|Atlanta Falcons 2011 NFL Draft Review|
|By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor|
1 - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama (6-3, 220);
3- Akeem Dent, ILB (6-1, 242);
5 - Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State (5-6, 196);
6 - Matt Bosher, K, Miami- Florida (6-1, 208);
7 - Andrew Jackson, OG, Fresno State (6-5, 299);
7 - Cliff Matthews, DE, South Carolina (6-4, 257)
Top Picks Analysis: General manager Thomas Dimitroff swung for the fences right off the bat, shipping their No. 27 overall selection and second and fourth-round picks in addition to next year's No. 1 to vault 21 spots and take Jones, a fast and physical target who should help draw double coverage away from All-Pro receiver Roddy White. The Falcons stayed in their own backyard with their choice of Dent, who has the speed and versatility to play both inside and outside and offers protection for middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who underwent surgery on both knees in the offseason. The third day was highlighted by the acquisition of the diminutive Rogers, who could immediately take over injury-prone Jerious Norwood's old role as the third-down back.
Best Value Pick: Don't be turned off by Rogers' small stature. He rushed for nearly 4,000 yards during a prolific career at Oregon State and is strong enough to be an effective inside runner. His vision and durability are both pluses as well.
We Question Why: After being torched by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in last season's NFC Playoffs, more attention wasn't paid to the defense. Dimitroff is showing a lot of confidence in his current roster by taking a kicker in spite of owning only five total picks.
Summary: Jones is an excellent football player and will be a worthwhile addition to a dangerous offense, but may be the only every-down starter the Falcons get out of this draft. Atlanta is clearly going for broke to make a run at a Super Bowl this year, as the future has been compromised somewhat with the blockbuster trade.
FINAL GRADE: C+