3. Atlanta. QB Matt Ryan, Boston College. Did everyone get the hint nine days ago when Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff borrowed owner Arthur Blank's G-4 jet for the day and took coach Mike Smith over to Baton Rouge for a love-in with Dorsey ... and then Dorsey visited the Falcons' facility last week to see everyone else in the organization?
How's this for a surprise: I say Atlanta will take Ryan even if Dorsey's on the board. Then everyone will say it was the owner's pick. Not so. With Dimitroff's background in football, I'm convinced he'd never have taken this job if he felt Blank's heavy hand on his shoulder for the first pick. It's logical to think Blank wants Ryan for the billboard-on-I-85 factor. But if this pick is Ryan, it will be because Dimitroff and Smith think it's best for the franchise.
Now for Ryan. My buddy Don "Donnie Brasco'' Banks is always telling me how gullible I am. Brasco likes baseball, and I called him a couple of years ago after seeing Juan Acevedo pitch in a spring-training game and told him, "Juan Acevedo's gonna win 15 games this year.'' He didn't come close. I admit to getting sucked in a bit by players I like. So write this down, you who keep records of how badly I screw up predictions: Matt Ryan is going to be a star in the NFL. You can feel it being around him -- he's got that I-won't-be-denied demeanor Peyton Manning had 10 years ago. He's got a plus arm, he knows how to get players around him to play better, and he loves having the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
A couple thoughts:
1. Consistent with his pattern of relying upon entirely subjective, fuzzy reasoning when it comes to all matters Matt Ryan, Peter King thinks that Matt Ryan is going to be a star because "you can feel it being around him" and he apparently has Peyton Manning's demeanor. You know what else Peyton Manning had, Peter? Good stats. A productive college offense. He did not provoke universal reactions of "meh" from everyone who watched him play in college.
2. Here's my concern about the Arthur Blank dynamic here. If we are all assuming that Blank wants to take Ryan because he is smitten with the young man (and Blank's affections for his franchise quarterbacks have always led to such good results; why can't he be the jilted lover who gets burned by a cheating spouse and vows to never date again?) or because he wants to do so for marketing purposes (because what more would an African-American-heavy fan base like more than a quarterback with the nickname "Matty Ice"?), then that presents problems for Thomas Dimitroff. If Dimitroff takes Ryan and Ryan is a bust, then Blank can always excuse the mistake by saying "I was wrong about Ryan as well." If Dimitroff takes Glenn Dorsey and Dorsey is a bust, then Blank will raise an eyebrow and say "I told you so." It's always safer to follow the boss's lead, even if the Boss is not explicit in his interference. If I were Dimitroff, I'd play off of Blank's love for Keith Brooking and sell the Dorsey pick as a pre-requisite to making Brooking a passable option at middle linebacker.
3. As if you needed any more confirmation that taking Ryan would be a bad move for the Falcons, Beau Bock heartily endorsed the move on the radio this morning because the "Falcons need a quarterback." Beau, the Falcons need a lot of things. The mere fact that you have a need does not lead to the conclusion that you should take a player about 40 picks too early because he plays a position of need.