Re-Drafting the Atlanta Falcons 2013 Draft Class
With the NFL draft right around the corner, this provides us a chance to take a look at what the Atlanta Falcons should have done in the 2013 draft. We get a shot to see how the comrade Thomas Dimitroff did in what was his sixth draft for the Falcons.
The big difference here is that I’m remaking the picks if Dimitroff either messed up or could have had a better option. And I’m a bit more lax on the character standards than the Falcons general manager is.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at what the Falcons should have done in the 2013 draft.
1st Round (No. 22 Overall): CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
This is one pick that Thomas Dimitroff just completely hit out of the park.
Cornerback Desmond Trufant showed that he was more than worthy of Atlanta trading up and selecting him at No. 22 overall. The Falcons were wise to bring in the Washington Huskies product as their franchise cornerback.
He’ll lock down one side of the field for years. He was so good that multiple outlets gave him postseason accolades. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) named him their defensive rookie of the year for the entire NFL. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller listed Trufant as his No. 5 cornerback on the season. That’s everyone. Not just rookies.
16 Games Played, 70 Tackles, 2.0 Tackles for Loss, 1 QB Hurry, 2 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Forced, 1 Fumble Recovered, 17 Passes Defensed
2nd Round (No. 60 Overall): CB/S Tyrann Mathieu, Louisiana State
Sure, Robert Alford was a great athlete coming out. But when it comes to guys who would have made a bigger impact in 2013 and been a long-term building block in the secondary, the Honey Badger can’t be ignored. Had he a less-checkered background, the Falcons could have possibly taken him here.
Tyrann Mathieu would have been Atlanta's starting free safety in 2014 and beyond. He would have started as a rookie in 2013 as the nickel cornerback and provided a playmaker whom the Falcons were missing in their secondary.
13 Games Played, 68 Tackles, 5.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hits, 9 QB Hurries, 2 Interceptions, 1 Fumble Forced, 9 Passes Defensed, 2 Kick Returns for 8 Yards
4th Round (No. 127 Overall): DE Malliciah Goodman, Clemson
This is another pick that Dimitroff got right. While the Falcons didn’t get much of a pass rush from anyone last season, Malliciah Goodman was a run-stuffing force in the limited action he had as the left defensive end in Atlanta's base defense.
With another offseason to get bigger and digest the scheme even more, the Falcons made a great decision here. Goodman should show better hand usage and technique now that he has a top-level line coach as well in Bryan Cox.
14 Games Played, 8 Tackles, 1.0 Tackle for Loss, 1 QB Hit, 10 QB Hurries, 2 Fumbles Recovered
4th Round (No. 133 Overall): TE Levine Toilolo, Stanford
The 2013 tight end class was a bit poor. Fortunately, the Falcons got someone who is a good fit for their scheme and has the frame to be a great red-zone target in the offense.
Levine Toilolo was Tony Gonzalez’s understudy for the 2013 season. However, he saw a ton of snaps with the first team, especially in training camp when Gonzalez was performing other obligations. The Falcons will look to Toilolo as a man who might make some rookie-level mistakes this year but will learn from them and be a good third or fourth option in the offense.
16 Games Played, 11 Catches, 55 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving Touchdowns, 1 Tackle
5th Round (No. 153 Overall): RB Andre Ellington, Clemson
Atlanta traded up to this slot to take Stansly Maponga, but they could have traded up for a much better selection here. They could have gone with Clemson’s Andre Ellington to be a change-of-pace back and provide depth at the position.
He would have provided more production than Josh Vaughan or Antone Smith did when replacing a sidelined Steven Jackson last year. Ellington is a talented all-around back and could have been a much-needed asset on special teams as well.
15 Games Played, 118 Carries, 652 Rushing Yards, 3 Rushing Touchdowns, 1 Fumble, 39 Catches, 371 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving Touchdown, 1 Kick Return for 21 Yards, 1 Tackle
7th Round (No. 243 Overall): LB Paul Worrilow, Delaware
While the Falcons selection here of Kemal Ishmael was a good one in terms of adding depth, they could have hit a home run here by selecting Paul Worrilow. They were lucky to even sign the linebacker in free agency. The crazy thing here is that Worrilow only had one contract offer, and it was from Atlanta.
Nonetheless, Worrilow showed that he was not only great depth at linebacker early, but a true NFL-caliber starter when people started to go down. Worrilow will end up being a multiyear starter for the Falcons at linebacker and getting that in the seventh is ridiculous value.
16 Games Played, 127 Tackles, 4.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 4 QB Hits, 11 QB Hurries, 1 Pass Defensed
7th Round (No. 244 Overall): LB Joplo Bartu, Texas State
Another one of the Falcons’ phenominal undrafted linebackers in Joplo Bartu should have been the selection here over Zeke Motta. While Motta provided solid depth at free safety and even started a game, Bartu was a starter for 15 games.
He showed that he was the best strong-side linebacker on the Falcons roster during the 2013 season and could even start over Kroy Biermann there in 2014 if he has a good enough training camp. Worst-case scenario, Bartu has shown that he at least provides great depth at all the linebacker spots.
16 Games Played, 85 Tackles, 7.0 Tackles for Loss, 3.5 Sacks, 3 QB Hits, 6 QB Hurries, 1 Pass Deflection
7th Round (No. 249 Overall): TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA
The Falcons took Sean Renfree here last season and wound up with a body on their injured reserve list. They could have gotten much more value here had they taken tight end Joseph Fauria, who eventually went undrafted.
Fauria has shown with the Detroit Lions that he’s a great red-zone target with seven touchdowns as a rookie.
Add Fauria to Levine Toilolo in this year’s offense, and the Falcons need for a tight end looks much smaller than it currently is. Toilolo as an in-line guy and Fauria as a joker-style tight end—one who lines up as a wide receiver or tight end or slot receiver—would give the Falcons a pair of young, talented guys to compete there.
16 Games Played, 18 Catches, 207 Receiving Yards, 7 Receiving Touchdowns, 1 Two-Point Conversion
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.