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Falcons Have Plenty Of Success Late In First Round

When it comes to the NFL Draft, the general consensus is that the better prospects are taken at the top of the rounds – more specifically, the first round. Tim Couch, David Carr and JaMarcus Russell indicate otherwise.

So does Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and his draft history.

Either with the Falcons or Patriots, Dimitroff and his front offices have picked higher than 13th just once. Betting experts know that Dimitroff has had far more booms than busts, including Matt Ryan, who was that third overall selection.

When Dimitroff and his teams have been further back, they’ve done an excellent job nonetheless. It seems like the teams in front of him make the mistakes and he just takes advantage.

With the New England Patriots, he picked up Brandon Meriweather 27th overall (2007), Laurence Maroney 21st overall (2006), Logan Mankins 32nd overall (2005), Vince Wilfork 21st overall (2004) and Ty Warren 13th overall (2003).

With the Falcons, Dimitroff has selected Ryan 2008, Peria Jerry 24th (2009) and Sean Witherspoon 20th (2010).

The Falcons may opt to move even further back than usual this year as they have the 27th pick overall. Considering Dimitroff is capable of getting good value wherever he picks, he might be content to slide 10-15 spots back to pick up a first-rounder for next season or potentially more picks in this draft.

No. 27 should be a hot commodity as there are a number of teams at the top of the first (and therefore second) round who could use a passer but not many of them will be taken early on in the first round. That means a number of teams could look to trade into the latter part of the first round to get a guy like Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett or Jake Locker.

The Falcons biggest two needs are an impact wide receiver who can take some pressure off of Roddy White and give Ryan another option. The defense could also use a quality defensive end who can get to the quarterback as the Falcons defensive ends not named “John Abraham” accounted for merely six of the team’s 31 sacks last year (20th in the NFL).

The draft kicks off on Thursday, April 28th.

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