Eric Ward, SW DeKalb High grad, signed by Falcons

Eric Ward was impressive enough at the minicamp to land a contract with the Falcons. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Eric Ward was impressive enough at the minicamp to land a contract with the Falcons. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Quarterback Eric Ward, an Atlanta native, and cornerback Daylan Walker were signed by the Falcons on Monday.

Both players received tryouts during the teams three-day, five-practice minicamp, which concluded on Sunday.

Ward, who guided Richmond to the Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) national championship in 2008, played at Southwest DeKalb High.

Ward completed 784 of 1,264 career passes for 8,969 yards and 61 touchdowns over his career at Richmond.

Last season, he passed for 2,396 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Ward also ran for 1,406 yards on 420 carres and scored 22 touchdowns.

In 2008, he set Spider single-season records in passing yards (2,808), completion percentage (64.1), attempts (359), completions (230) and touchdown passes (tied with 17).

Walker played at Arkansas State and was voted to the All-Sun Belt Conference team by the media and the coaches.

owa's Brandon Wegher, right, tries to break a tackle by Arkansas State's Daylan Walker during the third quarter of this NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 24-21.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa's Brandon Wegher, right, tries to break a tackle by Arkansas State's Daylan Walker during the third quarter of this NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 24-21. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

67 comments Add your comment

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 10th, 2010
11:13 am

QUARTERBACKS DEPTH CHART (Unofficial)

1. Matt Ryan
2. Chris Redman
3. John Parker Wilson
4. D.J. Shockley
5. Eric Ward

torgo

May 10th, 2010
11:20 am

Sweet… and I believe this brings the Falcons roster to the absolute maximum. They’ll have to cut guys in order to sign the draft picks.

Ease in Buckhead

May 10th, 2010
11:23 am

Obviously there is going to be a battle for the third spot, how do you see this shakin’ out? Does Ward have a chance given Shockley’s inability to hold it down and as another “run” threat QB? He looks good on paper!

Sebastian

May 10th, 2010
11:23 am

cue…let’s see what DJ can do with the first team…in 3..2..1

Rev Blake

May 10th, 2010
11:24 am

This Ward kid looks like a great project. I hope he makes the final roster or practice squad.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 10th, 2010
11:26 am

He threw the ball well at minicamp. Very impressive arm strength.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Eric Ward, SW DeKalb High grad, signed by Falcons http://bit.ly/bAsbFF [...]

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by D. Orlando Ledbetter and D. Orlando Ledbetter, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: @UofR_Kim Eric Ward, SW DeKalb High grad, signed by Falcons. http://bit.ly/cAf2rS [...]

Hamp

May 10th, 2010
11:35 am

Bye Bye DJ. This kid will take his practice squad spot and push JPW for the number 3. If stats don’t lie then this kid has major potential and would be a breath of fresh air.

spectator

May 10th, 2010
11:40 am

Good signing. Maybe now the Falcons can stop wasting time with Shockley. He should be 5th on the list and will never play in the NFL.

D

May 10th, 2010
11:53 am

How many corners does that give us on the team?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 10th, 2010
12:09 pm

D — There are eight now with the addition of Walker.

CORNERBACKS DEPTH CHART (Unofficial)

LCB- Dunta Robinson, Christopher Owens, Chevis Jackson and Dominique Daniels.
RCB
– Brian Williams, Brent Grimes, Dominique Franks and Daylan Walker.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 10th, 2010
12:11 pm

specator — You’re pretty tough on D.J.!

Delbert D.

May 10th, 2010
12:22 pm

That Daylan Walker is a precision tackler. He got his finger right in the ear-hole of the Iowa guy and took him down.

BLAK

May 10th, 2010
12:25 pm

DJ Shockley will be the 3rd quarterback maybe even the 2nd. Shockley keeps getting the short end of the stick. The only reason the Falcons cut him last yr was because of the money not play. Redman is not a quality backup for Ryan neither is JPW. What we need to be talking about is why the Falcons haven’t talked to T.O or John Henderson. T.O would be a great 2nd receiver and Big John will his stats speak for volumes.

kopp

May 10th, 2010
12:26 pm

Also remember that Meier was a QB at KU for several seasons – the guy has a decent arm, and could line up at H-back for some trick plays.

FDB

May 10th, 2010
12:27 pm

I don’t know why you guys are worrying about Shockley. Redman is the more likely problem. I saw enough LY. We need somebody to take #2.

AJGREENFAN

May 10th, 2010
12:33 pm

Orlando,

Reviewing your projected CB depth chart, I assume that the Falcons assume a full recovery of Brian Williams from injury. It seemed to me that Chris Owens made remarkable strides towards the end of last season. Is there a possibility that Chris Owens could be moved to RCB and compete for that starting RCB job or do the Falcons think he is still another mini-camp or two away from being an NFL starter?

AtWork

May 10th, 2010
12:37 pm

@ BLAK – You are kidding about Chris Redman right? He has been a fine 2nd to Matt Ryan. That is why they resigned him. He is ok with being a #2 and the coaching staff is as well. The reason he gets the short end of the stick is his lack of consistency. He play in preseason games has not been good. The one year he could have had a shot at it he got hurt…that is all i can think of as catching the short end at all.

Don’t sign TO. He is obviously on the decline. Check his numbers the past couple of years. Why bring in someone that could cause drama in the locker room when we have plenty of young talent that can get it done.

I am really interested to see how they play with the line backers. I don’t know if Peterson makes the cut. Same with DLine. With Jerry back, hopefully at full strenth by game time, and Lewis, little bit of a disappointment last year, what are they going to do…Anderson at DE is a mistake and at DT he is grossly overpaid.

Ready for the season! Go Falcons!

AtWork

May 10th, 2010
12:38 pm

The reason *Shockley* get the short end of the stick…

Ron Smith

May 10th, 2010
12:39 pm

Yeah that corner battle is gonna be intense. Any chance Owens sees some work at RC? Didnt he line up there last year? I cant wait to see how he develops in year 2… Also want to see Franks out there

torgo

May 10th, 2010
12:39 pm

Just checked – Ward and Walker do bring the roster to 87 total players. The offseason limit is 80 players, but drafted players don’t count until they sign their contracts. So the Falcons now have the max, and at least seven guys now listed on the roster will be gone by the start of training camp.

Brutal fact of NFL life… it’s unusual for teams to carry five QBs into training camp. Odds are that one of them gets shipped by the end of OTAs, and the most likely candidate is D.J. Once again he’ll be competing for his football life from late May through the end of June.

D-Led: what did you think of Dimitri Nance in minicamp? The competition for the # 5 offensive backfield spot will be interesting… pure RB Antone Smith, pure FB Klecko, and the Snelling-like hybrid Nance.

Rev Blake

May 10th, 2010
12:48 pm

I think Williams and Robinson will be the starters at corner. Williams played very well before getting injured. The play he got hurt on was nothing but all-out, throw-caution-to-the-wind, effort. He did an intense leap stopping a touchdown, but his horrible landing was unavoidable.

JCW_ATL

May 10th, 2010
12:48 pm

DOL, I must say that I am impress with your coverage of the Falcons, especially with the NFL Draft and Minicamp…I guess they do teach you something at the FAKE hu…

BFALCON

May 10th, 2010
12:48 pm

Do not like either signing. Live training camp dummies. The Falcons need to stop ducking the issue at the # 2 WR position. Jenkins is not getting it done and Douglass will be a question mark with the knee. The Falcons should go get P.Crayton from Dallas. They only want a 5th pick. K.Meier and B.Finneran won’t not be on the team.

JB

May 10th, 2010
12:54 pm

DJ ….a great guy….. and a damn fine Dawg……better get ready for a H.S. coaching career.
NFL loves the new flavor of the month and DJ ain’t it. Hello Mr. Ward.

JMar

May 10th, 2010
12:54 pm

Anyone who thinks Shockley is going to take the #2 spot without an injury to Ryan or Redman is delusional.

Rev Blake

May 10th, 2010
12:54 pm

Couldn’t diagree more BFALCON. Crayton is hardly the answer. The team has decided to build from the draft. It is the smartest approach. Picking up one or two starters through free agency every year has worked well for this organization. You can’t “buy” your way into a championship. Dan Snyder tried that for years. Look how it truned out for him.

Tale of Woe

May 10th, 2010
12:58 pm

DOL – That was ballsy putting Ward 5th on the QB depth chart :)

I am intrigued by that Bush kid…Any other insight you can give regarding that guy?

(hehehe – didn’t even realize that I used Ballsy and Bush in the same post)

Greg

May 10th, 2010
12:59 pm

Ward may be a real sleeper. Check out these highlights from the VMI game. Look especially at the throws at 2:35 and 3:15 into the tape: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY6OOW8OFiY

He can be very poised and accurate, even under pressure. And he has a gun.

Greg

May 10th, 2010
1:01 pm

…and at 4:20 into the tape.

On another note

May 10th, 2010
1:14 pm

Have the Hawks fired Mike yet?????

djuga

May 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

Will DJ ever develop? Should he focus on other areas of football outside of the NFL?

Jab

May 10th, 2010
1:34 pm

To Delbert D.- that comment was too funny! You have me laughing over her at work bro.

Jab

May 10th, 2010
1:34 pm

meant to say “over here” at work.

DePlane

May 10th, 2010
1:45 pm

Good Scoopage D! Thanks!

Sid

May 10th, 2010
1:58 pm

Ok, I watched the Tube, Ward shows a great arm, but man, those feet………the Peyton Manning Bosso nova………..!!

Ga Ga Ga

May 10th, 2010
2:04 pm

This basically proves the conventional wisdom around the NFL that UGA grads will, with very few exceptions, never cut it in the NFL. I don’t think it is talent they lack, but maybe they do not have the application, work ethic and intellect needed. The NFL is increasingly more sophisticated and requires much more than just brute force these days

truth

May 10th, 2010
2:35 pm

The Falcons don’t need to go looking in another teams trash can for players that has been taken out to the curve for pick-up and dumbed in the NFL has been land field.

This teams is building just that a…….TEAM.

Stirg d'Nahsif

May 10th, 2010
2:38 pm

Is Eric Ward being considered as a project at wide receiver, perhaps? He certainly has the numbers and the stats to convert. Remember Slash?

Birdhead

May 10th, 2010
2:50 pm

Did the falcons sign a free agent QB from Alcorn St or S. Carolina St some DII school. Is he on the roster.

Joey M

May 10th, 2010
3:50 pm

D.O.L. How is Harry Douglas looking this spring? Is he running yet? I think he is a lot like Joey Galloway or Wes Welker. Possession guy that can catch the ball on the run. Great speed. Can stretch out a defense.

now that's funny

May 10th, 2010
3:59 pm

Ga Ga Ga do you know how many players are on NFL rosters from UGA?

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

May 10th, 2010
4:07 pm

Wow….it appears that the coaches will definitely have some interesting players to select from this year at the end of training camp. Hopefully some of these FAs will turn out to be surprises in terms of their ability to make an impact on the team.

Question….I like DJ Shockley, but if he was “really” an NFL caliber QB, why hasn’t some other team come calling since he’s been hanging around the league and available for a few years now??????? Is it the agent that he’s using???? If he doesn’t make the Falcons again this year, hopefully someone other team will sign him….otherwise I agree with some of the earlier postings that it might be time for him to consider another career opportunity outside of the NFL.

robertussen

May 10th, 2010
4:09 pm

@birdhead hes a wr on the falcons roster

robertussen

May 10th, 2010
4:10 pm

McDawg

May 10th, 2010
4:17 pm

Shockley should go play in Canada or Europe (do they stll play football there) he forces everything in the few chances he gets during preseason just like he use to do at UGA

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 10th, 2010
4:20 pm

AJGreenFan — Yes, that is projecting a full recovery for Williams.

Ron Smith
— Owens and Grimes were alternating at the RCB spot during minicamp. Owens might end up beating out Chevis Jackson for the nickel back spot. He can cover those little quick, slot receivers.

torgo
— Nance looked good at camp. Was told to “keep an eye on that kid” by one of the personnel men.

JCW_ATL
— You’ve got jokes. Little H.I. (where my niece and Rick Mahoen went. The INSTITUTE.) There’s only one HU!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 10th, 2010
4:29 pm

Tale of Woe — Bush blended in. We’ll get another look at him during the rookie mini-camp.

Greg — Thanks for doing some youtube scouting for us. I’ll check it out later.

Stirg — He’s a QB. Shockley did run some scout team WR last year.

Birdhead — WR Tim Buckley is from Alcorn State. SS Rafael Bush is from S.C. State. Those are not Div. II schools. Alcorn State plays with the SWAC which is FCS (formerly I-AA) and S.C. State plays in the MEAC, which is also FCS.

Joey M – Harry Douglas is running. He looked good on Saturday running some cone drills. He’s not expected back until training camp.

Spud Webb

May 10th, 2010
5:39 pm

And here we go with the anual, “if DJ shockley was working with the 1st unit he’d be the starter”, priceless!!!