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4 Home Field Advantage
April 1

4 Burning NFL Draft Questions v. 1

By: Michael Levell (@4HFAdvantage)

The NFL Draft is in exactly 4 weeks but there is no shortage of questions to be answered. With that being said, 4 Home Field Advantage will answer 4 burning draft questions, each week, from the fans. Just tag you question with #4HFADraft and maybe you can make next week’s post.

Is Vic Beasley a perfect fit for the Atlanta Falcons or are there better choices? – Marlon Copeland via Facebook (

The Falcons are looking for an impact player at their pivotal Leo position. The Leo position, in Dan Quinn’s defense, must win one-on-one matchups in the run and passing game. Physically speaking, Vic Beasley is a perfect fit for the Atlanta Falcons. He has an explosive first step and he knows how to convert raw speed to raw power. This is what Dan Quinn wants from his players; fast and physical. However, from a scheme standpoint, Beasley does not always win his matchups in run defense. Therefore, there are better choices for the Falcons. The actual perfect fit for the Falcons is Dante Fowler Jr. Fowler Jr. is not only fast and physical, but he also has college experience setting the edge in run defense. Fowler also has shown the versatility to play linebacker, defensive tackle, and defensive end. Such versatility can have a similar impact like that of DE Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks.

Should the Falcons trade back into the 1st round? If so, what pieces do they have to make a trade? – Cam Dozier via Facebook (

The last time the Atlanta Falcons traded back into the 1st round, they selected LT Sam Baker (cries on the inside). That trade cost the Falcons two 2nd round picks and a 4th round pick in the same draft. The Falcons cannot afford to lose such valuable picks; even with the NFL’s penalty for pumping fake crowd noise into the Georgia Dome being enforced in 2016. Besides, this NFL Draft is deep at the edge rusher, running back, and linebacker positions. All of such are positions of need for Atlanta.

I see the Miami Dolphins trying to fill the linebacker void via the draft. Other than the LB position, what are some other needs for Miami? – Alex Dean via Facebook (

The Miami Dolphins passing offense produced a nice passer rating for 2014 (92.5). However, that same passing offense racked up a mediocre 6.8 yards per passing attempt. Kenny Stills was brought in to help improve that number but I’m not sure that he is the long term answer. I think a playmaking running back or another speedy wide receiver should be on the list of needs for the Dolphins.

Will the Rams make a splash during the NFL Draft; in anticipation of moving back to Los Angeles? – Mike Barnes via Facebook (

The only type of trade that would garner “splash” level notoriety would be one for a top level quarterback like Drew Brees or Philip Rivers. I think that the Saints and Chargers, respectively, would be open to trading their franchise signal callers but I am unsure if the Rams are willing to pay the price of SEVERAL 1st round picks. My guess is that the Rams stay put and draft the best player available to stay competitive in the NFC West.

November 7

4HFAdavantages Top 5 NFL Receiving Cores

Four Home Field Advantage’s

Top 5 Receiving Cores in the NFL

This is a breakdown of our 5 best receiving cores in the league right now. It’s based on Chemistry, Effectiveness, and stats. These 5 receiving cores are:

1. Denver Broncos

WR’s: Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders TE: Julius Thomas

This Receiving Corps may be the best one Manning has had since he’s been in Denver and with a superstar receiver in Demaryius Thomas it has given Peyton his best target since Reggie Wayne. The emergence of Emmanuel Sanders has helped ease the loss of Wes Welker and thus this offense hasn’t skipped a beat.

2. Indianapolis Colts

WR’s: Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks TE: Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen

2014 may Andrew Luck’s best year yet, and with TY Hilton getting better as Andrew grows as a QB and time goes on this will be a tandem to watch. The addition of Hakeem Nicks will enable Hilton to work his magic on intermediate or deep routes, while Reggie Wayne has found his comfort zone after a devastating ACL injury which caused him to miss 9 games last season. The tight end duo of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener has made this offense around Luck even more lethal. Overall this receiving core may be the reason to pick Indy as a dark horse to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 49

3. Chicago Bears

WR’s: Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffry, Marquess Wilson TE: Martellous Bennett

Chicago’s Receivers may be number 1 on this list if Jay Cutler was more consistent and not so streaky and inconsistent in 2014. Marshall and Jeffry’s Deep threat and red zone ability alone is scary for defenses. Marquess Wilson the 6’4 receiver is in his second year and adds more height and danger towards opposing defenses, While Martellous Bennett stretches the middle of the field.

4. Atlanta Falcons

WR’s: Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas TE: Levine Toilolo

The injury bug hit this team harder than a Tsunami at Niagara falls and thus mainly has led to a disappointing 2014 season. Jones was on a record breaking pace before breaking his foot last season, but has still remained Matt Ryan’s go-to-guy. Roddy nagging injuries caused him to have a below average season. Harry Douglas had a career year in 2013 becoming Matt Ryan’s only reliable target during the absences of White and Jones, He stepped up and at times showed talent that Atlanta knew he had when they drafted him in 2008, but his 2014 has been marred by injuries . Second year tight end Levine Toilolo has big shoes to fill after the retirement of the great Tony Gonzalez, but has worked out as planned his targets are few and far in between.


5. Washington Redskins

WR’s: DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts TE: Jordan Reed

Robert Griffin has missed a good portion of the season with a broken ankle, but Cousins and McCoy have found ways to get these weapons they have the football. Garcon may still be the go-to-guy but Jackson is still getting his targets down the field, Andre Roberts has been their check down receiver in the slot. Jordan Reed’s ability to get down the field and get open may puzzle defenses, and may get him more catches down the stretch.

October 20

4HFAdavantages Top 5 NFL young pass rushers

The Young and Furious 5

These are the Top 5 pass rushers in the NFL with 5 years or less experience. These young guys know how to get to the QB with speed, strength, power and sheer will. This top 5 consists of:

1. J.J. Watt DE/ Houston Texans – This mammoth 6’5 beast has all the characteristics you look for in a pass rusher.  He has size, power, agility, and great vision up the field. Watt has recorded 37.5 sacks in his first 3 seasons in the league and he’s just getting started.  So stick around and see what this guy has up his sleeve.

2. Aldon Smith OLB/ San Francisco 49ers – Smith may have the best god given ability out of this group.  However, with all of the off the field distractions, he may not reach his full potential in this league.  His 42 sacks were among the top 3 in the league since he was drafted in 2011. If his character issues take a back seat to his talent then WATCH OUT!

3. Von Miller OLB/ Denver Broncos – Von Miller has silenced all of his critics that said he was drafted too high in the 2011 draft. His monstrous 2012 season (18.5 sacks) put him officially on the map as one of the best pass rushers in the league. His injuries and suspensions has set him back the last 2 seasons but Miller is on the road to redemption in 2014.

4. Robert Quinn DE/St. Louis Rams- Quinn is one of the more underrated pass rushers in the league. He is part of one of the most talented defensive lines in the NFL along with Chris Long and Michael Brockers. Quinn's sack total may be through the roof before his career is said and done.

5. Ndamukong Suh DT/ Detroit Lions- This guy is one of the most feared and hated players in the league today. Since making a splash his rookie season by winning rookie of the year and making the pro bowl, Suh continues to punish QB’s and opposing linemen.  His playing style is unmatched and at times a little rough, but his work ethic may earn him a trip to Canton.

(Article by Antwon “Smitty” Smith of 4 Home Field Advantage)

August 29


Top Heisman Candidates for 2014

The 2014 Heisman race is going to be an interesting one, but the competition may be a bit too strong for Winston to repeat. Here are my top 5 candidates for the upcoming football season:

1. Marcus Mariota QB Oregon -2013 stats, QB rating 167.7 3,665 pass yards 31 TD 4 int, 715 rushing yards 9 TD

This 6'4 220 pound Junior QB could have been the #1 pick in last May's draft, but chose to come back for 1 more year at Oregon. He was a Heisman front- runner for most of the 2013 season until the Ducks dropped 2 of 3 late in the season, with key losses to @Stanford and @Arizona Mariota struggled to get his team going in both contests. But with expectations through the roof for 2014 Mariota has a chance to bring the Heisman back to Eugene, Oregon.

2. Jameis Winston QB Florida State- 2013 stats, QB rating 184.8 4,057 40 TD 10 int, 219 rushing yards 4 TD

2013 was one of the best seasons in FSU's storied history, bringing home their first national championship since 1999. Winston's offseason was anything but memorable, he had a couple lapses during this time frame.  After his duties as a baseball pitcher, he plans to lead the Noles to the first ever playoff series in Division I. Will his off the field problems loom large when its time to cast ballots or can he overcome those obstacles with another dynamic season? The outcome is left up to him.

3. Todd Gurley III RB Georgia – 2013 stats, 989 rushing yards 10 TD, 37 Receptions 441 receiving yards 6 TD

The word around Athens is that he's the best thing since Garrison Hearst, and that he has a chance to be one of the greatest to ever run between the hedges. Last season could have been more special for Gurley hadn't it been for nagging injuries, which made last season more amazing. Gurley totaled more than 1,400 yards and scored 16 times in only 10 games, which makes the question if healthy, can he lead the Bulldogs to the Promised Land and bring home the hardware or will his work load be too heavy to carry?

4. Brett Hundley QB UCLA – 2013 stats, QB rating 153.7 3,071 passing yards 24 passing TD, 748 rushing yards 11 TD

This young QB has NFL ready talent and only has room to improve. After 2 years on the job and gaining grasp of the offense, Hundley's poised to lead the bruins to a strong season. His strong arm and uncanny ability to move the ball down the field has him on the radar to be a top 5 pick in the 2015 draft. He will have scouts and GM's drooling at next years combine.

5. Bryce Petty QB Baylor- 2013 stats, QB rating 174.3 4,200 passing yards 32 TD 3 int, 209 rushing yards 14 TD

Petty and the Baylor Bears were one of the highest scoring teams in Division I football last season scoring a crazy 52.4 PPG last season. Petty waited behind RGIII before getting his chance to shine and he took full advantage of it. The Bears and Petty are aiming at putting up numbers again in 2014, but can their defense hold up their end on the field? If so Petty may be the dark horse of all the candidates to win the Heisman.


August 26

5 Can't Miss Guidelines to Winning Your Fantasy Football League

By: Michael Levell (@4HFAdvantage)

Football is back!  That also means that fantasy football is back as well.  New fantasy football players are joining each year and they often make the same beginners mistakes.  Below is a list of pointers, from a six time Fantasy Football winner, to take your league by storm.

1. Read and Review the Rules of the League

Once you join a fantasy football league, the first thing to do (after creating an awesome team name of course) is read the league rules and scoring format.  Fantasy leagues are like fingerprints.  They may look the same but each one can be very different.  It is because of those differences that I have seen a great fantasy draft become meaningless.  Look for whether or not your league gives Points per Reception (PPR) or has a waiver period.  These minor intricacies can determine if you win it all or not.

2. Don't Draft a Defense, or a Kicker, Until the Final Two Rounds

I don't care if it is the Seattle Seahawks defense, it is never a good decision to draft a defense/special teams until the end of the draft.  Take last year for example.  Seattle was the #1 defense (195 points) and was usually the 1st DEF/ST drafted.  However, the Carolina Panthers were the #2 defense (185 points) and they went undrafted in most formats.  There isn't much of a difference between the two teams; except one is usually reached for in the draft.  Don't be that guy.

 A kicker is often dropped during bye weeks and you don't want to hold a bench spot for a 1-week backup kicker.  Ignore the itch to draft Blair Walsh in the 10th round if at all possible.  He is available that late for a reason.

3. A Top Tier Running Back is more valuable than a Top Tier Quarter Back

With video game-like statistics being put up by elite quarterbacks, the temptation has been to take a quarterback high in the 1st round.  While that may not be a bad idea, there tends to be more quarterback value in the middle rounds; where you can find the likes of Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Nick Foles.  Each one of those quarterbacks has talent around them and a system that fits what they do.  Now, compare that with the scarce elite NFL running back situation.  Elite running backs are difficult to come by and more teams are deploying a platoon of running backs.  This means that once the top running backs are off the board, then you would then have to consider goal line backs and backups to injury-prone starters.  Getting an elite back like LeSean McCoy is better than settling for Le'Veon Bell or Zac Stacy.

4. Don't Allow Your Professional Team Loyalty to Cloud Your Judgment

I am an Atlanta Falcons fan and I truly despise the New Orleans Saints.  In view of the foregoing, that does not mean that I would ever pass on drafting Drew Brees or Jimmy Graham.  Don't let your real team allegiance damage your opportunity to achieve fantasy greatness.  Even if you don't want to root for a rival player/team, you can easily trade an elite rival for a suitable replacement that may have been gone before you could draft them.

5. Stay Calm During Runs On One Position

Often times, owners panic when they see several players, of the same position, come off the board.  Watching Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and A.J. Green get drafted, in succession, is a rough experience. You must not panic!  When a run on one position occurs, you don't have to follow suit.  Such a run will usually open the door to get a higher rated player from another position.  You may have missed out on Brandon Marshall but be happy that everybody passed on Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis.

August 7

32 Players (not named Johnny Manziel) to Watch during the 2014 NFL Preseason

By: Michael Levell (@4HFAdvantage)

Football is back!  Yes, I know that it is just preseason but it we were all still anxiously awaiting its return.  In view of the foregoing, here are 32 players from 32 teams that you can keep an eye out for this 2014 preseason.

49ers: MLB Chris Boreland 

With an injury to Navarro Bowman, Boreland is poised, with a good preseason, to steal a starting spot next to Patrick Willis.

Bears: RB Ka'Deem Carey 

Matt Forte' is the starter but Carey has the talent to gain some carries as a short-yardage and goal-line back.

Bengals: DE Margus Hunt 

Margus Hunt has always had the talent but he lacked the football acumen.  Going into his second year, I hope to see him produce when given the opportunity.

Bills: WR Robert Woods

I am unconcerned with the presence of newly acquired wide out, Mike Williams.  Robert Woods is a better route runner and has better hands.  He should prove his worth during the preseason.

Broncos: RB C.J. Anderson 

Montee Ball will be out until the start of the season and Hillman has never been consistent.  Anderson has a chance to leap up in the depth chart.

Browns: CB Pierre Desir 

Many people will be watching Justin Gilbert and "Johnny Football" but Desir is interesting.  Due to his long arms and tall frame, he may be an even better fit for bump and run coverage than Gilbert.

Buccaneers: TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins 

With opposing defense's attention turned to the edges, Sefarian-Jenkins can dominate between the numbers with his 6-6, 265 lbs. stature.

Cardinals: S Deone Bucannon 

The word out of camp is that Bucannon will see time on the field as a nickel linebacker.  He is big enough but is he ready for the positional challenge?

Chargers: OLB Melvin Ingram 

We have been waiting over two years for Ingram to stay on the field and show his playmaking ability.  Will this be the year he finally breaks out?

Chiefs: TE Travis Kelce 

The Chiefs need more production from their tight end position and Kelce is the most talented.

Colts: WR/KR Donte Moncrief 

Moncrief is 6'2", 220 lbs., and runs a 4.4 forty yard dash.  The Colts will look to get the ball into his hands early and often.  Besides, you have to expect that Hakeem Nicks will get injured sooner or later.

Cowboys: CB B.W. Webb 

Morris Claiborne is growing into a bust and the only position that is open is the nickel back spot.  Webb is Claiborne's best competition.

Dolphins: OLB/DE Dion Jordan 

With a four game suspension looming, Jordan still has the preseason to showcase his "refined" skills.

Eagles: OLB/DE Marcus Smith 

The Philadelphia faithful booed him when he was drafted but he can now show them why he was drafted.

Falcons: WR/KR/PR Bernard Reedy

Reedy is already becoming a fan favorite with his speed and competitiveness.  With the release of Darius Johnson and the unavailability of Drew Davis, "Speedy" Reedy has a shot to make the 53 man roster.

Giants: RB Andre Williams 

Rashad Jennings is the starter but he is a journeyman; and Williams (5-11,230 lbs.) is the tougher runner between the two.

Jaguars: QB Blake Bortles 

Bortles has a big arm and I just want to see him "let it fly".

Jets: WR Stephen Hill 

I don't think Eric Decker is a true number one receiver.  I will be looking for Stephen Hill to make great strides this year.

Lions: OLB Kyle Van Noy 

In college, Kyle Van Noy could cover and rush the passer with ease.  If he can do it in the NFL, then the Lions defense will become very unpredictable.

Packers: S Sean Richardson 

The Packers have not had a playmaker at the safety position since Charles Woodson left.  Green Bay feels that Richardson could fill that role because of his knack for getting interceptions in training camp.

Panthers: DE Kony Ealy 

With a Greg Hardy suspension on the horizon, Kony Ealy could become an early pass rush specialist.

Patriots: OLB Donta' Hightower 

Hightower has always struggled with pass coverage but can he find a way to become a playmaker without that skill?

Raiders: OLB Khalil Mack 

With college finally behind him, it's time to see if Mack can shine against better competition.  

Rams: DT Aaron Donald 

Can Donald use his strength and speed to make the Rams defensive line one of the most feared in the NFL?

Ravens: OLB Courtney Upshaw 

Upshaw has yet to make an impact by rushing the passer.  I'm starting to wonder if he ever will.

Redskins: QB Robert Griffin III 

RGIII has gotten everything that he has wanted this offseason.  The pressure is now on him to deliver.  All of that starts with developing chemistry with his receivers.

Saints: WR Brandon Cooks 

Cooks is "lightning in a bottle".  So his development will be pivotal in replacing Darren Sproles' production.

Seahawks: MLB Brock Coyle 

With Bobby Wagner recovering from a hamstring injury, Coyle could be the next undrafted free agent to start for the Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Steelers: RB Dri Archer 

Archer has speed and quickness.  A lot of it!

Texans: OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney 

Do I really need to explain why I will be watching Clowney?

Titans: OLB/DE Derrick Morgan 

Morgan is considered a bust as a defensive end.  Maybe he can change that by switching to a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Vikings: WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Patterson showed the league plenty of talent last year.  He is my offensive breakout candidate for this season.

July 10

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the NBA Draft

By: Michael Levell (@4HFAdvantage)

Good: Isaiah Austin being a ceremonial draft pick by the NBA

The NBA made Isaiah Austin an honorary draft choice after he discovered that his illness would force him to retire from the game he excelled at.  Austin, just days before his NBA dreams could be realized, discovered that he has Marfan syndrome.  This genetic disorder could cause serious problems for Austin if he continues to play basketball.  Silver knew Austin's story and wanted to honor his dream.  Adam Silver is a class act for this gesture.  One has to wonder if David Stern would have done the same thing.

Bonus: Adreian Payne continuing to honor Lacey "Princess Lacy" Holsworth

From the moment that Michigan State standout, Adreian Payne, met Lacey Holsworth, they became instant friends.  Payne grew close to Holsworth by honoring her with his time and energy while she battled Neuroblastoma.  Neuroblastoma is a cancer that was discovered while Holsworth was dancing in 2011. Now, even after she passed away in early April, Payne has continued to honor "Princess Lacy".  The NBA draft is a huge individual accomplishment and being selected in the first round means even more.   Despite the spotlight being on Payne and his victory, he still chose to pay his respects to the life of Holsworth by wearing a bracelet that reminds him of her, matching his suit to that bracelet, and inviting her mom to sit with him at the NBA draft.  It is good to see young men truly invest more than charitable funds to something they are passionate about.

Bad: Bill Simmons commentary

I like to watch Grantland on YouTube but Simmons does not belong on ESPN.  He comes off as a fan that is illogical and emotional.  Neither of those qualities is needed when you are reporting during a sporting event.  Sometimes I wonder if ESPN is only keeping Simmons because they don't want to lose the more talented Jalen Rose.  Either way, his reactions and statements, made during the 2014 NBA Draft, was mostly irrelevant and overly dramatic.

Ugly: Everything that was surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers' #10 draft pick

A year after drafting the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter Williams, and nailing a trade for backup point guard Tony Wroten, the Sixers shocked their fan base by drafting another point guard.  Shocked was also the reaction that Michael Carter-Williams had when quickly met with a microphone and camera shoved into his face.  Carter-Williams, the Sixers player with the most prestige, addressed if he would be traded live on television.  He handled himself as well as a young player could; but the situation was noticeably uncomfortable for him.  The Sixers never had any intention on keeping their newly drafted point guard, Elfrid Payton, because they traded him for the #12 draft pick, Dario Saric.  Saric is talented but he is just another player that won't suit up, anytime soon, for this struggling Sixers' team.  Philadelphia made the #10 pick into a sideshow of stupidity. 

May 30

IS the Logo right?

Jerry West, "The Logo", recently made news by saying that he's not thrilled with the upcoming NBA Draft class. In so many words, West doesn't feel there are any franchise guys in this draft, and that the full potential of the upper echelon of this draft class is a big IF.  In contrast, the rest of the world, including new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, is excited about this crop of alleged mega talent. However, does "The Logo" have a point? Maybe so! 

Who remembers when Grant Hill and Jason Kidd stood "head and shoulders" above the rest of their draft class? Who remembers guys like Allen Iverson and Ray Allen being projected as future hall of famers before even stepping on a NBA court? I can honestly say, as much as I want Jerry West to be wrong, I think he may have a valid point.  Who am I to question one of the best talent evaluators of all-time? As a matter of fact, who are you to question him? 

Speaking of questioning, let's see can we find some answers to the Logo's concerns:

Currently, Joel Embid is the number one pick within most mock drafts and some scouts compare him to Akeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan.

Personally, I see a Brad Daugherty type of player; and that's if he reaches his full potential. By the way, to the "genius" that works for NBA, you decided to make it appear as if there is a drastic difference between Hakeem and Akeem.  I salute you and hope you are fired soon. Nonetheless, could someone of the same scope as Brad Daugherty build you a dynasty? History would tell us no because Brad Daugherty could not get past "good old" #23 of the Chicago Bulls.


Jabari Parker is listed as the number two pick in most NBA mock drafts and he is compared to Carmelo Anthony.Time has told us that 11-year veteran, Carmelo Anthony, is a scoring machine with limited defensive ability and he has been out of the first round of the playoffs only three times. Currently, there are many NBA front offices questioning if Melo is a franchise guy. What does that comparison say about Parker?

The most interesting guy, however, in this year's mock draft is Andrew Wiggins. Before the season, he was compared to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant; but most recently he has been downgraded to Rudy Gay What a fall from grace young man!

Another intriguing player in this upcoming draft is Julius Randle. Randle is being compared to Derrick Coleman.  Personally, I see a more polished version of Zack Randolph at 19 years old.  Nevertheless, both Coleman and Randolph are talented guys that fizzled out too soon. Also, both players had weight issues as they progressed further into their careers.

My last, but not least, "uber" talent is Marcus Smart.Some mock drafts compare him to Dwayne Wade while others compare him to Jason Kidd.

I even saw  a mock draft that compared him to both! Is that really possible?  Nonetheless, those are big shoes to fill.  A lot of Smart's shortcomings are being played out on the court.  The more I watch Smart, I see similarities to Aaron Affalo on the low-end and D. Wade on the high-end.

All the NBA comparisons, of these young prospects, had solid-to-good careers but none became franchise players.  Each draft prospect may become only a piece of the puzzle. Maybe the Logo is correct in his observation and maybe fans shouldn't fall in love with names we think are great.


May 26

#4HFA NFL Draft Prospect Review: Atlanta Falcons

By: Michael Levell (@4HFAdvantage)

(1st Round Pick 6)

Jake Matthews (6'5" – 308 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Joe Staley

Lowest NFL Comparison: Anthony Collins

Matthews was the most technically sound offensive tackle in the NFL draft.  While prospects like Taylor Lewan and Greg Robinson have a higher upside, Matthews is the only one that is able to start immediately.  Matthews won't "wow" you with athleticism but he seems to be sound enough to get the job done.


(2nd Round Pick 37)

Ra'Shede Hageman (DE 6'6" – 310 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Justin Smith

Lowest NFL Comparison: Albert Haynesworth

Atlanta needed to add talent to their pass rush but nobody expected them to look at the mammoth-sized Hageman.  Hageman has never lived up to his talent and skill level in college; but his dominant flashes are amazing.  If he can develop more pass rush moves (he only uses a bull rush) and consistently show good leverage, then Atlanta may have found the most versatile defensive lineman since JJ Watt.


(3rd Round Pick 68)

Dezmen Southward (FS 6'0" – 211 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Quintin Demps

Lowest NFL Comparison: Malcolm Jenkins

Due to the departure of Thomas DeCoud, the Falcons needed to acquire some safety talent.  Southward has that talent but it was an extreme reach to select him in the 3rd round.  The former projected 6th round  prospect has plenty of athleticism and toughness but his lack of ball skills is an extreme concern.  He may never become the playmaker the Falcons need but they hope that he will become a solid starter.


(4th Round Pick 103)

Devonta Freeman (RB 5'8" – 206 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Ray Rice

Lowest NFL Comparison: Justin Forsett

Freeman is not a "homerun" speed-back or a "sledgehammer" power-back, but he may develop into THE BEST running back from this draft class.  The former Florida State University tailback has very good vision and he uses his blocks well.  He doesn't break many tackles or run away from defenders but he has a knack for collecting positive yardage with explosive lateral agility and tremendous balance.  Throw in the natural pass catching ability and the all-out effort in pass protection and you can see why he fits in with Atlanta as an all-purpose running back.


(4th Round Pick 139)

Prince Shembo (OLB 6'1" – 253 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Brandon Graham

Lowest NFL Comparison: Erik Walden

This year, the focus has been Atlanta's pass rush but they also needed a severe boost in their run defense.  Shembo has good strength and toughness to set the edge when playing against the run.  Nevertheless, he is too slow and short to make a consistent impact.  At the minimum, he will provide depth to an already thin linebacker group.


(5th Round Pick 147)

Ricardo Allen (CB 5'9 – 187 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Tim Jennings

Lowest NFL Comparison: Nickell Robey

Allen did not have a good Combine and his measurables are not ideal.  However, his college production and game tape cannot be ignored.  Allen is a playmaker that can turn turnovers into points.  He has a natural ability to time his jumps to overcome his lack of height and he doesn't back down from a challenge.  If he works hard in the NFL, like he did in college, then Allen can become a valuable piece to a team that needs corners to battle multiple wide receiver sets.


(5th Round Pick 168)

Marquis Spruill (ILB 6'1 – 231 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: DeMario Davis

Lowest NFL Comparison: Akeem Dent

Spruill is an athletic linebacker that has a "seek-and-destroy" mentality.  He shows natural bend when trying to get into the backfield and is a tenacious blitzer.  While that sounds great for the Falcons' depth, Spruill has below average instincts and he struggles to disengage from blockers.  He will need to prove himself worthy as a special team's player before he can see any real playing time with the defense.


(7th Round Pick 253)

Yawin Smallwood (OLB 6'2" – 246 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Dannell Ellerbe

Lowest NFL Comparison: Perry Riley

BARGAIN PICK!  Smallwood is an athletic linebacker with an impressive college resume.  He rushes the passer well; and covers tight ends and running backs with fluidity. Despite his horrendous combine numbers, Smallwood is regarded as a rare instinctive, all-purpose linebacker.  If he can learn to stack and shed blockers and consistently tackle with form, then he may become a long-term Atlanta Falcon.


(7th Round Pick 255)

Tyler Starr (OLB 6'4" – 250 lbs):

Highest NFL Comparison: Quentin Groves

Lowest NFL Comparison: Antwan Barnes

When you are redefining a defense, adding athleticism and versatility is never a bad thing.  Acquiring a player that played defensive end, outside linebacker, and some cornerback in college "fits the bill".  At the combine, Starr scored extremely well in drills measuring agility, fluidity, and quickness.  He plays too high and is extremely raw but he is a must watch player in the upcoming preseason.

April 28

Teddy Bridgewater's Stock is Falling!

#4HFA breaks down why Bridgewater's stock may be crashing before the 2014 NFL Draft

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