Central Florida OL Patrick Brown
So far, the Falcons have signed four undrafted free agents and more can be expected to sign in the next 24 to 48 hours. Read on to find out about who they have signed and gauge where they could ultimately fit into Atlanta's talented roster...
Aaron Kelly, WR, Clemson
Scott Eklund’s Take: From an athletic standpoint, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better wideout than Kelly. He’s tall and angular with the ability to go deep using his sub-4.5 speed, but he wasn’t as productive as he should have been even though QB Cullen Harper wasn’t very good in 2008. I had him rated as the 31st best wideout in the country and someone who should have gone in the fifth or sixth round. To get him as a free agent is a steal for the Falcons and since he hails from the south, I imagine he will be out to show the rest of the country the NFL scouts made a mistake.
Ryan Stanchek, OL, West Virginia
Scott Eklund’s Take: Even though he was a solid player at left tackle for West Virginia, he’ll likely move inside because he doesn’t have the length you look for in a tackle prospect. He has good feet and a good initial punch to keep the defensive lineman at bay, but his feet aren’t very good so he can struggle against quicker lineman and linebackers. He won’t be a factor getting to the second-level either because he lacks the athleticism and feet to get there, but once he latches onto a player he has the strength and tenacity to ride them out of the play.
Brock Christopher, LB, Missouri
Scott Eklund’s Take: Christopher was one of the most productive linebackers in college football the past two seasons, notching 325 tackles while starting for three straight seasons at middle linebacker for the Tigers. He was a team captain and a leader on a team that finished second in the Big 12 twice. Christopher is a lunch-pail player, who overachieved given his athletic limitations. He’s a player who will give you his all and could be a solid special teams performer, but his lack of footspeed could hurt him in the pros.
John Parker Wilson, QB, Alabama
Scott Eklund’s Take: Parker Wilson left Alabama as it’s leading passer in terms of yards (7,924) and touchdowns (47), but even though he put up big numbers, he never lived up to the hype he came to Tuscaloosa with after receiving prep All-American honors coming out of Hoover High School. He’s got plenty of experience against a high-level of competition and he’s a good leader, but he lacks arm strength and sometimes he’s too cerebral, second-guessing himself more than just letting it fly. He could be a solid backup though and that’s where he could ultimately find a niche with the Falcons who already have their quarterback of the future in second-year QB Matt Ryan.
Darren Mougey, QB, San Diego State
Scott Eklund's Take: Mougey is an intriguing play because of his size and the speed (4.65) and athleticism he possesses. Up until 2007, Mougey had been the backup quarterback for the Aztecs, but acquitted himself well the past two seasons hauling in 66 receptions for 805 yards and six touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how he fits into the mix, but there are plenty of quarterbacks who make the switch to receiver or tight end and find success in the NFL.
Robbie Dehaze, P, Northern Arizona
Scott Eklund's Take: When you sign a punter/kicker out of college as an undrafted free agent, you are mainly looking for someone who can provide another leg in camp with the off chance that should your punter or kicker struggle or get injured you will have already given them a tryout. That being said, Dehaze is a solid punter leading the nation with a 45.7 yard per punt average and he doubles as a kicker as well hitting 16 of 20 field goal attempts, hitting on all four outside of 40 yards including a 52-yarder. Can me make the team? It's a longshot with two solid specialists already on Atlanta's roster, but I don't think he's camp fodder either.
Derek Nicholson, LB, Florida State
Scott Eklund's Take: Nicholson led the Seminoles the past two seasons and finished with 207 tackles and is a leader with his instincts and knowledge of how to play defense. Nicholson wraps up well and reads plays quickly, allowing him to make up for his less-than-desirable speed (4.81) to get into position to make a play. He doesn't shed well and at times he can get caught up in the trash, but he's instinctive and when he arrives at the ball the ballcarrier usually goes down.
Maurice Lucas, DE, Colorado
Scott Eklund's Take: With his size and underrated speed (4.8), Lucas is a candidate to play as a standup pass-rusher in Atlanta's new 3-4 scheme. He totaled 107 tackles and only four sacks, but that had more to do with how he was used at Colorado and doesn't really speed to his athleticism. At times he disappeared from sight during games, but when he was in the flow he made plays. I had Lucas rated as a late-round selection just because of his athleticism, so the Falcons could have gotten themselves a real gem if they can find a place for him.
Patrick Brown, OL, Central Florida
Scott Eklund's Take: Brown is an athletic tackle prospect who is at his best pass-blocking or pulling and getting to the second level. He isn't overly strong or nasty, using finesse and technique over brute force. He did have a great game against South Flroida DE George Selvie, one of the nation's premier pass-rushers, shutting down the All-American. He might be able to stick as a project, but it's more likely he will end up on the practice squad after training camp.
Jose Valdez, OT, Illinois
Scott Eklund's Take: Valdez has quick feet and he's a mauler, but he was inconsistent during his four years with the Razorbacks. I like what he brings to the table athletically and he's got a chance to develop as either a right tackle or even at a guard position. If he can find some consistency, he should be able to have a nice career as a key backup should he make an NFL roster.
Robert Shiver, LS, Auburn
Scott Eklund's Take: Having a quality long-snapper is a key and I'm a big believer in signing one every year after the draft takes place in order to make sure you have the best one you can get. Shiver was widely considered one of the better long-snappers in the country and it will be interesting to see if he ends up sticking with the Falcons at the end of camp.