FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons selected Wisconsin fullback Bradie Ewing and Troy defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.
They picked Mississippi State safety Charles Mitchell in the sixth round and added South Carolina defensive tackle Travian Robertson in the seventh round.
Ewing is 5-11 3/4 and 239 pounds. The former walk-on was a team captain for the Badgers.
Massaquoi, who played at Central Gwinnett High, is a cousin of former Georgia wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and NFL tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.
Ewing was considered a priority free agent by Pro Football Weekly. Massaquoi was projected to go in the fourth or fifth round.
Here’s the PFW report on Ewing. Negative: “Athletic ability and size are just adequate. Has short arms and lacks bulk strength — repped 225 pounds only 14 times at the combine. Stiff movement. Does not explode through his hips and drive defenders out of the hole. Struggles to sustain.” Positive: “Large hands. Pops out of his stance. Displays nice knee bend and body control to coordinate blocking fits. Is able to get his head around as as short receiver and shows decent hands . . . Has special teams experience.”
Massaquoi, who moved to the United States from Liberia when he was six months old, played for Bradley Warren at Central Gwinnett.
He committed to Troy coming out of high school, but started his career at Butler Community College in Kansas. He played there for a year before honoring his
commitement to Troy.
“He’s another guy coming out of a Troy program that has been quietly supplying the NFL with good players over the past several years,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “Massaquoi was a good, solid player at Troy for two years.”
Massaquoi ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds at the scouting combine, had a 33 1/2 inch vertical jump and lifted 225 pounds 20 times.
“Troy is a building program,” Massaquoi said. “We had five straight conference championships. We went for our sixth one this year, but fell short. With Troy producing defensive ends like Osi Umenyiora and DeMarcus Ware, hopefully I can be put into that conversation and follow their tradition.”
Mitchell played in 50 games and made 38 starts for the Bulldogs.
He was a hard hitter with 188 tackles and four career interceptions. He played as a freshmen after being named Mississippi’s Gatorade player of the year.
“Mitchell is an athletic kid with good range in the secondary,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “He has just average speed, but very impressive leaping ability, and he can play either free or strong safety. … He will be a borderline starter in the NFL. … He’ll also be an asset on special teams.”
He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds at Mississippi State’s Pro Day. He lifted 225 pounds, 19 times and had a 37-inch vertical jump at the scouting combine. He was a team captain.
Robertson started all 14 games in 2010 after his 2009 season was cut short by injury. He finished with 42 tackles, 10 tackles for losses and four sacks.
He started all 13 games for the Gamecocks last season and had 49 tackles and a blocked a kick. He was a team captain.
Robertson has earned his degree in criminal justice. Overall, he started 32 of 56 games he played in at South Carolina. He was rated as the 25th-best defensive tackle in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog