Once considered a pipe dream, the Falcons now have a realistic shot at drafting Joe Haden in the first round.
The “experts” had Haden listed as the top corner for months now, and the assumption was that he would be long gone by the time Atlanta’s 19th overall pick came around. After turning in a 4.57 and 4.60 in the all-too-important 40-yard dash, he’s definitely falling past Oakland, and possibly further. Should Thomas Dimitroff address the corner position, he’d be hard-pressed to find one with more on-field credentials.
D.Orlando Ledbetter knocks Haden for his size, nothing that at 5’10, 190 lbs., he doesn’t fit the ideal body type the Falcons are looking for out of a defensive back this offseason. He then goes on to hilariously suggest that 6’2 210 would be a more prototypical size. While everyone loves defensive backs who can backpedal, open their hips and change directions at 6’2 210, the truth is they just don’t exist.
There’s Virginia DB Chris Cook, who at 6’1 and 212 lbs., posted a faster 40 than Haden (4.55) and is shooting up draft boards, but will likely not be taken during round 2. Opting for a player like Cook over a talent like Haden for measurables reasons–ignoring his superior ball skills, 3-years of experience, and SEC pedigree–is a move I’d expect from Al Davis, not Thomas Dimitroff.
I understand the need for non-midget defensive backs in the NFC South. After seeing Brent Grimes and Chris Houston get maimed by Marques Colston last season, many are now clamoring for DBs with a bit more size. “BIG CORNERS! WE NEED BIG CORNERS!” (Since they’re so abundant and all…)
This ignores the fundamental fact that, in addition to being a small corner, Chris Houston is also a bad corner. As in, terrible. He could be 6’6, he still wouldn’t have any ball skills or awareness in coverage. Joe Haden is a three-year starter for a top program, who faced off against the likes of Julio Jones (6’4 215) and AJ Green (6’4, 205). Was his size a problem during his junior season, when he was a consensus All-SEC and All-America selection?
I’m still on the “draft Sean Weatherspoon” bandwagon. But if the Falcons seriously want to address the corner position, and Joe Haden, all 5’10 1/2 of him, “slow” as he is, is there at 19, Thomas Dimitroff would almost have no choice.