First off, let me just say how friggin' fun this Featured Columnist mock has been. Dude, I now envy NFL GMs even more than I once did, which is tough to imagine, but somehow possible.
When you love the game (and more specifically, analyzing the game and the players that play it), breaking down your roster never gets old. From there, you identify your needs and constantly reevaluate them, weighing the pros and cons of addressing one before another, all while trying to keep your finger on other teams' pulses and know what direction they're going.
You hope and pray your guy doesn't get taken before your turn comes around, and of course he does, but soon enough another player is 'your guy.' You make do with what you have, you go on the facts or maybe just your gut reaction...
Or maybe this isn't how it's done at all. But hey, I took a swing at it, and here's what I came up with:
Early on, the most glaring weakness on our squad was cornerback. Now, I could talk bad about the guys who played the position for us this season all day long, but anybody who reads my column (let alone knows me in person) is sick and tired of hearing me moan about Chris Owens and Brent Grimes.
Then things changed; we re-signed Brian Williams, who played excellently before getting hurt this year, and then picked up Dunta Robinson, who sure as hell better have a lot left in the tank at this point.
Secondary problem solved? Maybe. But regardless of whether our pass defense improves from 28th in the league or not, throwing even more people at it by drafting a CB probably isn't going to help after all the fortifications we just made.
So there goes that idea.
What else could we use? How about some pressure up front? John Abraham never played in '08 form during '09, Kroy Biermann is a rotational guy, and we've clearly given up on Jamaal Anderson as a rusher. And though they're not as good as the DTs, this year's crop of ends isn't half bad.
Here it was my FC (sorry, 'GM') counterparts who foiled me. Matt Rybaltowski of the Seahawks snatched Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan early, Miami's Chris Nelson robbed me of Jason Pierre-Paul from South Florida, and then what seemed to be the death knell sounded.
Scott Ottersen with the Titans picked up former Wolverine Brandon Graham, my coveted tweener. Woe was me; it was going to be a reach to pick another DE (the fourth in the first 20 picks?!), a folly to smush another man into the defensive backfield, and just plain stupid (at least to outsiders) to go to a best-man-available strategy.
So I went back to the drawing board, and discussion boards, and my buds. The trusty Falcoholic had some good info for me, and after I went to CBSSports.com RapidReports' Jason Butt.
He encouraged me to continue to look into guys who could come off the edge, but mentioned that some versatility in the entirety of the front seven sure would be nice. And what about Mike Peterson's eventual replacement? The vet played solidly all season long but is clearly getting up in years...
Back to the charts and ratings I went, and someone started popping up over and over again: one 'Sean Weatherspoon,' a former Missouri Tiger.
Dude has the digits for sure: Over 100 tackles for three consecutive years (155 in 2008!), a total of 43.5 tackles-for-loss over his career, and nominal loggings in the sack and interception columns. He also got serious playing time in all of his years in college, not to mention is finishing up his degree.
But more than that, he's got the attitude to fit right in with the new culture in Atlanta. Tales from early-spring workouts include a little serenade of Brad Childress and the Minnesota staff (read: he doesn't take himself too seriously), a strong turnout from the Weatherspoon clan at the Combine (read: he stays grounded), and a serious, game-day demeanor at Mizzou Pro Day despite already having proved himself in Indy (read: he wants his best for himself, no one else).
Boise State CB Kyle Wilson should still get a look, and I bet Texas DE Sergio Kindle gets consideration as well. But I could name-drop all day, never getting around to telling you...
Sean Weatherspoon is my new guy.
The Texans are on the clock!