The mixed results of the Falcons’ 2012 draft in brief:
• THE VERY BAD: Their top pick (second round), center/guard Peter Konz has been cut, reaffirming that the 2012 draft will go down as one of the worst in Falcons history.
• THE VERY GOOD: The Cleveland Browns cut defensive lineman Phil Taylor, their last player connected to the Julio Jones trade, when the Falcons sent five draft picks to Cleveland (including the 2012 first-rounder) for the chance to draft Jones (who has become one of the NFL’ premier receivers and just signed a five-year, $71 million contract extension).
First, about the Jones trade (again). I’ve never criticized it because it gave the Falcons a difference maker and also their best player, other than possibly Matt Ryan. I understand the arguments about how those other draft picks could have/might have helped the team avoid problems in future seasons on the offensive and defensive lines but I would love to hear names of the players who could’ve had a greater impact that Jones.
What many forget is that the Falcons still had other draft picks in 2011 and 2012, they just picked the wrong guys — just as Cleveland picked the wrong players with their five choices. They used one to move up in the first round in 2011 (after the Falcons’ deal) to get Taylor, a defensive tackle from Baylor. He was decent enough against the run but overall not nearly the player they hoped for and was limited after two knee surgeries.
The Browns’ three other players from the Jones’ trade: wide receiver Greg Little (second round, 2011), released after three seasons; fullback Owen Marecic (fourth round, 2011), released after two seasons; quarterback Brandon Weeden (first round, 2012), who was released after two seasons. Now they have nothing to show for the Jones trade, as ESPN’s Pat McManamon outlines here.
But the Falcons have had their own draft problems. They didn’t have a first-round pick in 2012 because of the Jones’ deal but look how the rest of their draft went:
• Round 2 (55): Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin. Falcons center Todd McClure retired after the 2012 season because he knew general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith were not going to bring him back for one more season, believing Konz could replace him. They were wrong. Konz couldn’t play center or guard in the NFL, suffered a torn ACL last season and took an injury settlement Tuesday.
• Round 3 (91): Lamar Holmes, T, Southern Miss. Another player trumpeted by management who hasn’t amounted to much. He played only four games last season, partly because of a foot injury, and now is out with a broken foot. He was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
• Round 5 (157): Bradie Ewing, FB, Wisconsin: Played two games in two seasons, then was released.
• Round 5 (164): Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy: Played three seasons, with six sacks in his last two, but was released after last year.
• Round 6 (192): Charles Mitchell, S, Mississippi State: Special teams for part of one season, then gone.
• Round 7 (249): Travian Robertson, DT, South Carolina: Hung around two years, hardly played, then cut.
Let’s assume the Falcons will not be commemorating their 2012 draft class any time in the future.
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