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FalconAlley at The Draft

 

Article & Photos by Allison Smith

I was not at the actual draft in Dallas, but I was at the Atlanta Falcons’ official Draft party at Mercedes Benz Stadium, “The Benz Nest.”

This was another great event hosted by Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank.  This was a free event for Season Ticket owners, you merely had to register.  Much of the stadium and many food vendors were open, mostly the main level and parts of the 200 level.  Yet another event where you almost didn’t realize there was not a game to be played by the attendance and activity.

Fans were allowed on the field, where the RISEUP sign was displayed, corn hole was set up, along with many football skill games and local radio and other booths were on the field.  Many people stayed on the field the entire time. Several Falcon players were also on the field, signing and taking pictures with fans.

Meanwhile, we were also allowed in the locker room, where my feature photo here was taken.  We followed the tunnel along a short path into the locker room where you could see several jerseys displayed.  Then you could head back out to the field to hang out or back up to the main level to see the sites or grab some food.

I toured the locker room, chatted with several Benz Nest employees and headed back up.  The radio ship of the Falcons, 92.9 The Game was broadcasting the draft and the local commentary leading up to the draft.  Randy McMichael, Carl Dukes, Mike Bell, and Chuck Smith provided insight into the Falcons as well as the other teams ahead of the Falcons.  I was able to chat with Chuck briefly, but had great time with Carl and Mike, speculating, chatting about FalconAlley Football, and about the event overall.  Harry Douglas was on hand for a radio interview, then taking pictures with fans as well.  Many current players were on hand to chat with 92.9 The Game as well.

The players that were on hand, spoke to 92.9 The Game, then signed autographs and took pictures as well. There were some on the field, some in the upper level, and at two stations on the main level of The Benz Nest.  I worked my way back and forth on the main level, so missed some other great guys, but did get some of my favorites.  Unfortunately, the elusive Ben Garland was already in Dallas preparing to announce the 3rd pick, so he was not available, however, there were some big stars at the Falcons Draft event.

IMG_1980
When they say you can have a pic OR autograph….but Grady knows his biggest fan….

Grady Jarrett, Keanu Neal, Takk McKinley, Deion Jones were all on the main level, along with numerous cheerleaders.  I know that De’Vondre Campbell was at one of the special areas upstairs, as I saw his interview, but he was whisked away.  While I missed a picture with Takk, I did see him close up and he seemed like a great guy.  Did get pictures with Grady, Kiki, and Debo.  Got to chat with them for a few minutes, but of course there was a huge line of us fans running around after all of them.

 

Overall, it was a great event.  I did not stay until our pick as it was so late, but did see many of the early picks as they were displayed on the million tv’s throughout the stadium.

Check out my YouTube channel for my announcement and thoughts on the 2nd day picks.  Our FalconAlley Football Facebook page has pictures from the Draft Day event.

Now, we wait and see how the entire draft turns out for our beloved Falcons.

@FalconAlley Owt

#RISEUP

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And Then, There Were 53

090517

Added LB Jordan Tripp (from Green Bay) to the 53
G Jamil Douglas fills final practice squad spot

090417

LaRoy Reynolds LB – placed on IR with pectoral muscle injury.

Courtney Upshaw will be featured in nickel package with loss of Shede.  Jack Crawford and Dontari Poe will step in on other defense packages.

Ty Sambrailo will play both LT and RT. And practiced over the weekend.

– Starting RG is Wes Schweitzer due to more consistency.

090417:  Ra’Shede Hageman released.

10 of the 11 Practice Squad Announced

RB Jhurell Pressley

WR Deante Burton
WR Marvin Hall
TE Josh Perkins
TE Alex Gray
T Daniel Brunskill
DE J’Terius Jones
DT Joe Vellano
DT Taniela Tupou
S Marcelis Branch

090217:  And Then There Were 53

So, apparently there was some big secret going on at The Branch today as 4pm came and went and it was after 5pm ET before we got the Final Falcons Roster.  I didn’t see any huge surprises, especially on the release list.  Several lists with, waived for this and that, injured, suspended, etc.  Jalen Collins is still on the team, al biet suspended for 10 games, but that gives us a buffer for later in the season.  Another surprise, maybe only to me, was Ra’Shede Hageman.  He is on the commissioner’s exempt list.  Which is, I just learned, a holding pattern.  Shede’s domestic abuse charge from August of 2016 was wrapped in the courts, but continues to be reviewed in the league.  So, Shede is on the team, but can’t play right now….don’t get me started on this.

Congrats to everyone that made the team.  I will mark up my roster from earlier in the week, as I think it is going to be pretty close – short of the traded additions I didn’t anticipate.  Of note, RB Brian Hill made the roster, WRs Andre Roberts and Nick Williams, BEN GARLAND is the starting RG!!!  LBs include LaRoy Reynolds and undrafted rookie Jermaine Grace that earned his spot in Thursday’s game for sure.  Another guy that solidified his spot Thursday was Blidi Wreh-Wilson at CB.  

Andre Roberts is the official returner for now, and I am sure he will get some help from Justin Hardy and Nick Williams along the way.

Practice squad will be announced later, so see who earns a spot there.

Below is the current roster.  Again, congrats to everyone…new and old….welcome to The Brotherhood.

 

53 Man Roster
Mack, Alex
Alford, Robert
Goodwin, C.J.
Kazee, Damontae
Olatoye, Deji
Poole, Brian
Trufant, Desmond
Wreh-Wilson, Blidi
Clayborn, Adrian
Crawford, Jack
McKinley, Takkarist
Reed, Brooks
Shelby, Derrick
Jarrett, Grady
Upshaw, Courtney
Coleman, Derrick
Garland, Ben
Levitre, Andy
Schweitzer, Wes
Bryant, Matt
Grace, Jermaine
Jones, Deion
Reynolds, LaRoy
Harris, Josh
Poe, Dontari
Harlow, Sean
Pasztor, Austin
Beasley, Vic
Campbell, De’Vondre
Riley, Duke
Sambrailo, Ty
Bosher, Matt
Ryan, Matt
Schaub, Matt
Coleman, Tevin
Freeman, Devonta
Hill, Brian
Ward, Terron
Allen, Ricardo
Ishmael, Kemal
Neal, Keanu
Neasman, Sharrod
Matthews, Jake
Schraeder, Ryan
Hooper, Austin
Saubert, Eric
Toilolo, Levine
Gabriel, Taylor
Hardy, Justin
Jones, Julio
Roberts, Andre
Sanu, Mohamed
Williams, Nick
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And….So It Begins….

The proverbial ax has begun to fall, taking the Atlanta Falcons from a full roster, down to the required 53 by 4pm Saturday.  So far, the add of Sambrailo and release of DJ have already messed up my roster.  I will have a marked up version once the official roster is complete, see how close I was in the end.

I will update here as news drops….newest transactions will be at the top.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

QB Alek Torgersen
WR Anthony Dable
WR Josh Magee
RB Kelvin Taylor
FB Tyler Renew
C Travis Averill
C Larson Graham
T Andreas Knappe
T D.J. Tialavea
DE A.J. Jefferson
CB Jarnor Jones,
CB Akeem King
LB Jack Lynn
K Mike Meyer
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Falcons agreed to trade 2018 5th round draft pick to Broncos for Tackle Ty Sambrailo

 

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DRAFT EXCITEMENT COMES TO THE ATL

Photo Credit:  Atlanta Falcons

By Allison Smith

There was lots of excitement for the new Atlanta Falcons during the 2017 NFL Draft in late April.  The Falcons ended with 6 picks, which they split equally between additions on offense and defense.

Falcons 2017 Draft Class

1 – 26: Takkarist McKinley, DE from UCLA; 6’2, 250 lbs
3 – 75: Duke Riley, LB from LSU; is 6’0, 232 lbs
4 – 136: Sean Harlow, T from Oregon State; 6’4, 303 lbs
5 – 149: Damontae Kazee, DB from San Diego State; 5’10, 184 lbs
5 – 156: Brian Hill, RB from Wyoming; 6’1, 219 lbs
5 – 174: Eric Saubert, TE from Drake; 6’5, 253 lbs

 Takkarist McKinley, will forever be known as the emotional, f bomb dropping draft pick, unintentionally creating his own catch phrase, “Fine Me Later.” All I know is that this kid WANTS to play and prove himself and make his promises to his grandmother come true.  In pure class fashion, Takk has pinned an apology to his Twitter page, which is still there as we wrap Training Camp.

Takk is known for his pass rushing skills and actually getting to the quarterback, compiling 10 sacks in 2016 alone. He had 61 tackles, 18 for loss in his final year at UCLA.  Takk immediately began referencing Falcons players like Vic Beasley and others from which he is eager and ready to learn.  He also said, “It’s a brotherhood. I’m so excited to be home.”

Second, we add our 3rd LSU player in as many years.  Duke Riley was the team captain and leading tackler his senior year and rejoins the previous holder of those titles, Deion Jones. Jalen Collins was the LSU pick the previous season.  When Riley heard his name called, he immediately jumped up in excitement to be a “Dirty Bird.” Duke assured Head Coach Dan Quinn and General Manager, Thomas Dimitroff, that “You guys got the best guy in the draft.” Riley had 93 tackles in 2016 and is known for making plays, playing sideline to sideline, and having high football IQ.

To add to the offensive line competition this year, the Falcons added Tackle Sean Harlow, likely be converted to Guard.  Harlow’s size will be a definite benefit, at 6’4, 305 pounds, he is within an inch and 5 pounds of the rest of the members of the O line and was recruited out of high school by new OC Steve Sarkisian.  Harlow is excited to join the Falcons as well, “I’m at a loss of words. I’m excited to be around great players and learn from them.”

Cornerback Damontae Kazee, also, super happy to be a Falcon. “Words can’t explain how I feel right now. I almost already took a flight out there.” Kazee was a MW Defensive Player of the Year, holds the SDSU record for interceptions at 17 and is known to force fumbles. The Falcons noted that Kazee is tough, aggressive, and fiery.

The Falcons then added a running back out of Wyoming.  Brian Hill ran for 4,287 yards and 35 touchdowns. He is big and athletic and self-noted, “I am the best running back in the draft.”  Lots of flash coming to The Atl.  Quinn noted that Hill has “The strength to be a solid 3rd down pass blocker, like a fullback, he runs angry.”  Likely to start with special teams and see if he can work his way on to the already stacked running back squad.

The Falcons wrapped their draft with Eric Saubert, a Tight End from Drake.  He had 111 catches and 17 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Echoing what many other draft picks said, “I can’t wait to get out there with Matt Ryan, it’s a blessing.” Dimitroff said Saubert has the opportunity “To be an explosive tight end in our scheme.”

DQ seemed overall pleased with the 2017 draft, noting that the defensive side added “Speed, athleticism,” and overall acquired “explosive, speed, competitive, grittiness” and got the on and off the field personalities that would fit in to this Brotherhood.

It took quite a while, but I am now able to move on from the game that will not be mentioned here and be excited about 2017 and our future. Whether these guys have swagger, confidence, or something to prove, I think this is our Super Bowl WINNING season.  You will soon learn, I am a huge Clemson fan and saw how they recovered to return and win the 2nd time around.  When I am right next February – remember FalconAlley said it first.

For a more detailed recap of the draft, check out our YouTube Channel Falcon Alley24.

#InQuinnWeTrust   #Brotherhood