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

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78 comments Add your comment

MonkDaddy

April 30th, 2011
6:44 pm

First Again!?!?!?

Another diamond in the rough pick!

Go Birds!!!

BC

April 30th, 2011
6:46 pm

Could be a steal.
Love our third day of the draft.

wdwj

April 30th, 2011
6:51 pm

Love the Falcons Future. Go Birds!

Dominic Hughes

April 30th, 2011
6:52 pm

Like the pick. Someone to develop and possible insurance if the Falcons can’t get the DE they want in free agency. Loving this draft. A little puzzled by the punter until I read the guy also kicks field goals. Long-range field goal kicker maybe? Giving the Falcons an edge in the close games?

ToccoaBird

April 30th, 2011
6:54 pm

Overall this was a good draft for the Falcons. Now if the Players and NFL would just get a contract done.

1eyedJack

April 30th, 2011
7:00 pm

Good job Smitty and TD. Arthur…How much money you got? Grab that checkbook. Now we need to buy some defense.

See a lot of criticism for the sixth round pick of a punter Matt Bosher. This kid is a good punter and he could also handle kickoffs and place kicking if needed. His versatility could free up a spot on the practice squad. He was projected as high as the middle of the draft by some so he wasn’t a reach.

Perhaps the best thing is it allows the Falcons to wave bye-bye to Michael Koenen who commands a lot of salary and seems to be possibly on the downside of his career.

My opinion…strictly business.

Nathan Darling

April 30th, 2011
7:00 pm

This might be our smartest move in the draft this guy who can grow challenge biermann for the job is a steal. John Abraham was also for SC.

ldawg121

April 30th, 2011
7:02 pm

Liked everything but the kicker…..needed a TE to groom and Virgil Green is available but we draft a kicker…..was everyone taking a break then and somebody just throw a dart at the board ?

1eyedJack

April 30th, 2011
7:02 pm

This is probably the first time I’ve watched the draft and knew most of the players the Falcons were picking. Gotta love the SEC, huh TD?

FalconDevil

April 30th, 2011
7:05 pm

Virgil Green has injury problems hence his drop off in the draft

falconsrelax

April 30th, 2011
7:06 pm

Why are a lot of falcosn calling this guy a steal?

FalconDevil

April 30th, 2011
7:07 pm

He was projected as a middle rounder

1eyedJack

April 30th, 2011
7:07 pm

With the weapons were gonna have we can put a guard at tight end.

ToccoaBird

April 30th, 2011
7:15 pm

now TD can take a break until the lawyers decide to get something done. But Smitty and company must now start thinking of ways to use these players. The happiest man on the team has to be Roddy. I hope Roddy takes Jones under his wing and starts teaching him the playbook so he will be ready to go as soon as the stupid lockout is over.

chickenman

April 30th, 2011
7:20 pm

another good pick here… i would of been happy with him lockette or romeus. This is a great weekend to be a falcons fan

Mike

April 30th, 2011
7:25 pm

Man I love the moves. The RB we picked up will pay dividens. Great pass reciever out of the backfield. Now Arthur and the gang will buy some defense. I can truly say I trust this administration.

Mystikal

April 30th, 2011
7:38 pm

Undrafted Free Agents: weslye saunders, ricardo lockette, craig cooper, mark herzlich …..

Saunders some character issues, but very talented; worth the risk

bigdave

April 30th, 2011
7:39 pm

i dunno.. ill take him, but he reminds me of Anderson. though JA might be a better tackler. this guys seems to wrestle ball carriers to the ground, thats if he doesnt fan on them altogether.. saw too many missed tackles once we got to the QB.. he fits that mold.

didnt want a DE this draft with a high pick.. we need proven players on D to go with the youth movement already in place.

great draft Falcons…

dp

April 30th, 2011
7:46 pm

UGH……………………………

myrak43

April 30th, 2011
7:47 pm

dp…. who did you what the falcons to draft?

1eyedJack

April 30th, 2011
7:59 pm

D-Led, you have done a man’s work. Take next Wednesday off.

YoDog

April 30th, 2011
8:07 pm

We need a RB !!! Why did we pick a “diminuitive” RB at 191 lbs who left college a year early! What the heck kind of pick is that!!

ATLANTA

April 30th, 2011
8:18 pm

YoDog is really dumb.

GHunt

April 30th, 2011
8:19 pm

We gave up a lot to acquire Julio. Dimitroff stated this acquistion doesn’t mean that we are one player away from anything. I would not have made this move, however, I will withhold judgement and support the team management.

Chemcat

April 30th, 2011
8:25 pm

go look at some of Jacquizz’s stats, he’s been very durable…unlike Norwood. A 3rd down back that can turn the corner and catch passes. A good pick IMHO and great value at the spot they picked him. I can remember him eating up USC when they were ranked #1 a couple of years ago.

bugeye

April 30th, 2011
8:25 pm

I like this draft,good pick at WR immediate help. solid backup at LB. DE to groom, Good change of pace at RB!!! Look farward to being able to sustain drives,keeping other offenses on sidelines. nice job T.D. !!!! GO FALCONS!!!

Samuel

April 30th, 2011
8:27 pm

Yodog probally never paid attention to pocket hercules. Who plays for the Jacksonville Jags.

GA ALL THE WAY

April 30th, 2011
8:39 pm

Very good draft! I liked the way the Falcons have pursued what we want and they want, which is a CHAMPIONSHIP!!

steven A.

April 30th, 2011
8:42 pm

YoDog has absolutely no clue. He must have never seen this guy play.

1eyedJack

April 30th, 2011
8:49 pm

“It is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.” Somebody.

MR.true fan

April 30th, 2011
8:50 pm

great draft julio will be rookie of the year iam thinking 8tds 1000 yds in his first year with 60 recepitions go falcons he will hit the home run ball also roddy will be thinking him soon

1eyedJack

April 30th, 2011
8:50 pm

Maybe a dog fighting quote was not such a good idea here.

chazzmania

April 30th, 2011
8:57 pm

build wise jacquizz reminds me of warick dunn. Now if he plays like warick……!

chazzmania

April 30th, 2011
9:01 pm

DrJ

April 30th, 2011
9:22 pm

Glad to read that he knows how to sack somebody (career 15.5) that’s better than someone, unnamed. Is he a another high-motor guy like Kroy? I would be interested in his wing-span, that seemed to separate Abraham from the rest of the mortals.

torgo

April 30th, 2011
9:31 pm

Yes, he’s definitely a high motor guy. No doubt about that one.

He won’t be ready to challenge for a starting position right away, but if Sidbury can step up as the #3 this season (Peria Jerry’s slow recovery forced the Falcons to carry a fourth active DT each week last season, dropping Sidbury to the inactive list), then Matthews would be a suitable development project as the #4.

Mark

April 30th, 2011
10:00 pm

Ok now we need to grab Charles Grant, or Ray Edwards in FA. Well when ever the lockout is over. As for College free agents I like Herzlich, and Saunders… I think Herzlich will develop into a pretty good NFL Linebacker, as long as he stays cancer free. GO BIRDS!!!!

myrak43

April 30th, 2011
10:13 pm

I see what the falcons are doing with this years draft… I am ok with it. I love the JJ pick. but have you guys notice Tampa Bays draft…

1 20 (20) Adrian Clayborn DE 6-4 285 Iowa
2 19 (51) Da’Quan Bowers DE 6-4 280 Clemson
3 20 (84) Mason Foster OLB 6-2 244 Washington
4 7 (104) Luke Stocker TE 6-6 253 Tennessee from Eagles through Redskins
5 20 (151) Ahmad Black SS 5-9 189 Florida
6 22 (187) Allen Bradford RB 5-11 235 USC from Chiefs
7 19 (222) Anthony Gaitor DB 5-9 177 Florida Intl.
7 35 (238) Daniel Hardy TE 6-4 235 Idaho compensatory selection

that defense is going to be scary

hiramsaint

April 30th, 2011
10:23 pm

well after the packers game i’m glad to see you put some thought into the D. hehehehehe !

Ed

April 30th, 2011
10:25 pm

What an awesome draft I give TD an A+ for movin up to get a dynamic WR in Julio Jones and findin great value in the later rounds with Dent and Rodgers and even getting Matthews in the 7th. Go Falcons!!

mcbubba

April 30th, 2011
10:40 pm

It’s a shame undrafted free agents can’t be signed; Pat Devlin, Mark Herzlich, Kendrick Burney, Schuylar Oordt, and Deandre McDaniel, all undrafted..

Too Legit to Quit

April 30th, 2011
10:43 pm

It’s third and eight, late in a close game in Tampa. The birds line up Matty Ice in shotgun, Roddy’s running a 12-yard out, and Julio’s burning up the other sideline on a go pattern, Keery Meier is in the slot and runs a short Wes Welcker crossing route to screw with the linebackers. Tony Gonzales is lined up tight to the tackle to pretend to be blocking on the edge, but he’s really going to float to the flat where he’ll smell burnt rubber from the Tampa cornerback tying to chase Julio downfiled, and Jacquizz Green double motions in the backfield, getting readty to set up a draw play, picking up a blitzer, or serving as an outlet opposite Gonzalez. Well isn’t that just gonna make feakin’ Ronda Barber’s big head explode trying to decide what side of the field to cheat to. Hope his Cobra insurance is in full force.
Go Birds!
MC

mcbubba

April 30th, 2011
10:45 pm

I missed Ricardo Lockette, a practice squad prospect, who could become a player..

Josh B

April 30th, 2011
10:49 pm

@Too Legit to Quit — That scenario sounds scary good.

mark

April 30th, 2011
11:00 pm

so what is the deal with signing undrafted free agents? since they cannot sign, can they flip allegience at any time to any other team prior to CBA being determined?

Jordan

April 30th, 2011
11:22 pm

An Adult

April 30th, 2011
11:41 pm

Why draft a punter… geez… Bryant AND Koenen are both free agents– chances of signing both are slim… whatever one you don’t sign, this guy has the other job and he’s great at both. It was a smart move. Not sexy, but smart. Remember, this is a business. This was business smart.

DR. FALCON

April 30th, 2011
11:56 pm

YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH 2 PLAYERS FROM THE S.E.C. AT THE TOP OF YOUR DRAFT! JAQUIZZ RODGERS BEAT U.S.C. BY HIMSELF TWICE! THE NFL IS ABOUT MAKING PLAYS, AND OUR TOP 3 PICKS ARE ULTIMATE PLAYMAKERS! JULIO JONES WILL BE IN THE PRO-BOWL WITHIN 2YRS! MATT RYAN WILL SEE TO THAT! OPPONENTS CAN DOUBLE RODDY WHITE IF THEY DARE! EVEN MIKE MULARKEY CAN’T SCREW THIS THING UP!!

JKA

April 30th, 2011
11:58 pm

Jones, Dent, Rodgers, Jackson, Matthews – all serious,intense team leaders who are passionate and committed to football. I think we’ve cornered the market on high character guys – hope they can stay healthy & play……

Note: for those who are skeptical about Rodgers due to his size, suggest you reserve judgement until you see him play. We watched him play for 3 years out here in the Pac 10 and were continually amazed how he ran around, over and through tacklers……It’s true a lot of great college “mini-backs” find they can’t bring their game to the pros, but Rodgers is all heart – if you were ever gonna take a chance on a small back, this is the guy.

DR. FALCON

May 1st, 2011
12:00 am

AS A UGA FAN AKEEM DENT MIGHT BE THE SLEEPER IN THIS ENTIRE DRAFT! HE PLAYED AGAINST CAM NEWTON, AND MARK INGRAM IN THE S.E.C.! PUT DENT AT THE WILL LB, AND WITHERSPOON AT THE SAM LB, AND WE MIGHT HAVE THE BEST LB CORP IN THE LEAGUE! CURTIS LOFTON CAN HOLD DOWN THE MIKE LB WITH ANYBODY IN THE LEAGUE!