherspoon would've been a big help for a team that needs more energetic guys who can make plays.
Zach Ertz, TE
Okay, I know that Tony Gonzalez came back for one last attempt to make it to the Super Bowl this year, but this is a team that has to be thinking about the future as well, and Ertz would've been a great addition.
Ever hear the old saying, "Sometimes the best defense is a good offense"? Imagine Ertz and Gonzalez playing in a two tight-end package. Matt Ryan would've had too many targets for defenses to stop.
Manti Te'o, LB
So what if he had an invisible girlfriend? The man is a tackling machine, and even with his slow 40 time in the combine, he has the type of push that a team like Atlanta could use. The locker room is solid enough that there wouldn't be the rush of media to create any problems.
Also, spare me the one bad game he had against Alabama; no team was beating them that night. Te'o would've been a great pick for Atlanta at 22, giving them a solid cover LB.
Bjoern Werner, DE
Sometimes I wonder what goes through the minds of some of these GMs. As much as I respect Falcons GM Thomas Dmitroff, he has shown a habit of always trying to draft small guys in a league where the best defensive teams all have some beef up front.
Werner would've been a great pick to play opposite Osi Umenyora, who the Falcons got in the free agency period. Werner has strength and the quickness to get to the quarterback, which is a must when you play in the same division as Drew Brees.
Tank Carradine, DE
If they didn't want to get Werner, then at least try going after his fellow former Florida State lineman. I understand Carradine has a torn ACL, but his recovery period has been amazing, and Atlanta would've benefited from the powerful defensive lineman.
I think Trufant is a good player, but not the type you trade up for if you plan on winning titles immediately. The Giants, Steelers, and Patriots have all won Super Bowl titles without great cornerbacks, and Atlanta should not have even thought about a corner until they addressed their defensive line needs first.
Let's just hope the only time we mention Desmond Trufant is when we see him getting burned on deep routes in Week 1.
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