The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently suggested that the Falcons might try to trade up for a cornerback like Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes or Washington’s Desmond Trufant.
Assuming the Falcons are willing to move up 13 spots, it would cost them ~ their R1, R2, and R4 selections to swap with the Steelers. Considering that the Falcons have 12 picks in the draft (1 R4 comp and 3 R7 comps), that might not be too costly for them – PFT references the Falcons moving up in the draft when they wanted Julio Jones.
Such a trade would give the Steelers 10 picks, 6 in the first 4 rounds:
2.28 (60) (ATL)
4.30 (127) (ATL)
6.38 – COMP (206)
Working off the NFLDS/CBS rankings, here would be a proposed draft (NFLDS draft ranking in parens):
1.30 (ATL). WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (38). At 6’1”, 214#, 4.51, he’s not the biggest, and he’s not the fastest, but he is a reliable WR who comes through in clutch situations and is a RZ threat. Player comparison: Greg Jennings. Hopkins looks like a guy who could come in and contribute right away, and become a solid WR1.
Also considered: SS Matt Elam, Florida (36); ILB Arthur Brown, KSU (39); OT Terron Armstead, Ark.-Pine Bluff (42).
2.16 (48). CB Johnthan Banks, Miss. St. (50). In 2012 he notched 71 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 FF, 9 PBU, and 5 INTs. Also looks like a good fit in the LeBeau scheme, a guy who can hold down a zone playing 10 yards off. He played through a lingering knee injury in 2012, and it appears his combine 40 was affected by the injury (he also skipped the Senior Bowl). Ran faster at his pro day and could be a top-15 talent and a steal at this spot.
Also considered: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford (46); OG Larry Warford, Kentucky (48); RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA (54);OLB Alex Okafor, Texas (55); CB/S David Amerson, NC St. (56); WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee (57)
2.28 (60) (ATL). FS Phillip Thomas, Fresno St. (63). Thomas suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle that forced him to miss all of 2011. I suspect that may have affected his straight-line speed for the 2012 season and the combine, but any diminution of speed didn’t affect Thomas’s production: he notched 8 INTs and returned 3 of them for TDs last year, and has 13 INTs overall. With Cyprien, he stood out among safeties at the Senior Bowl, and on film he’s always actively going after the ball. He may not be a huge hitter, but I think he is the best FS in this draft, and seriously underrated. Another productive DB, another steal.
Also considered: RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin (60); ILB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (64); RB LeVeon Bell, Mich. St. (66); ILB Sio Moore, Conn. (70); ILB Jamie Collins, S. Miss. (74); CB Darius Slay, Miss. St. (75); FS DJ Swearinger, S. Carolina (76);
3.17 (79). SS Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse (81). Shamarko puzzles draft analysts who see him as the shortest among this class of safeties. That would be a liability in coverage, so scratch FS and line him up at SS. That does drop his positional value… some. But two words to keep in mind: Bob Sanders.
Thomas is Sanders-sized, but a bit thicker. And man is he a beast near the LOS. He can get a little over-aggressive, but unlike Reid I trust Thomas’s instincts and can see him taking very well to coaching to be a solid SS. Thomas tied Reid for best vertical jump among safeties, leaping 40.5”, a nice explosiveness indicator.
Also considered: WR Da’Rick Rogers, Tenn. Tech (84); RB Giovani Bernard, NC (86); WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (90); ILB Trevardo Williams, Conn. (97) NT Brandon Williams, Miss. Southern (98); WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas (99); ILB Zaviar Gooden, Missouri (100); RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (109); WR Stedman Bailey, WVU (110); WR Chris Harper, KSU (111); FS TJ McDonald, USC (114);
4.18 (115). ILB Jon Bostic, Florida (122). Thumper ILB with surprising speed, a vocal team leader, and perfect complement to Timmons. Looks solid against the run and shows good instincts.
Also considered: RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M (116); WR Kenny Stills, Okla. (125);OLB Cornelius Washington, UGA (126).
4.30 (127) (ATL). OT Reid Fragel, OSU (170). TE conversion with great size (6’8”), strength (33 reps – a lot for a tall guy), and speed (5.06 40). That said, he’s very raw and will need a lot of coaching up. Given time and proper coaching, could be a potential LT for years to come.
Also considered: TE Dion Sims, Mich. St. (138); RB Mike Gillislee, Florida (143).
5.17 (150). OG/OT Dallas Thomas, Tennessee. (181). Similar to OG/OT Kelechi Osemele selected in R2 last year by the Ravens. Played LT at Tennessee, and could play either OT or OG spot, but appears to be better suited to the inside. Shoulder injury did not allow him to work out, but plays with technique good enough to be coached up.
Also considered: SS Duke Williams, Nevada (155); CB/S Will Davis, Utah St. (156); OG Earl Watford, James Madison (179); DE Nicholas Williams, Samford (184).
6.18 (186). RB Latavius Murray, UCF (212). You want this year’s deep sleeper in the RBs, the Alfred Morris? I have three names: LSU’s lost-in-the-rotation bruiser Spencer Ware; Stony Brook’s Miguel Maysonet (28 pro teams showed for his pro day!), and the big (6’3”, 223#), fast (4.38!) Murray. Give me Murray. Finished his career second in UCF history in overall touchdowns (44), eighth in attempts (453), sixth in yards (2,424) and third in rushing touchdowns (37)...Did not lose a fumble in his final 407 carries of his career. His lone fumble lost was against Memphis in 2008...Murray fumbled the ball only three times out of his 453 carries in his career.
Also considered: RB Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt (200).
6.38 – COMP (206). QB Ryan Griffin, Tulane (219). Don’t know a ton about him, but the FO had him in for a visit, and there are a few interesting late round developmental types we could roll the dice on. Good size (6’4”, 221#), and very productive on a bad Tulane team.
Also considered: FS Rontez Miles, Cal PA (215); OG Jeff Baca, UCLA (216); CB Micah Hyde, Iowa (224).
7.17 (223). K Dustin Hopkins, FSU (225). The difference between Suisham and a kicker with the leg and accuracy to boot it from 50 yards consistently is the difference in more 3-point games won. Best of the crop of kickers.
Also considered SS Earl Wolff, NC St. (237), QB Brad Sorensen, S. Utah (278), and QB Alex Carder, W. Mich (359).