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,” Dent said. “He had a motor and he had a nose for the football. I feel that I can take some of his game and install it into mine’s. I want to be one of those guys around the ball and being productive. ”

Dent also had personal tryouts with Baltimore, Jacksonville, Kansas City and the New York Giants.

The Falcons turned down a trade offer from an undisclosed team that was trying to move up and draft Dent.

“I’m just glad to be a Falcon right now,” said Dent, who’s represented by local agent Hadley Engelhard, of Enter-Sports Management.

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Dent will be expected to contribute on special teams and backup at all of the linebacker spots.

Dent played outside and inside linebacker at Georgia.

“He’s a tough, hard-nosed guy who fits our scheme as a (middle) linebacker, but he also has the versatility to play all three positions,” Dimitroff said. “He will be a core special teams player for us, which is very important.”

The Falcons were also impressed by Dent being one of Georgia’s captains and by him attaining his degree in Housing.

“He fits in line as far as what we believe in having the right locker room,” Dimitroff said. “He played in the SEC and that speaks for itself. He knows football. He’s passionate about football.”

Dent was watching the draft with family members when Blank called on behalf of the Falcons.

When he was a redshirt at Georgia, he used to hear stories from the older Bulldogs about Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

“He expects a lot from his players,” Dent said. “He expects us to go out and be great.”

VanGorder was the defensive coordinator from 2001 to 2004. Willie Martinez, who succeeded VanGorder, used the same terminology so Dent is familiar with the Falcons’ calls.

“We found that out during his local workout when we sat him down and got a feel for his football knowledge,” Dimitroff said. “Again, that is helpful going into a year that we might be going into as far as maybe being backed up a little bit.”

Dent will not have a problem playing special teams.

“I’ve always had a knack for special teams,” Dent said. “I played on all four units when I was Georgia. That’s something that I’ve been doing since I was in high school.”

The Falcons liked Dent’s versatility.

“If someone goes down, we feel like we have a player who can start if need be,” Dimitroff said. “As well, I want to stress him being rated very highly as a core special teams player by not only our scouting staff, but by our special teams coaches.”

Dent didn’t participate in the linebacker drills at the NFL scouting combine because of a hamstring injury.

He will start out learning the  middle linebacker spot.

“Obviously, that’s a position that takes a lot of pounding,” Dimitroff said. “Curtis Lofton works through a lot and plays through injuries. We had to make sure that we have someone there to improve our depth.”

Dimitroff was looking forward to the third day of the draft.

“We believe that you can get players all the way through the draft,” Dimitroff said.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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35 comments Add your comment

Falcon Fan

April 30th, 2011
1:18 pm

Great! The kid will be OK..Go Falcons! Thanks Blanks, and GM for Jones and Dent.

D. Bell

April 30th, 2011
1:18 pm

I guess it’s good to have quality depth.


April 30th, 2011
1:19 pm


April 30th, 2011
1:20 pm

third, damn this was my woodstock


April 30th, 2011
1:21 pm

awesome DAWGS in the house win win first


April 30th, 2011
1:23 pm

About time the the birds got a bad@@s dogs linebacker lets call him BIRD-DOG


April 30th, 2011
1:25 pm

Great move. Especially good for depth behind Lofton. Great also that he holds Tuggle as his model. Falcons were looking for help on D; this accomplishes a lot of that. Sure, not the DE that some say we need, but he’ll be a great addition overall to the D.


April 30th, 2011
1:26 pm

to bad chiefs got houston but we’ll take Dent.thats a football name he can Dent-up the opposition


April 30th, 2011
1:27 pm


Seattle Falcons Fan

April 30th, 2011
1:33 pm

I would love to sign Ray Edwards and maybe a Reggie Bush or a Darren Sproles type back. I see some O-line and CB help coming up in the draft.

Seattle Falcons Fan

April 30th, 2011
1:36 pm

D Led- what kind of pick do you see us getting for Jenkins? 3rd? 4th?


April 30th, 2011
1:39 pm


April 30th, 2011
1:43 pm


Whopper Dawg

April 30th, 2011
1:43 pm

Exactly what kind of degree is Housing?


April 30th, 2011
1:54 pm

um. the falcons have drafted the last 3 georgia middle linebackers. tony taylor, tony gilbert and now akeem dent. taylor and gilbert are no longer with the team. great picks. you don’t draft special teamers in the 3rd round. there were plenty of guys that could come in and make an impact right away.

final point on how bad the trade was. do any of you honestly think julio will produce more than dez bryant last year? i highly doubt it and he had jon kitna throwing to him for the better part of the year. i can say its safe to say he didn’t make the difference in the cowboys becoming a super bowl contender. you don’t trade away all those picks for a wide receiver! i don’t care how productive he is, a rookie wr is not the kind of impact player that will lead you to a superbowl!!!


April 30th, 2011
1:58 pm

As I have had time to look at what the team is doing I have concluded that we are being smart as a front office. Due to the CBA situation, and let’s be honest this isn’t a very deep draft, we have picked up two guys thus far that do not require a heck of a lot of time to adjust to our playbook. Jones is viewed as one of the most NFL ready WRs in this draft which is key since we don’t know when these guys will be able to get in a learn the playbook etc.. Then we get Dent who already knows the terms associated with our defensive scheme. Smart dafting. Another point on Dent, which I have not heard mentioned, is that Loften takes a beating and if I am not mistaken didn’t he have to have a couple of minor knee surgeries this offseason? If he goes down then our D is screwed and now we have a backup plan.
This draft hasn’t went down like I thought but I understand what we are doing.


April 30th, 2011
1:59 pm

Ok if we can pick up either Ray Edwards or Charles Johnson (DE), and Jonathan Joseph (CB) and Darren Sproles (RB) we WILL be ready for a Superbowl.


April 30th, 2011
2:05 pm

Honest_Abe: maybe you should be the falcons gm. So if the falcons sign a good free agent d.e and draft Julio jones, you still think they would be better off with the draft picks? If you do you know nothing about football. Julio is prob the second best receiver to come out since Calvin Johnson (a.j green being the first). It’s amazing that td has to answer to all you people who complain.


April 30th, 2011
2:16 pm

Seattle Falcons Fan
April 30th, 2011 1:33 pm
I would love to sign Ray Edwards and maybe a Reggie Bush… type back.

How cool would it be to pick up Reggie Bush (himself) now that New Orleans drafted a RB first pick (Reggie tweeted, “It’s been great, New Orleans – meaning he thinks he’s gone). Be a little like getting Morten Anderson from the Saints when they thought he was through. Imagine Matty Ice throwing to Reggie, Roddy, Gonzo or Julio on any given play.


April 30th, 2011
2:32 pm


[...] With the selections of Boling and Durham, the Bulldogs have now had five players selected in the 2011 draft. The others were Green, OLB Justin Houston (3rd, Kansas City) and LB Akeem Dent (3rd, Atlanta). [...]

Boss Dawg

April 30th, 2011
2:45 pm

I love what the front office has done. Last pick wish, take Ahmed Black. The little guy just makes plays….son of a ****** there goes Tampa taking him.


April 30th, 2011
2:49 pm

at JI – I don’t know who Honest Abe is but I’m pretty sure he could give away 1st and second round picks in hopes that a single player turns into a good pro receiver about as well as Thomas Dummytrof.

loyal falcon

April 30th, 2011
2:52 pm

Rodgers reminds me or Warwick. He’s a great addition to the team. Good luck to the other teams trying to locate hime behind our OL.


April 30th, 2011
2:57 pm

I watched Quiz Rodgers light my college team (ASU) up for four years. I am so pumped to have him on our squad! I was watching the draftboard hoping for us to pick him and TD moves up and grabs him! I love this draft class!!


April 30th, 2011
3:10 pm

He save our bacon against Vanderbilt one year.

loyal falcon

April 30th, 2011
3:10 pm

I believe this class is going to be one of the falcons better classes. I love the way TD,MS and AB are building this team!

Nathan Darling

April 30th, 2011
3:27 pm

I wish we got Sam Acho instaed.


April 30th, 2011
3:40 pm

Quizz will be giving opposing teams the Biz! LOL

Big Ray

April 30th, 2011
3:43 pm

Honest Abe,

You gotta be kidding me. Comparing us to the Cowboys and Jones to Bryant makes no sense. Bryant is a willfull knucklehead who can play. Jones is a hard worker who can play.

The Cowboys had FAR more problems than the WR position. They had head coach problems, and issues all over the locker room, not to mention on the field. There’s a reason why we went to the playoffs and they didn’t….


April 30th, 2011
4:43 pm

Is there not an editor for these stories? I love the pick for the falcons; I hate the writing skills displayed here.


April 30th, 2011
4:48 pm

A punter? SERIOUSLY A punter??????


April 30th, 2011
6:07 pm

Draft No Good


May 1st, 2011
2:20 pm

Well said JI took the words right out off mouth! So many fake azz GM’s on this blog!

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

May 1st, 2011
10:23 pm

I am amazed at all of the knowledgeable (NOT!!!!) folks on this blog who are able to predict the impact of this year’s draft choices on the team. If you’re that good at predictions, why aren’t you doing more with your time and life other than posting on a Falcons’ blog????? Get real!!!