2010 NFL Gridiron Gab Mock Draft: #19 Atlanta

Atlanta is coming off a disappointing year in which injury and injury derailed chances of back to back playoff appearances. Now, in coach Mike Smith’s tenure, Matt Ryan and the rest of the Dirty Birds claim they are ready to challenge the Saints for the NFC South title. Let’s see who they add to try and back up that claim.

And with the 19th pick in the NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons pick

DE Brandon Graham, Michigan

This looks like a good pickup for the Falcons. The Birds failed to get a consistent pass rush opposite of DE John Abraham. Brandon Graham will compete for the starting role immediately and should help them in that regard.

Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com sings praises for the Falcons’ selection. He breaks down Graham and also the Falcons’ needs and strategy for the first round..

The Falcons addressed what was by far their most pressing need by signing cornerback Dunta Robinson as a free agent, which enables them up to look elsewhere with this pick. Despite the presence of sack artist extraordinaire John Abraham the Falcons had trouble generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2009. Former #8 overall pick Jamaal Anderson has been a major bust while guys like Laurence Sidbury, Chauncey Davis and Kroy Biermann all appear to be best suited for backup duty. Michigan’s Brandon Graham may not have the ideal height or arm length that you look for but the guy is a heck of a football player who gets the job done between the lines. Graham is eerily similar to LaMarr Woodley and for that reason many are projecting him to outside linebacker but he is certainly capable of staying at defensive end in a 4-3 scheme as well. Graham followed up an extremely productive college career with the Wolverines by starring at the Senior Bowl and despite some deficiencies in the physical tools department he could find a home in the Top 20, just like Larry English did a year ago. There are other pass rushers who look better on paper but don’t be surprised if Graham outperforms them where it counts. Another area of concern is outside linebacker, where Mike Peterson is going to be 34-years-old, so watch out for Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri. As a potential sleeper pick keep an eye on Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey, who could help at either center or guard.

The starting lineup..

19. Atlanta Falcons- DE Brandon Graham, Michigan
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- OG Mike Iupati, Idaho
17. San Francisco 49ers- CB Joe Haden, Florida
16. Tennessee Titans- DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
15. NY Giants- LB Rolando McClain, Alabama
14. Seattle Seahawks- RB CJ Spiller, Clemson
13. San Francisco 49ers- CB Joe Haden, Florida
12. Miami Dolphins- DE Jerry Hughes, TCU
11. Denver Broncos- WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
10. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Derick Morgan, Georgia Tech
9. Buffalo Bills- QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
8. Oakland Raiders- OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland
7. Cleveland Browns- S Earl Thomas, Texas
6. Seattle Seahawks- DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
5. Kansas City Chiefs- S Eric Berry, Tennessee
4. Washington Redskins- OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
2. Detroit Lions- OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
1. St. Louis Rams – QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma

On the clock…the men from the Lone Star State..the Houston Texans

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