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: D. Led’s Mock 2.0 - Falcons select Reggie Ragland

The COVER 9@9 is back every Wednesday at 9 a.m. We are gearing up for the start of the offseason conditioning program on April 18 and the NFL draft (April 28-30). 

FLOWERY BRANCH – After spending the majority of their money on offense in free agency, the Falcons will turn their attention to the defense in the draft.

The linebacker corps is pretty thin right now and that makes the selection of Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland  a no-brainer with the 17th pick overalll pick.

After his Pro Day, Ragland said that he had workouts scheduled with the Baltimore Ravens (sixth), Jacksonville Jaguars (fifth), Minnesota Vikings (23rd) and Buffalo Bills (19th).

Ragland ran the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds at the NFL scouting combine. He was expected to run again at the school’s Pro Day, but mysteriously elected to sit on the slow time. He also only benched pressed 225 pounds, 13 times, but is believed to be recovering from a shoulder surgery.

Ragland is considered a two-down linebacker, who can help teams shut down the run. That’s an issue for the Falcons, who gave up 20 rushing touchdowns last season, which tied for tops in the league.

Falcons linebacker coach Jeff Ulbrich, who was at Ragland’s Pro Day, would have to develop his coverage skills.

“He’s a thumper,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “He’s a guy that really in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, would have been a top 10 pick guaranteed. The coverage ability is going to be (an issue). He was 259 at the Senior Bowl. You’d like to see that weight down a bit.”

He was down to 248 for Alabama’s Pro Day. Here's a story on his diet changes.

“How effective will he be in coverage in the NFL?,” Kipper said. “We know he’ll get after the quarterback. You can move him around a little bit. He’s got some versatility. But how he plays moving backwards, not forwards, is the concern with Reggie Ragland.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn was on the field to watch Ragland work during the Senior Bowl practices.

“I saw some good plays,” Quinn said. “I felt his speed. He’s bigger than I thought. On TV you see some ball games, but I felt the speed. There was a play across the field where he just went after the tight end, closed on him and took a shot at the ball.

“I was like this is a guy that is going for it. You can sense that from him.”

Quinn liked that Ragland tried to play some new positions at the Senior Bowl.

“I thought he had versatility because he went down to the pass rush and did some of that, too,” Quinn said. “It’s pretty rare. A lot of inside backers don’t have experience rushing outside. Man, what a versatile dude. Is he guy who can play over the tight end? He’s got the strength to do that, but yet he plays his game behind the ball. He jumped out to me in a positive way.”

Here’s how my Mock 2.0 stacks up:

  1. Tennessee Titans. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi
  2. Cleveland Browns. Jared Goff, QB, California
  3. San Diego Chargers. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
  4. Dallas Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars. Jalen Ramsey, FS, Florida State
  6. Baltimore Ravens. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
  7. San Francisco 49ers. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
  8. Philadelphia Eagles. Veron Hargreaves, CB, Florida
  9. Tamp Bay Buccaneers: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
  10. New York Giants. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
  11. Chicago Bears. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
  12. New Orleans Saints. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
  13. Miami Dolphins. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
  14. Oakland Raiders. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
  15. Los Angeles Rams. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
  16. Detroit Lions. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
  17. Atlanta Falcons. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
  18. Indianapolis Colts. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
  19. Buffalo Bills. Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Mississippi
  20. New York Jets. Leonard Floyd, DE, Georgia
  21. Washington Redskins. Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
  22. Houston Texans. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
  23. Minnesota Vikings. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
  24. Cincinnati Bengals. Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers. Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
  26. Seattle Seahawks. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
  27. Green Bay Packers. Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
  28. Kansas City Chiefs. William Jackson III, CB, Houston
  29. Arizona Cardinals. Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
  30. Carolina Panthers. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
  31. Denver Broncos. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

* There will be only 31 picks in the first round in 2016, with New England’s first-round pick forfeited.

2. QUINN TO SPEAK TODAY: Falcons coach Dan Quinn will speak this morning at the owner's meeting. Here are some of the issues that will be discussed. Player safety is set to be the focus of this meeting.

3. MONEY COUNT: The Falcons have $5,020,893 million left under the salary cap, according to the NFLPA salary cap report. That's about enough left for the rookie class.

4. OFFSEASON  CONDITIONING: The offseason conditioning program starts on April 18.

5. PERSON TO MOVE TO RIGHT GUARD: Mike Person, who started 14 games at center last season , is moving to the vacant starting right guard spot.

Person, who had never started an NFL game until last season nor played center, will return to his natural position. He struggled snapping the ball last season and eventually lost the starting job to Gino Gradkowski for the regular season finale.

With the signing of center Alex Mack in free agency, the Falcons will slide Person over to right guard. Last season’s starter, Chris Chester was not re-signed.

Person, 27, beat out James Stone, Joe Hawley and Gradkowski to win the center job. The Falcons always thought that Person could start are either guard or center. The team remains high on Person as a guard.

6. SAINTS CAUSING TROUBLE: Former Georgia football player Damian Swann, now of the New Orleans Saints, was booked into Athens-Clarke County jail on charges of reckless driving and speeding. Police claim they recorded Swann driving 100 miles per hour in a 65 miles-per-hour zone on the 10 Loop near College Station Road at 2:17 a.m. in his 2016 Jaguar. Swann was booked at 3:16 a.m. Friday and released at 4:13 a.m. after posting a $2,000 cash bond, according to the jail records.

7. ICYMI - Falcons transactions since March 1.

8. CHEERLEADER AUDITIONS:  Falcons cheerleader auditions are set for  Sunday, April 24, 2016. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

9. POST FREE AGENCY DEPTH CHART:  Falcons coach Dan Quinn said that Mohamed Sanu (video above) will be the team's No. 2 wide receiver. Hardy is the No. 3 before the competition starts.

Here’s a look at the post-free agency depth chart:


WR 11 Julio Jones, 16 Justin Hardy, 17 Devin Hester, 18 Jordan Leslie

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton

LG 67 Andy Levitre, 64 Collin Rahrig

C   51 Alex Mack, 62 James Stone

RG 68 Mike Person 63 Ben Garland, 67 Adam Replogle

RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 72 Bryce Harris

TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 80 Levine Toilolo, 81 Tony Moeaki, 86 D.J. Tialavea, 86 Beau Gardner

WR Mohamed Sanu, 14 Eric Weems, 15 Nick Williams, 89 Aldrick Robinson, 89 C.J. Goodwin

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 12 Sean Renfree, 8 Matt Schaub, 1 Matt Simms

RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 33 Terron Ward, 35 Gus Johnson

FB 42 Patrick DiMarco


RDE  99 Adrian Clayborn, 94 Tyson Jackson

DT 95 Jonathan Babineaux  97 Grady Jarrett

DT 90 Derrick Shelby, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 74 Joey Mbu

LDE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 93 Malliciah Goodman, 41 Tyler Starr

LB 52 Sean Weatherspoon, 56 Brooks Reed

LB 55 Paul Worrilow, 53 LaRoy Reynolds

RCB 32 Jalen Collins, 28 Akeem King

NCB 23 Robert Alford

LCB 21 Desmond Trufant, 43 DeMarcus Van Dyke

FS 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie

S 30 Charles Godfrey, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 40 Damian Parms


K 3 Matt Bryant

KO 5 Matt Bosher

P 5 Matt Bosher

KR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems

PR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems

LS 47 Josh Harris

H 5 Matt Bosher


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Falcons mulit-level free agency makeover underway

Weatherspoon hopes to revive career, where it started

Falcons, O'Brien Schofield at impasse

Falcons agree to five-year deal with center Alex Mack

Mohamed Sanu: 'I'm not trying to fill anybody's shoes'


Alabama defensive tackles (A'Shawn and Jarran) are NFL-ready

Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox gets into shoving match at NFL combine

Floyd, Jenkins are stellar NFL prospects

Firm helps NFL prospects prepare for newfound wealth -- 7 financial pitfalls they'll face

Ex-Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins has met with the Falcons

Clemson's Shaq Lawson interviewed with the Falcons

Nkemdiche has uphill battle to improve NFL draft status

Nkemdiche would love to play for the Falcons

14 questions with Georgia Tech standout Adam Gotsis

Falcons checking out interior linemen at the combine

18 questions with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff

Quinn still evaluating the roster -- Nothing new on Roddy White

7 players the Falcons are watching at the combine

13 questions with Falcons coach Dan Quinn

5 questions with Duke punter Will Monday (Flowery Branch High)

26 State prospects hope to make impact at NFL combine


Synthetic turf chosen for Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Falcons cheerleader training session on Saturday

Falcons' Smith leaving to run Ohio State's alumni association

5 positions for the Falcons to shore up

Dimitroff, Quinn have activated the '100-day' plan

Stay or go: Pick Falcons' defense

Stay or go: Pick Falcons' offense

Falcons owner Arthur Blank vows to fight cancer, move on Super Bowl bid

Here's what Blank is facing medically

Falcons released safety William Moore, linebacker Justin Durant

Falcons' Matt Ryan picks Panthers win Super Bowl 50

Arthur Blank on Dimitroff, PSLs and Super Bowl bid

Falcons leaning toward keeping Roddy White

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About the Author

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