Falcons get an immediate starter

April, 25, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Forget all those rumors about the Falcons making a trade with the Chiefs for Glenn Dorsey. Atlanta got the defensive tackle it wanted all along.

The Falcons stayed at No. 24 and selected Mississippi's Peria Jerry and -- at least in the short term -- they might be the winners of this draft for the NFC South. The Saints and Bucs both could have used Peria.

They both passed. The Saints took defensive back Malcolm Jenkins and the Bucs took quarterback Josh Freeman. Both of those guys fill needs for those teams. But neither is guaranteed to be a starter on opening day.

Jenkins might end up starting from day one and, at the very least, he'll be a contributor from the start. Freeman may or may not open the season as a starter.

There's no doubt Jerry will be starting next to Jonathan Babineaux on opening day. There's almost no doubt Peria would have started for the Saints or Bucs right away.

We'll grade this draft in a few years. But, as of right now, the Falcons are the only NFC South with an absolute certain immediate starter.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter



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