Falcons are hosting local talent today

 East Carolina's Dwayne Harris, of Tucker High and Stone Mountain, is headed to the combine where he can improve his NFL draft status. (Rhett Butler/Associated Press)

East Carolina's Dwayne Harris, of Tucker High and Stone Mountain, is headed to the combine where he can improve his NFL draft status. (Rhett Butler/Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – East Carolina wide receiver Dwayne Harris and Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent are among the group 35 players that the Falcons are hosting today in Flowery Branch for the teams’  “local day.”

“This is a pretty good group here,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “I’m looking forward to watching these guys. There are some very talented football players in the state of Georgia across the board at all positions.”

In addition to the local day, the Falcons will use all of their 30 visits from players around the country. Wide receivers Jerrel Jernigan (Troy) and Torrey Smith (Maryland) visited on Monday and Tuesday. Defensive back Marcus Gilchrist (Clemson) was in on Wednesday.

“We’ll get a chance to get them back on the grease boards with the coordinators and the position coaches,” Dimitroff said. “We’ll let them work the building and get a chance to meet everyone.  For me, it’s the final stroke of the brush when you are trying to figure out the prospect.”

We don’t have the Falcons’ list of local day visitors, but here are the players with Georgia connections that were invited to the combine.


Athens, GA:  UGA linebacker Akeem Dent runs a drill for NFL scouts uring UGA's Pro Day March 22, 2011.  Brant Sanderlin  bsanderlin@ajc.com

Athens, GA: UGA linebacker Akeem Dent runs a drill for NFL scouts uring UGA's Pro Day March 22, 2011. Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com

CLINT BOLING, OT (Chattahoochee High): Named All-SEC first team by SEC Coaches and second team by Associated Press. Selected as team’s offensive captain. Draft grade: Third or fourth round.

SHAUN CHAPAS, FB: Selected as the team’s permanent captain at the end of the season. A hard-nosed football player.

VANCE CUFF, DB, (Colquitt County): He has elite speed and plays fast. He’s run the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds.

JOSH DAVIS, OT: At 6-6, 310, he has NFL size. He graduated in December with a degree in Speech Communication.

AKEEM DENT, LB, (Douglass High): Started all 13 games and had a team-best 126 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He  also forced and recovered two fumbles. Graduated in December with a degree in Housing.

DeMARCUS DOBBS, DE, (Savannah Calvary Baptist): Appeared in 13 games making 10 starts, recording 28 tackles and 15 quarterback pressures. Graduated in December with a degree in Consumer Economics.

A.J. GREEN, WR: Appeared in nine games and made eight starts.  Caught a team-leading 57 passes for 848 yards and nine touchdowns.  Check out A.J.’s NFL draft diary. Draft grade: The 4th rated player with a first round grade.

JUSTIN HOUSTON, DE (Statesboro): Considered one of the top hybrid defensive end/linebacker prospects in the country. He was named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Dick Butkus Award and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award. Draft grade: He’s the 28 rated player and is projected to go in the first or second round.


Running back Anthony Allen here against the Miami. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Running back Anthony Allen here against the Miami. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

ANTHONY ALLEN, RB: Teams like his explosiveness and ability to hit the hole with some authority. Started his career at Louisville.

MARIO BUTLER, CB: Was a two-year starter. Has good striking ability, but there are questions about his range and coverage ability.

JERRARD TARRANT, S: Declared for the draft after his redshirt junior season.  He will have to talk with teams about his sexual assault case even though the charges were eventually dropped.  Draft grade: He’s the 121st rated player overall and is a projected third or fourth round pick.


Atlanta native Cameron Heyward, son of the late former Falcon Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, could land with the Falcons.  (The Ohio State University)

Atlanta native Cameron Heyward, son of the late former Falcon Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, could land with the Falcons. (The Ohio State University)

DARVIN ADAMS, WR, AUBURN (Harrison): He led Auburn with 52 catches last season. He had 963 yards and seven touchdowns. Draft grade: He’s the 175th ranked player and is a projected fifth rounder.

LADI AJIOBYE, DT, SOUTH CAROLINA (Banneker): Played in all 14 games and had 41 tackles. He had five tackles for loss and two sacks.

MARIO FANNIN, RB, AUBURN (Lovejoy): He was a double-threat quarterback in high school.  He was named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100. Had a solid career at Auburn.

DWAYNE HARRIS, WR, EAST CAROLINA (Tucker): He was a quarterback in high school. He led the Pirates with 101 catches for 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Draft grade: He’s the 158th ranked player and  a projected third or fourth round pick.

CHAS HENRY, PK, FLORIDA (East Paulding): He made 7 of 11 field goals last season with a long of 47 yards.

CAMERON HEYWARD, DE, OHIO STATE (Whitefield Academy/Peachtree Ridge): Son of former Falcons great and NFL star Craig “Ironhead” Heyward. Was a destructive force for the Buckeyes. Draft grade: He’s the 30th ranked player in the draft and a projected first or second round pick.

BRUCE MILLER, LB, CENTRAL FLORIDA (Woodstock): He was the defensive player of the year in Conference USA and was a first-team all-conference pick.  He started all 14 games and had 63 tackles including a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss, a team-high 8.5 sacks, two interceptions returned for touchdowns, two pass break-ups, 18 quarterback hurries, and two forced fumbles.

CAM NEWTON, QB, AUBURN (Westlake): Won the Heisman Trophy and guided the Tigers to the BCS national championship. He transferred from Florida to Blinn Junior College before landing at Auburn.   In 14 games at Auburn, he completed 185 of 280 passes (66 percent) for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He also ran for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns out of their spread offense. Draft grade: He’s the 11th ranked player and is projected to be selected in the first round.

Da’ NORRIS SEARCY, DB, NORTH CAROLINA (Towers): Projects as a strong safety in the NFL. Draft grade: He’s the 226th ranked player and is a projected  sixth or seventh round pick.

KELVIN SHEPPARD, LB, LSU (Stephenson): He runs 4.64 in the 40, which is excellent for an inside linebacker prospect. Draft grade: The 136th ranked player and is a projected fourth round pick.

DARRYL “BUSTER” SKRINE, CB, TENNESSEE-CHATTANOOGA (Etowah): (Last name pronounced “Screen.”) He has a nice combination of strength and speed. He can bench press 360 pounds, has a 35-inch vertical and runs a 4.22 in the  40-yard dash.

WILL RACKLEY, OG, LEHIGH (Riverdale): A three-time All-Patriot League pick. Projects as a Guard in the NFL. Draft grade: He’s the 100th ranked player and is a projected third rounder.

T. J. YATES, QB, NORTH CAROLINA (Pope): The Marietta native established 37 school records, including career passing yards, single-season passing yards and single-season total offense. Yates led the Tar Heels to an 8-5 mark in 2010, including a 30-27 double-overtime win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. Draft grade: He is the 230th ranked player and is a projected sixth or seventh rounder.


Miami's Allen Bailey is a stout and athletice defensive end. He'll be the Falcons pick when we debut the 2011 Mockiavelli. (Associated Press)

Miami's Allen Bailey is a stout and athletice defensive end. He'll be the Falcons pick when we debut the 2011 Mockiavelli. (Associated Press)

ALLEN BAILEY, DE, MIAMI (McIntosh County Academy): Played some tackle and end last season for the Hurricanes. He’s stout at 6-4, 285 pounds and blazes the 40 in 4.65 seconds. Draft grade: He’s the 62nd ranked player and is a projected second rounder.

JAMES CARPENTER, OT, ALABAMA (Augusta Hephzibah): Started his career at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. He started 27 straight games at left tackle for the Crimson Tide. Draft grade: He’s the 93rd ranked player and is a projected third round pick.

RAY DOMINGUEZ, OT, ARKANSAS (Bainbridge High): He selected the Razorbacks over Florida State, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida and Marshall.

MAURICE HURT, OT, FLORIDA (Baldwin): The Milledgeville native played right tackle, right guard and left guard for the Gators last season. He battled injuries early in his career and is coming of a December knee surgery.

MARK LeGREE, FS, APPALACHIAN STATE (Pacelli Catholic): Had five interceptions last season and seven as a junior.

RICARDO LOCKETTE, WR, FORT VALLEY STATE (Monroe): Last season he had 23 receptions for 262 yards.  He averaged 11.4 yards per catch and caught one touchdown pass.   NFL teams are intrigued by his sprinter’s speed and size (6-3, 200).

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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24 comments Add your comment


April 14th, 2011
9:46 am

Man, there’s a lot of talent in this state.

Coach Mark Richt has no excuses this year! CPH is in a bit of rebuilding season….


April 14th, 2011
10:00 am

Man, that is just great! A guy thats going to the pros, from my home town(Statesboro)! The last time I heard about a player like that wss Tracy Hamm. But then again I have not lived in Ga for a while(Sacramento,Ca). …. Good Read.

Matt Ryan's Illegitimate Son

April 14th, 2011
10:16 am

when I started reading all these names – I thought he meant all these guys were coming to Flowery Branch to workout. I knew I misread something when I saw Cam Newton – LOL……

Local Talent that Dimitroff should draft: 1st(Justin Houston,DE-UGA), 4th(Akeem Dent,LB-UGA), 6th(Mario Fannin,RB-AU), 7th-(Jerrand Tarrant,S-Georgia Tech)

North Ave Trade School Hater

April 14th, 2011
10:29 am

I keep seeing these mock drafts where Justin Houston falls out of the first round. I don’t believe there is any way the Falcons pass on him if he is available.


April 14th, 2011
10:30 am

I know this isn’t a UGA blog, but looking at how much Georgia-grown talent is going out-of-state is sickening. I realize a lot of these guys are taking the opportunity to get away from home for the first time but mostly, we’re being flat out-recruited…in our own back yard. It’d be one thing if we were consistently winning with recruits from all over but we’re not. We’re obviously not keeping the primo talent at home, either…somebody hire Bobby Bowden to make recruiting visits for us!

Matt Ryan's Illegitimate Son

April 14th, 2011
10:38 am

Waynester, Justin Houston is not likely to make it past Tampa Bay at #20 overall. I would love for Falcons to take him but its doubtful they even get the chance.

Matt Ryan's Illegitimate Son

April 14th, 2011
10:39 am

excuse me, meant to address last comment to “North-Ave Trade School Hater”

Matt Ryan's Illegitimate Son

April 14th, 2011
11:01 am

Falcons mock draft: Well, here is what happens. All the D-Ends that Dimitroff has targeted in 1st round are off the board (Quinn,Smith, Kerrigan, Houston). Dimitroff wants to move out of the pick and gets offered the Bengals 2nd(#35) and 3rd(#66) for Falcons 1st(#27) – Bengals want a QB at #27 – Falcons quickly agree to the trade.

Falcons Mock:
#2-35) Kyle Rudolph, TE-Notre Dame – Falcons have their stud tight end for the next 10 years who learns from the TE God(Gonzalez) for his rookie year.

#2-59) Jabaal Sheard, DE-Pittsburgh – this guy has good size, strength and ability to get to the edge. Definitely an upgrade over what we have now – Day#1 starter

#3-66) Jerrel Jernigan, WR-Troy – frankly while I like this guy I would rather have a more complete WR with size like Greg Little but he is off the radar because of character. Jernigan is a better version of Harry Douglas – slot/#3 WR with KR/PR capability – playmaker

#3-91) Kendall Hunter, RB-Oklahoma State – very good RB who is small in stature(5′7″) but stoutly built at 200lbs. and has the complete package of inside/outside running with pass catching as well. Will start his career as compliment to Michael Turner but more than capable of being a #1 RB in NFL.

#4-124) Akeem Dent, LB-Georgia – solid LB that the Falcons have scouted very hard. He can play inside or outside and can vy for starting position right away if Falcons don’t re-sign Stephen Nicholas.

#5-158) Chimdi Chekwa, CB-Ohio State – match-up corner with size(6′0″) and 4.40 speed. He will bring some physicality to the back 4 replacing Brian Williams/Chris Owens as nickel corner.

#6-192) Chas Henry, P-Florida – time to get the overpaid and overrated Michael Koenan out of here. We sign the local kid(East Paulding) and he is “Day#1″ starter as our punter and will be better than Koenan.

#7-209) Kris Durham, WR-Georgia – this new great white hope (the new “Sunshine” with apologies to Cole Manger) is a guy with size(6′5″), speed(4.45/40) and the heart of a champion. He battled back from knee injury to have productive senior year. He will vy for roster spot or make the practice squad. Good value for 7th round.

#7-228) Kyle Hix, OT-Texas – Four year starter on powerhouse college team who played both left and right tackle – versatile young guy who could make the team if we lose some of our free agents.

#7-229) Jerrard Tarrant, S-Georgia Tech – will have to make the team by being a special teamer. Has some ability.

Deuce Coupe

April 14th, 2011
11:04 am

Anthony Allen would be a good Atlanta Falcon running back.


April 14th, 2011
11:29 am

Dang?! The Falcons didn’t invite Josh Nesbitt?! I know his QB numbers are faaaar from stellar, but the guy is a flat out gamer with heart. Seems like he woulb be the ideal guy Diminitrof likes considering his track record.


April 14th, 2011
12:02 pm

Why a Corner will be picked #1 instead of a DE

Biermann’s Unsung Effect

Throughout the offseason, cries of a need for a pass rush have come from Falcons fans, the media and bloggers alike. The reasons behind that, however, tend to get misconstrued with all the noise. A recent article shows exactly why the need for a defensive end has nothing to do at all with replacing Kroy Biermann

The 2010 preseason was like the explosion most Falcons fans had been looking for. Every time Biermann suited up in the preseason, he was all over opposing quarterbacks. Three games played, three sacks.

This created much buzz around the then third-year defensive end out of Montana. The regular season played itself out and that same type of production wasn’t there in the eyes of many. That had much to do with a sack total that didn’t eclipse the mark he set during the preseason.

Biermann recorded just two sacks during the regular season — and with all the noise this offseason about needing to upgrade the pass rush, it’d be easy to assume that the need is based on Biermann’s sack total.

— Biermann’s affect on the defensive line was not only more than serviceable, but the stuff of great defensive end play.

Biermann recorded 48 quarterback disruptions (which I can only assume includes pressures and hits), which was good enough for 28th in the league — just nine less than the Falcons’ resident quarterback predator, John Abraham.

There’s another stat Biermann recorded that shows exactly why the need to upgrade the pass rush isn’t tied to Biermann’s 2010 sack total. When Biermann was on the field, he got pressure on the quarterback 11.78 percent of the time, , that may not seem like a lot, but it put Biermann just behind Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs and ahead — yes, ahead — of Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers. That, my friends, is among some of the best in the league.

Not a fan of stats and figures?

— the need for pass rush comes more from the need to identify an heir apparent for Abraham and a whole lot less from the perception that Biermann somehow isn’t producing.

With head coach Mike Smith’s defensive line rotation, having a young bull-rusher who has a nose for getting to the quarterback would add just one more wrinkle to a front that had plenty of big games in the pressure category in 2010.

. With numbers like he put up in 2010, it would seem that he’s primed to have an explosive season in the very near future.

[...] the workouts. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC also provides his own list. You can check that out by clicking here. Categories: Draft Central Tags: draft, interest, pro day, workout Comments (0) [...]


April 14th, 2011
1:37 pm

Green is fron SC


April 14th, 2011
4:01 pm

i’m available and have been waiting patiently by the phone since 1983.

Cornerback Smurf

April 14th, 2011
4:04 pm

@Matt Ryan’s Illegitimate Son – Nice mock draft but I would go with the receiver from Hawaii over the kid from Troy.

[...] the original post here: Falcons are hosting local talent today | Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged a-team-high-8-5, butler, carolina, combine, [...]


April 14th, 2011
4:50 pm

Darvin Adams catches everything. 5th round would be perfect.

just me

April 14th, 2011
5:41 pm

DOL – you need to add Mario “Thumper” Harvey (Marshall) from Forsyth, GA to your list.


April 14th, 2011
5:54 pm

All future busts!


April 14th, 2011
6:19 pm

Houston is bar far the best choice but we will have to trade up. Cuff speed is amazeing I would take him in the 2nd. That is incredible, he can be the answer we need at punt returner as well. We have Weems but you can not teach speed, either you have it or you don’t.

[...] Falcons are hosting local talent today | Atlanta Falcons BIRDLAND – East Carolina wide receiver Dwayne Harris and Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent are among the group 35 players that the Falcons are hosting. http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-blog/2011/04/14/falcons-are-hosting-local-talent-today/?cxntfid... [...]


April 14th, 2011
8:12 pm

HBCU Classic Sports introduces new blog – HBCU Football Insider



April 14th, 2011
8:28 pm

must be a short hostess party . i wonder why everyone went out of state? oh yeah-my bad– RICHT !

[...] college talent visited with the Falcons on [...]