'Spoon Drawing Raves In Atlanta

Sean Weatherspoon. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I really hate to be a downer on an absolutely gorgeous Friday afternoon, but a story caught my attention earlier today and I figured it might get some of you worked up.

Remember leading up to the draft how Sean Weatherspoon was a guy many of you were begging the Giants to grab with their first-round selection? Of course, we know the Giants went with Jason Pierre-Paul.

Many figured 'Spoon was too flashy, had a little too much diva in him and might be a 'tweener who would not have a real position with the Giants.

Well, 'Spoon ended up with Atlanta just a few picks after the Giants took JPP. And the Falcons are absolutely loving him.

Based on the raves he's drawn from the likes of 10-time Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez and third-year quarterback Matt Ryan, Weatherspoon is the Falcons' un-rookie. His veteran teammates love the bravado and playmaking the 19th overall selection out of Missouri has instilled into the team, whether lining up on the strong side, weak side or in nickel coverage. Weatherspoon's speed, range and passion have added what Gonzalez calls a needed swagger to a 21st-ranked defense.

Word at the Senior Bowl was that Weatherspoon ran his mouth as fast as he tracked down ballcarriers with 4.6-second speed over 40 yards. Some personnel evaluators were turned off. Not Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

"There was a lot of talk about Sean being overly loud," Dimitroff says. "We talked about being more urgent and faster as a defense. We want guys who have that evolving swagger.

"Spoon adds an element we didn't have last year."

Weatherspoon is a hit-and-run trash talker who adds the right mix of audacity to a defense led by weakside linebacker Mike Peterson and defensive end John Abraham.

"We're trying to win a championship," Weatherspoon says. "We feel like we have the pieces. There's a sense of urgency. Guys are hungry and ready to attack."

During a goal-line drill in sweltering heat, 5-10, 244-pound running back Michael Turner burst through the hole only to meet his defensive mirror, 6-2, 245-pound Weatherspoon. When Weatherspoon slammed into a pile of linemen, left tackle Sam Baker took exception, and punches were exchanged.

"I've never seen a rookie defensive guy come in like Spoon," Gonzalez says. "Just his whole swagger, it's going to help us a lot."

It's much too soon to say the Giants made a mistake passing over Weatherspoon. If Jerry Reese had a do-over, though, would you be screaming for him to grab 'Spoon? Or, are you happy with Pierre-Paul?

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