Change of Course in Falcons Draft Philosophy

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - A year ago, the Atlanta Falcons had no qualms about giving up draft picks. They felt the team was just a veteran or two away from contending for a Super Bowl championship.

But after another late-season collapse, which cost coach Jim Mora his job, there is a change of philosophy going into this year's draft.

General manager Rich McKay is now determined to rebuild his roster with young players. Atlanta has accumulated ten picks in this weekend's draft, seven of them in the first four rounds.

They bolstered their position by trading backup quarterback Matt Schaub to Houston, moving up two spots to eighth overall and getting an extra second-round pick.

Much of the pre-draft speculation centers on the Falcons coming up with some kind of package to move up even more Saturday, giving them a shot at Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson.

But besides receiver, the team needs major help on the offensive and defensive lines, as well as safety.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)