Archive for April, 2011

Falcons select DE Cliff Matthews in the 7th round

North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson, left, is chased down by South Carolina's Cliff Matthews during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. South Carolina won 7-3. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson, left, is chased down by South Carolina's Cliff Matthews during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. South Carolina won 7-3. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Name: Cliff Matthews (7th round, 230)

Size: 6-3, 257

College: South Carolina

Position: Defensive end

His production: He played weakside linebacker as a freshman, making nine starts and playing in 12 games. He started all 13 games as a sophomore at defensive end. He started 11 of 13 games as a junior and started all 14 games last season. He finished his career with 15.5 sacks.

The skinny: He was a team captain. He was nicknamed “The Exposer” by coaches for the tendency to expose other’s lack of effort. He was the 21st rated defensive end in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.  He’s considered a high-energy player, who needs to get stronger in the weight room.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get …

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Falcons select OG Andrew Jackson in the 7th round

Andrew Jackson was considered a top flight prospect before suffering an ankle injury.

Andrew Jackson was considered a top flight prospect before suffering an ankle injury.

Name: Andrew Jackson (7th round, 210)

Size: 6-5, 297

College: Fresno State

His production: He missed nine games last season with an ankle injury. He played in only three games and the East-West Shrine Game. He was an all-WAC pick and first team all-Academic All-American as a junior. He was on the line that helped pave the way for running back Ryan Matthews, who led the nation in rushing in 2009.

The skinny: He was the 15th rated guard in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. “Might even become a starter for a gritty, try-hard offensive line such as that of the Falcons, Patriots or Chiefs,” wrote Nolan Nawrocki in Pro Football Weekly’s 2011 draft preview.

INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW JACKSON TODAY

ON WHEN GOT THE CALL: “I was walking around with some friends at an outdoor market. We got in the truck to head home and I got the call. I was just excited as heck about it.”

ON HIS ANKLE INJURY:

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Falcons select P Matt Bosher in the 6th round

Miami kicker Matt Bosher (25) kicks a field goal as quarterback Spencer Whipple holds during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida A&M, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Miami kicker Matt Bosher (25) kicks a field goal as quarterback Spencer Whipple holds during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida A&M, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Name: Matt Bosher    (6th round, 192nd)

Size: 6-0, 207

College: Miami

His production: He handled kickoffs and punts for the Hurricanes. He converted 84.7 percent of his field goal attempts.  He had six career punts blocked. He played in 50 games for the Hurricanes. As a punter, he put 70-of-234 attempts inside the 20-yard line. He finished with a41.7-yard average per punt. He averaged at least 40 yards a punt in each of his four seasons. He had 49 punts of 50 yards or more and forced the opposition to make 82 fair catches.

The skinny: “Right-footed jack-of-all trades, master of none type who warrants a camp invite,” according to Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly. He was the sixth punter drafted by the Falcons, but the first since Harold Alexander who was …

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Falcons select RB Jacquizz Rodgers in the 5th round

Jacquizz Rodgers was a highly productive running back in the Pac-10 (Associated Press)

Jacquizz Rodgers was a highly productive running back in the Pac-10 (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons continued their theme of moving up in the draft to select a player on Saturday.

They traded away their fifth round pick (158th overall) and one of their seventh round picks (229) to move up 13 spots to select Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers.

Here’s the book on Rodgers:

FALCONS PICK: 5th round, 145 overall (18th running back selected)

Name: Jacquizz Rodgers

Size: 5-6, 198

College: Oregon State

His production: He rushed for 8,245 yards and 136 touchdowns over his storied high school career in Richmond, Texas. Rodgers finished his career ranked second all-time in Texas high school history with 41 100-yard rushing games. He also had 21 200-yard games. He splashed onto the national scene when he helped to power the Beavers over Southern California, 27-21, when they were ranked No. 1 in the nation.  He ran the ball 37 times for 186 yards and scored two …

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Akeem Dent was elated to be drafted by the Falcons

Falcons third-round pick Akeem Dent at the team's facilities Saturday morning. Rookies are allowed to visit until the draft is completed. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons third-round pick Akeem Dent at the team's facilities Saturday morning. Rookies are allowed to visit until the draft is completed. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCHAkeem Dent recognized the area code when it flashed on the screen of his phone.

He knew the 770 met he had a local call and well there’s only one team in the NFL with a 770 area code.

“I picked up the phone and I was talking to Arthur Blank and then the head coach,” said Dent, the Atlanta native and former Georgia standout from Douglass High.  “It was unbelievable.”

The Falcons used their third-round pick to select Dent, 91st overall, in the NFL draft late Friday.

He was a Falcons’ fan for as long as he came remember.

“I’ve been here my whole life,” Dent said. “I’m proud of this team.”

His favorite player is former linebacker Jessie Tuggle, who was also a linebacker from a state school (Valdosta State).

“When he first came in, he was one of those guys they said was under-sized,” …

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Video: Here’s a look at Akeem Dent

Continue reading Video: Here’s a look at Akeem Dent »

This Julio Jones kid has some style (Nice bow tie!)

Julio Jones styling and profiling with that sporty bow tie in New York last night. (Stephen Chernin, Associated Press)

Julio Jones styling and profiling with that sporty bow tie in New York last night. (Stephen Chernin, Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Julio Jones was the sharpest player at the NFL draft with that nice bow tie.

Shows that the newest Falcons has some class. (Of course I’m partial to the bow tie look).

Did a little investigative work and discovered that it’s a legit bow tie, too. Not one of those clip-ons you wore to your high school prom.

We’ll be chatting live with Jones today around 5 p.m.

But here are some excerpts from his chat with the media late last night:

ON BEING SELECTED BY THE FALCONS: “I’m really grateful for what they did, to trade up to get me. I really can’t explain it right now. It took me by surprise that they traded up to get me. I feel like they have a lot of trust in me and I am not going to disappoint.”

ON PLAYING WITH RODDY WHITE: “It’s great. I love it, going in and trying to take some of the pressure off of Roddy White. When I went through the …

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Move up could cost the Falcons $38.5 million

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities today in Flowery Branch. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Kevin Winston, the Falcons' senior director of player development, welcomes Julio Jones to the team's facilities today in Flowery Branch. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

BIRDLAND –  Not only did the Falcons make a bold and aggressive move in terms of draft picks.

They will feel the trade up 21 spots to get Julio Jones in the wallet.

The difference between what the 27th  and 6th picks were paid last season was a whopping $38.5 million.

Seattle took Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick last year. He signed a six-year contract that was worth $48.5 million. A total of $30 million of the deal was guaranteed.

New England chose Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty and signed him to a five-year, $10 million contract. A total of $7.825 million was guaranteed.

If the teams operate under the 2010 rules for this draft, Jones’ contract would be in the Okung range.

Now, if there is a new collective bargaining agreement in place soon with a rookie-wage scale, …

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Video: Did the Falcons mortgage the future for Jones?

Continue reading Video: Did the Falcons mortgage the future for Jones? »

Falcons make trade for Alabama WR Julio Jones

Alabama's Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia's Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Alabama's Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia's Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff pulled off a major shocker, trading up into the first round to select wide receiver Julio Jones.

The Falcons reportedly sent their first, second and fourth round picks along with next seasons’ first round pick to move up 21 spots.

Here is Jones’ bio:

Julio Jones, Alabama, 6-3, 221: He is from Foley, Ala. He set school records with 194 catches, 3,287 yards and 43 touchdowns at Foley High. He was rated the No. 1 receiver in the nation by rivals.com and scout.com. He signed with Alabama over Florida State, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.  As a freshman, he led the Crimson Tide with 58 catches. He also had 924 yards receiving and four touchdowns. In his sophomore season, Jones battled through a string of …

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