With the twenty-ninth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft the New England Patriots select Tavon Austin, WR, WVU.
Next we address the 30th pick in the draft - The Atlanta Falcons are on the clock.
#30 Atlanta Falcons. Needs - DE, DT, TE. The Atlanta Falcons just completed their 5th straight winning season, and second season in the past three in which they won 13 regular season games. That's pretty heady stuff for a franchise that had never even had back to back winning seasons in the 42 seasons prior to the arrival of HC Mike Smith and QB Matt Ryan in 2008. In fact, the Falcons had only 9 winning seasons total in the 42 seasons prior to their arrival. But the Falcons have progressed to the point now that it is "Superbowl or Bust" for this organization, and unfortunately for them 2012 was yet another "Bust."
Atlanta's talented trio of Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Julio Jones did their part to propel their offense into the upper echelon of the NFL. The Falcons finished 6th in passing yards and 7th in scoring, averaging 26 points per game. The O-line did it's job in keeping their franchise QB upright, allowing a 7th best 28 sacks on the year for the pass-happy franchise. The running game was a different story. The Falcons were an abysmal 29th in the League in rushing yards. It wasn't just because they heavily favored the pass over the run. They averaged a paltry 3.7 yards per carry for the year. The question is, was it the O-line or the RBs?
The Falcons were a bit of an enigma on defense. They gave up a lot of yards, ranking a disappointing 23rd vs. the pass, and a sorry 21st vs. the run, including a horrendous 4.8 yards allowed per carry that was better than only 3 other teams. The Falcons also failed to generate pressure on opposing QBs, collecting only 29 sacks on the year, which was 28th in the NFL. Despite their poor play in those areas, the Falcons somehow managed to finish with the 5th best scoring defense for the year, giving up about 19 points per contest. Perhaps it was their opportunistic play that helped keep their opponents off the scoreboard, as they were 6th in takeaways with 31 on the season.
Obviously, Atlanta needs to bolster both it's pass rush and interior D-line. Their best pass rusher, DE John Abraham, will be 35 and looks to have played his last game for the Falcons. Atlanta needs to upgrade it's running game too. Michael Turner looks to have lost a step, he's going to be 31 in a few days, and most likely won't be brought back. Center Todd McClure will be 36 next week and also looks to have played his last game as a Falcon. Then there's Tony Gonzalez, the soon to be 37 year old future Hall of Fame TE who has said he's retiring. So which direction do the Falcons go with this pick? There are three 1st round quality DTs still on the board. They can't possibly pass on one of them can they? Of course, the top TEs are still available too, and with Gonzalez saying he's done... How about a big, every down RB like Eddie Lacy or Montee Ball? Decisions, decisions...
Picks so far:
#1 Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
#2 Jacksonville Jaguars - Bjoern Warner, DE, FSU
#3 Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
#4 Philadelphia Eagles - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
#5 Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
#6 Cleveland Browns - Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
#7 Arizona Cardinals - Geno Smith, QB, WVU
#8 Buffalo Bills - Mike Glennon, QB, NC St.
#9 New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
#10 Tennessee Titans - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio St.
#11 San Diego Chargers - Eric Fisher, OT, CMU
#12 Miami Dolphins - Keenan Allen, WR, California
#13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi St.
#14 Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
#15 New Orleans Saints - John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
#16 St. Louis Rams - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
#17 Pittsburgh Steelers - Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
#18 Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
#19 New York Giants - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
#20 Chicago Bears - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
#21 Cincinnati Bengals - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
#22 St. Louis Rams - Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
#23 Minnesota Vikings - Terrance Williams, WR,Baylor
#24 Indianapolis Colts - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB,Oregon
#25 Seattle Seahawks - Sam Montgomery, DE,LSU
#26 Green Bay Packers - Johnathan Cooper, G, UNC
#27 Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
#28 Denver Broncos - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
#29 New England Patriots - Tavon Austin, WR, WVU