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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Mailbag: Atlanta Falcons edition

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Good news for Atlanta fans. You’re going to get almost a double dose of a Falcons’ mailbag. Your responses to the item from a few days back about Atlanta’s struggles in play-action passing were so strong and diverse that I’m going to do a separate post to highlight some of your replies. I’ll do that one either tonight or Thursday.

But, first, here’s the Atlanta stop on our tour of team-by-team mailbags.

Jeff in Atlanta writes: I was just looking at the insider article about what round defensive players should be taken. I see they have Brandon Graham slated as an outside linebacker. Does this mean the "experts" don’t think he would be as productive in a 4-3 DE position as he would in a 3-4 as an OLB?

Pat Yasinskas: I don’t break down film like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. But the word I’ve heard on Graham is that he could fit in either system. Obviously, the Falcons run a 4-3 defense and I see Graham as a very real possibility with their first-round pick. The thing I like best about Graham is that he produced at a pretty high level throughout almost his entire career and he did it against some strong competition. He might not have the upside of some of the other defensive ends in this draft, but I think the bust factor is pretty low with this guy.


Ned in Canada writes: Reports are Ted Ginn is on the block, I believe Atlanta should send a 4th or 5th round pick for him. It’s not a big risk if he flops as a WR you still get an elite return specialist, and if he does well as a WR he would solidify their WR core. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas: Rarely do you ever rule anything out and I’m not going to rule this one out because the Falcons could use some depth at wide receiver. That said, I think it’s a long shot because the Falcons firmly believe in building through the draft and don’t like to part with their picks. Receiver is not an area of desperation. They’ve got Roddy White as their No. 1 guy and Michael Jenkins as their No. 2. I know a lot of people don’t think that highly of Jenkins. But I will say this, he fills the role the Falcons want at that spot. With White and tight end Tony Gonzalez, they’re not looking for a No. 2 receiver to produce 80 catches. They want someone who can block and catch the ball in traffic. Jenkins does those things. They also have high hopes for Harry Douglas as he returns from an injury and Brian Finneran is a dependable veteran backup.


Jeff in Charleston, S.C., writes: Have you heard any whispers that the Falcons are looking to make a trade offer for Vikings DE Ray Edwards (RFA)? I don't believe Edwards has signed his tender yet and he has until Thursday if I'm not mistaken, correct?

Pat Yasinskas: Nope, haven’t heard anything on that one at all. Deadline to make offers to restricted free agents is Thursday.


Adam in Atlanta writes: Something hit me this morning about the draft. What do you think about the Falcons taking Taylor Mays to play outside linebacker at 19? Kind of like the Panthers did with Thomas Davis. He's definitely fast enough and he hits like a freight train. Is it too much of a risk that early?

Pat Yasinskas: Hmm, I hadn’t really thought of that one. Actually, might not be a bad idea. But I still think the Falcons go with a defensive end in the first round. I think upgrading their pass rush is, by far, their biggest need.