The “Worst Non-Active Player” in Falcons History? SI Makes Their Choice

Jamaal Anderson, Matt Hasselbeck

Sports Illustrated has put out a piece on the “Worst non-active player by franchise” for each and every franchise, the Falcons included.

The player that the author the piece, Doug Farrar, picked was awful, that being DE Jamaal Anderson, a player who never even came close to living up to the hype for the club.

Jamaal Anderson
DE, Atlanta Falcons

The 2007 season is renowned as the worst in Falcons history, mostly for the embarrassment that Bobby Petrino and Michael Vick brought to the organization. But the franchise was in trouble in the draft as well, because it selected Anderson out of Georgia Tech with the No. 8 pick. At 6’5″ and 288 pounds, Anderson didn’t have the pure speed to beat NFL tackles—he had no sacks in his rookie campaign, and he racked up just 5.5 over four years with the Falcons. The Colts, Bengals and Bears gave Anderson a shot after Atlanta gave up on him, but Anderson’s NFL career effectively ended in August 2013, when the Bears terminated his contract. He was a decent run defender, but you don’t take strong-side ends in the high first round.

Falcons WR Jones Deal Could Be Done Before Start of Training Camp

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons

Now that the Cowboys and star receiver Dez Bryant have reached a five-year deal reportedly worth $70 million — with $45 million guaranteed — maybe the Atlanta Falcons have a better sense of Julio Jones‘ price tag in a long-term extension, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.

As reported earlier this week, the Falcons and Jones’ camp have yet to start negotiations on an extension as Jones enters the final year of his contract. There is a general sense around the team that a deal could get done by the start of training camp (July 31) despite the lack of progress at this point.

Jones’ situation is, of course, different than Bryant’s. The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Bryant, and Wednesday marked the deadline for the two sides to reach a long-term deal. The Falcons and Jones don’t fall under those guidelines right now but could reach such a scenario if no long-term agreement is made before next offseason.

Jones is scheduled to make $10.176 million this year. While every talented receiver would want to join the likes of Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, who leads all receiver at $16.2 million per year, the reality is Jones likely won’t become the league’s highest-paid receiver right now.

Jones vowed not to hold out for a new contract, so we’ll see how his scenario unfolds. He is leaving everything in the hands of agent Jimmy Sexton, the same guy who negotiated a six-year, $114.375 million deal for Miami’s Ndamukong Suh that included $59.955 million guaranteed.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said he has no lingering concerns at all about the fractured foot Jones suffered in 2013, limiting him to five games.

No Extension Talks Have Taken Place Between Falcons and WR Jones

at Lambeau Field on December 8, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

There have been no contract extension talks between the Falcons and Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones‘ camp, a league source told Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com on Monday.

The Falcons have stated their intent to keep Jones for the long haul, but at what price?

Falcons teammate Roddy White believes Jones should be the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. Calvin Johnson, who makes $16.2 million annually as part of a seven-year contract he signed with the Lions in 2013, currently holds that title. Johnson received $43.75 million guaranteed.

Jones, 26, has one year remaining on his contract after the team exercised its fifth-year option. He will make $10.176 million during the 2015 season.

While there appears to be a contentious situation brewing in Dallas between top receiver Dez Bryant and the Cowboys, Jones vowed not to protest over an extension with the Falcons. He attended all offseason workouts and minicamps and is expected to report to training camp on time.

“I’m not going to hold out for anything,” Jones told ESPN last month. “My teammates need me. I’m being selfish if I’m not here and doing what I need to do.”

Jones said his agent, Jimmy Sexton, will handle all contract discussions.

Falcons Thinking of Using 3-D Film This Year at Practices

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The Falcons are having talks with StriVR Labs, a virtual reality company with software that allows players a 3-D look at live action from practice, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The Falcons are very interested in the new technology, but have not reached an official agreement with the company, according to the firm.

If a deal is reached, the Falcons would join the Dallas Cowboys as the only NFL teams using a drone to film part of their practices and use virtual reality to help their players improvement .

Clemson, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Auburn have used the technology that was developed former Stanford kicker Derek Belch.

Under Falcons general manager Thomas Domitroff, the franchise has looked to technology to help improve player performance.

Back in 2011, the Falcons and Polar USA entered into an agreement to use heart rate monitors to establish work load and peak efficiency times.

“We will always be an organization that will attempt to be on the front end of the learning curve when it comes to nutrition, sports science, and the athletic performance of our athletes,” Dimitroff said at the time of the deal. “Because of the cutting-edge Polar technology, we are now able to closely monitor our players to ensure they perform at a very high level as well as taking the necessary steps to properly recover.”

In 2013, the Falcons entered into an agreement with Catapult, an Australian company, to provide them with GPS athlete tracking technology.

At that time, the devices were used by seven other NFL teams to monitor athlete movement and they let the team know how hard each player is working.

In 2014, the Falcons entered into a deal with Sparta Sports Science to develop an athletic performance program based on “force plate” technology.

Atlanta Could Host the Super Bowl in Either 2019 or 2020

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Atlanta could be getting the biggest game on Earth again.

The NFL has selected Miami, Tampa, New Orleans and Atlanta as finalists for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

All four cities’ bids will go before the owners for a vote next May. The next three Super Bowls are slated for Santa Clara, Houston and Minneapolis.

The city of Atlanta last hosted a Super Bowl in 2000 when the Rams beat the Titans 23-16 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson on the 1-yard line to end the game.

If Atlanta does acquire the Super Bowl bid, Hipmunk.com will get any NFL fan to the big game by offering flights to and from Atlanta. The Super Bowl isn’t just a one day affair, Hipmunk has affordable Atlanta hotels that can be booked tool, including options near the stadium.

Falcons Pick Grady Jarrett Day After Family’s Home Damaged in Fire

2015 NFL Scouting Combine

Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett had a bittersweet draft day. He was selected a day after the family’s home burned to the ground in Conyers, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

About 50 people were gathered for a draft party, but they were able to escape.

Jarrett, who’s the son of former Falcons great Jessie Tuggle, was selected by the Falcons in the fifth-round (137th overall)of the NFL draft on Saturday.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank ordered the staff to take clothes and team clothes over to the Jarrett home after he was told about the fire, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Jarrett reportedly lost most of his Clemson memorabilia in the fire.

Falcons Take Clemson DE Vic Beasley with 8th Pick in NFL Draft

2015 NFL Scouting Combine

The Falcons went defense, which wasn’t a stretch for them in the first round of Thursday’s NFL Draft, as they took hard hitting Clemson DE Vic Beasley.

The team needed an edge rusher, and while he needs to work on his tackling in the run game, he will add punch to a defense that simply wasn’t good last season or the season before.

Here’s a scouting report on Beasley.

Over the past three seasons, Beasley was one of the most dangerous and consistent pass-rushers in college football. He was a situational pass-rusher in 2012, but he showed his natural ability to get after the quarterback. The sophomore totaled 14 tackles with eight sacks and a forced fumble that season.

As a junior, Beasley was on the field more and upped his production to 13 sacks. He also picked up 23 tackles for a loss, 41 tackles, six passes batted, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Beasley could have entered the 2014 NFL Draft with the potential to be a late first-round or second-round pick, but he was wise to return for his senior year as he improved his draft stock.

Beasley totaled 12 sacks, 33 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and three forced fumbles in 2014. The senior was very consistent in the early going, recording at least one sack in six straight games. He had excellent games against South Carolina and Florida State, notching multiple sacks against each rival.

At the Combine, Beasley was a star. He officially ran the 40 in 4.53 seconds. That blistering time was especially impressive considering Beasleyhad recently packed on about 10-15 pounds of weight. Those extra pounds were also apparently a;; muscle as he excelled in the bench press (35 reps), too.

For the NFL, Beasley looks like he has the potential to become a double-digit sack-artist. Beasley is lightning off the edge with the skills to burn tackles with his speed rush even when they know it’s coming. He can beat tackles around the corner with his burst and will dart back to the inside or use a spin move. Beasley has active hands that he uses to keep blockers from getting a good hold of him. Beasley can get hot and take over games with a series of big-time plays.

When it comes to the ground game, Beasley is at his best in pursuit. His recently added strength should make him a better run-defender, but he had issues defending downhill runs straight at him in college. Beasley will also benefit by moving back off the line of scrimmage and not lining up with his hand on the ground all the time.

2015 NFL Draft Includes 8 Picks for Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Introduce Dan Quinn

The Falcons are going to be busy bees on NFL Draft weekend coming up in May, as it’s a time for their new coaching staff and organization to regroup after two rough seasons that eventually led to coach Mike Smith getting fired. Discover How High Will Falcons’ NFL Lines Fly in 2015 at Mybookie.ag.

New head coach Dan Quinn and the Falcons new staff will have their work cut out for them, but will also have the benefit of having no less than eight picks in front of them when they get to NFL Draft night, which will take place April 30th to May 2nd, and this year will take place in Chicago.

Here’s a list of the eight picks that the Falcons and staff will have when the draft kicks off, this is unless the team makes a deal to give away or even add more picks to try and get their roster where they want to be.

The Falcons have the 8th overall pick, and one mock draft has the Falcons taking Shane Ray, outside linebacker and defensive end who played his college ball at Missouri.

The club also has another big need, that being at running back. With Steven Jackson gone the team will focus on getting a back at some point, and some think the team will snag Minnesota back David Cobb around the 4th around.

Here’s the complete list of draft picks that the Falcons will have come draft day:

First Round: Eighth pick (Eighth overall)

Second Round: 10th pick (42nd overall)

Third Round: Ninth pick (73rd overall)

Fourth Round: Eighth pick (107th overall)

Fifth Round: 10th pick (146th overall)

Sixth Round: Ninth pick (185th overall)

Seventh Round: Eighth pick (225th overall)

Seventh Round: 32nd pick (249th overall) from New England through St. Louis

While the team has eight picks right now, there’s a chance that it may not be eight come draft day, as reports say Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is getting set for the team to lose a draft pick for their punishment for the “noise gate” investigation.

“We are just so full of scenarios and that’s kind of how we approach the offseason as it is,” Dimitroff said on 680 The Fan Friday morning. “We’ve been very detailed on how we are going to approach things if in fact we have availability at certain points in the draft.”

The league will officially inform the Falcons via a written letter from commissioner Roger Goodell.

“I believe that we’ll be expecting something,” Dimitroff said. “Usually, when you get indication from the league it is via print.”

How that penalty will effect the Falcons 2015 draft remains to be seen, but as of now, the team is getting set to add players that could revamp a team that needs plenty of help.

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