Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cover 9@9: "Big Play" Ray Buchanan Jr. to attend Falcons' local day

1. Big Play Junior. Former Falcons star “Big Play” Ray Buchanan’s son, Ray Jr., will take part in the team’s locals day on Wednesday.

Ray Buchanan Jr. played at Northern Iowa after transferring from Arkansas. He played in high school at Peachtree Ridge.

Buchanan, who’s 5-foot-10 and 184 pounds, is rated as the 75th best cornerback in the draft by Dane Brugler’s 2017 NFL draft guide.

His father, who started for the Falcons in their Super Bowl XXXIII loss to Denver, was drafted in the third round of the 1993 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts and spent 12 seasons in the NFL playing for the Colts, Falcons and Raiders.

Some of the other invitees include Georgia offensive lineman Tyler Catalina, Alabama defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, Troy offensive tackle Antonio Garcia, Kentucky running back Stanley "Boom" Williams, Clemson quarterback Nick Schuessler, Appalachian State tight end Barrett Burns, Georgia State defensive end Shawanye Lawrence, Stetson safety Donald Payne, Ball State safety Aaron Taylor, Central Florida quarterback Justin Holman and Georgia wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie have also been invited to the Falcons locals day.

South Alabama tight end Gerald Everett was also invited but had conflict with his Pro Day.

2. Ryan golf outing. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will hold his 7th annual Matt Ryan Celebrity-Am Classic at TPC Sugarloaf on Monday.

The proceeds from the event will benefit  the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Matt Ryan Foundation. This exclusive golf event features Falcons players and retired professional athletes paired with amateurs for a memorable round of golf.

This year’s celebrity players include Alejandro Pena, Brian Finneran, Buck Belue, Dale Ellis, Dan Bouchard, Dave Archer, DJ Shockley, Drew Butler, Garfield Heard, Greg McMichael, Harper LeBel, Kevin Butler, Matt Schaub, Mike Haynes, Mike Kenn, Otis Nixon, Pete Smith, Phil Niekro, Rodney Harrison, Terance Mathis, Wes Durham, Charlie Leibrandt, Michael Cheever, Charlie Criss, Chris Dimino and Michael Palmer.

3. Offseason schedule released.  The Falcons “voluntary” offseason workout program is set to start on April 17.

Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The NFL informed the Falcons in October of its penalty for violating the league's excessive contact rules during organized team activities, and announced the club will lose the first three days of OTAs in 2017.

The Falcons OTA’s are sent for May 30, June 1-2, June 5-6 and June 8-9. The mandatory minicamp will be held June 13-15.

Training camp is slated to start in late July.

4. Turf change for Falcons.  The Falcons and Atlanta United will play on a FieldTurf surface when Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens.

FieldTurf announced Tuesday that the company will provide its “Revolution 360” artificial turf for the new stadium.

The announcement signals a change of mind in the choice of turf provider for the downtown Atlanta stadium. A different turf company, GreenFields USA, was announced as the supplier in February 2016.

5. What Tony Romo had to say about his new career move. The Falcons face the Cowboys next season at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and will see Dak Prescott at quarterback and not Tony Romo, who retired on Tuesday.

Here’s what he had to say about his move to CBS Sports.

6. Dimitorff draft-day trade history.  Here’s a look at general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s draft-trading record:

  • 2016: The Falcons sent the 50th pick in the second round to Houston for the 52nd pick and a sixth rounder. The Texans took Notre Dame guard Nick Martin and the Falcons selected linebacker Deion Jones with the 52nd pick and offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer with the 195th overall pick.
  • 2015: The Falcons traded up nine spots to land defensive tackle Grady Jarrett in the fifth round with the 137th overall pick. They traded with the Minnesota Vikings and gave up their fifth-round pick (146) and sixth-round pick (185).  The Vikings used the 146th pick to select wide receiver Stefon Diggs and the 185rh pick to select Oklahoma tackle Tyrus Thompson. Diggs made the PFWA All-Rookie team.
  • 2014: The Falcons traded their sixth-round pick (182 overall) and one of their three seventh-round picks (220) for the Vikings’ fifth-round pick (168). They selected Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill with the pick.
  • 2013: The Falcons traded up from 30 to 22 in the first-round to land cornerback Desmond Trufant. The Falcons traded with the St. Louis Rams They gave up a third and a sixth round pick. In the fifth round, the Falcons traded up 10 picks to get TCU defensive end Stansly Maponga. They sent a seventh-round pick (236) to the Chicago Bears.
  •  2012:  The Falcons made a trade with Baltimore to move down seven spots in the third round to take tackle Lamar Holmes. They picked up a fifth round pick and selected defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi with the 164th overall pick. The Ravens picked up running back Bernard Pierce with the 84th pick the Falcons sent them. The Falcons gave up a seventh rounder (229 overall) to the Eagles in the Asante Samuel trade. The Eagles used that pick to select running back Bryce Brown.
  • 2011: There was the 5-for-1 mega-deal with Cleveland to move up 21 spots in order to land wide receiver Julio Jones. Later, in the fifth round after the spotlight was off the Falcons, he sent two picks to St. Louis in order to move up 10 spots to scoop up running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
  • 2010: Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks, who left school a year early, was slipping in the draft. Dimitroff sent two picks to St. Louis to move up 14 spots to acquire Franks.
  • 2009: Dimitroff felt he could get his guy by going back 13 spots in the fifth round. The Falcons made a deal to send their fifth-round pick to Dallas. They moved back 13 spots and picked up a seventh-round pick for their troubles. They drafted offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds in the fifth and Vance Walker in the seventh.
  • 2008: There was a run on left tackles. With the Falcons needing protection for Matt Ryan, Dimitroff sent two second-round picks and a fourth-round pick to Washington in order to move back into the first round and pick Sam Baker with the 21st overall pick. They also received third- and fifth-round picks. The Falcons used those picks to select wide receiver Harry Douglas (84th overall) and defensive end Kroy Biermann (154th).

7. Take Falcons' draft quiz. The Falcons have the 31st pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, which will be held April 27-29. More than 500 players have been drafted during franchise history. Two have had Hall of Fame careers, while others have been, well, below average. CLICK HERE to take the Falcons' ultimate draft quiz.

8. Draft visit tracker. The good folks over at keep track of all of the draft prospect visits. Apparently, the Falcons were in Salt Lake City to workout offensive linemen Isaac Asiata (guard/center) and Garett Bolles (tackle).

Mississippi tight end Evan Engram, who played at Hillgrove High, met with the Falcons at the Senior Bowl.

The Falcons have had multiple meetings with Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp.

Here’s their list of players the Falcons have met with:

  • Keion Adams, DE, Western Michigan
  • Isaac Asiata, G/C, Utah
  • Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
  • Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston
  • Richie Brown, OLB/ILB, Mississippi State
  • Barrett Burns, TE, Appalachian State
  • Austin Calitro, OLB, Villanova
  • Austin Carr, WR, Northwestern
  • Tim Crawley, WR, San Jose State
  • Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell
  • Kevin Davis, OLB, Colorado State
  • Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
  • Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
  • Cam Keizur, G, Portland State
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE/3-4DE, Villanova
  • Forrest Lamp^, OT/G, Western Kentucky
  • Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
  • Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
  • Hardy Nickerson, OLB/ILB, Illinois
  • Antonio Pipkin, QB, Tiffin
  • Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
  • Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
  • Duke Riley, ILB, LSU
  • Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State
  • Nick Schuessler, QB, Clemson
  • Noel Thomas, WR, Connecticut
  • Sam Tevi, OT, Utah
  • Noel Thomas, WR, Connecticut
  • Dalvin Tomlinson, DT/NT, Alabama
  • Kermit Whitfield, WR, Florida State

9. Cheerleader finals are tonight. The Falcons Cheerleaders prelims were on Sunday. (Judge Ledbetter had to miss this year. I was on the disabled list with back. I was probable and couldn't answer the bell.)

The finalists were announced Tuesday. Final auditions will take place at 6:30 p.m. tonight.





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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.