The Atlanta Falcons announced the addition of 22 undrafted rookie free agents yesterday along with 27 players that will be brought into their rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Along with their six draft picks, these signings put the Falcons roster at their 90-man limit.
The Falcons signed defensive end Josh Dawson (Georgia); defensive tackles Gerald Dixon, Jr. (South Carolina), Cory Johnson (Kentucky) and Chris Mayes (Georgia); offensive linemen Cody Elenz (Lamar), Alex Fifita (Fresno State) and Jake Reed (Indiana); linebackers Torrey Green (Utah State) and Ivan McLennan (Washington State); wide receivers Daje Johnson (Texas), Malachi Jones (Appalachian State), J.D. McKissic (Arkansas State) and David Richards (Arizona); cornerback Devonte Johnson (Weber State), David Mims II (Texas State) and Jordan Sefon (St. Cloud State); defensive backs Sharrod Neasman (Florida Atlantic) and Brian Poole (Florida); tight end Joshua Perkins (Washington); fullback Will Ratelle (North Dakota); kicker Nick Rose (Texas) and running back Brandon Wilds (South Carolina).
The 27 tryout players included: offensive guards Shahbaz Ahmed (Temple), Bryan Chamberlain (Georgia Tech), Jeremy Kelly (North Dakota State), Matt Snebold (Wheaton) and Jordan Walsh (Iowa); linebacker Ugonna Awuruonye (Campbell), Ryan Flannigan (Kentucky), Brett McMakin (Northern Iowa), Jasen Oden, Jr. (Colorado State), Brandon Williams (Southern Illinois) and Terrell Williams (Youngstown); safeties Tarris Batiste (Georgia State) and Jamal Golden (Georgia Tech); wide receives Reggie Begelton (Lamar) and David Glidden (Oklahoma State); fullback Adam Cox (Iowa); defensive tackles Phillip Dukes (South Carolina) and Corey Redwine (Tulane); quarterback Sean Goldrich (New Hampshire) and Alex Ross (Coastal Carolina); center Kolton Houston (Georgia); running backs De’Andre Mann (Kansas) and Jordan Parker (Middle Tennessee); offensive tackle Zack Martinez (Colorado State-Pueblo); long snapper Sam Rodgers (Syracuse) and cornerback Aaron Sibley (Portland State).
Last year the Falcons wound up adding four tryout players to their roster prior to training camp.
Dawson only started five games during his career at Georgia, with his most productive season coming as a junior when he recorded 17 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and two fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown.
Dixon, Jr. is the son of former NFL linebacker Gerald Dixon, who played for the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers from 1992 to 2001. At South Carolina, Dixon, Jr. was a two-year starter that tallied 57 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles and a pair of blocked kicks. The 324-pounder was a participant in the East-West Shrine Game.
Cory Johnson began his college career at ASA College in Brooklyn, NY, where he totaled 72 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in two seasons. Thereafter he transferred to Kentucky and logged nine starts as a senior, tallying 67 tackles, eight for loss and two sacks during his senior season.
Mayes played nose tackle for Georgia, starting 11 games this past fall. He finished the year with 41 tackles, one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. He tipped the scales at 338 pounds for his pro day and lifted 33 times on the 225-pound bench press.
Elenz began his collegiate career at Idaho, where he started 20 games at left tackle before transferring to Lamar for his final year. At Lamar, he started 11 games at left tackle and earned first-team All-Southland Conference honors as a senior. But with his smaller stature (6’3″ 290), he’s likely to move inside to playing guard in the NFL. He did 28 bench reps of 225 pounds at his pro day.
Fifita started a combined 26 games the past two years at left tackle, earned All-Mountain West Conference honors in both years. He was named Fresno State’s most outstanding lineman at the team’s year-end banquet after his final season. He logged five starts at right tackle as a freshman and six starts at left guard during his sophomore season.
Reed played alongside current Falcons reserve center Collin Rahrig at Indiana, also blocking for running back Tevin Coleman there as well. Over his last two years, Reed started 17 games at center and logged three starts at left guard and two at right guard during his sophomore year. His career started out at defensive end, before moving to tighht end and then the offensive line as a redshirt freshman. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Green was primarily used as a pass-rusher at outside linebacker at Utah State, starting only 10 games over the course of his collegiate career. But he made the most of the time he got on the field, tallying a combined seven sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss the past two years. He also had 83 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble in that span.
McLennan began his collegiate career at El Camino Junior College in California before transferring to Washington State. He started 10 games as a senior at “rush” linebacker in their 3-4 defense, tallying 42 tackles, nine tackles for loss, six sacks and two pass breakups. He ran a 4.70-second 40-yard dash at his pro day while measuring in at 6’3″ 238 pounds.
Daje Johnson was primarily a return specialist at Texas, tallying only 16 career starts on offense. But he was a highly productive with the ball in his hands, averaging 22.2 yards on 44 kickoff returns and 10.7 yards on 37 punt returns over his career. He scored twice on punt returns, as well as rushing the ball, where he had a combined 459 yards on 64 carries (7.2 avg). For his career, he caught 85 passes for 873 yards (10.3 avg) and three touchdowns, with his most productive season as a pass-catcher coming during his senior year: 37 catches, 415 yards (11.2 avg) and a touchdown. He ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, while measuring in at 5’8″ and 184 pounds.
Jones has rich NFL bloodlines as the son of the late Andre Jones, who played linebacker for the Detroit Lions in 1992. His brother T.J. plays wide receiver for the Lions, after being drafted by them in 2014. His uncle is former NFL defensive end Phillip Daniels, who played with the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins from 1996 to 2010. Jones logged 35 starts over the course of his collegiate career, but his most productive year as a pass-catcher came during his junior season when he tallied career-highs of 36 receptions, 585 yards (16.3 avg) and three touchdowns. He clocked a 4.53-second 40 at his pro day, while measuring in at 6’2″ and 211 pounds.
McKissic was a highly productive player at Arkansas State, finishing his career as the school’s record-holder in catches in a single game (15), season (103) and career (289). He set the single-season record as a redshirt freshman, also gaining 1,022 receinv yards (9.9 avg) and five scores. He earned Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and the first of four All-Sun Belt Conference team honors. However his production on offense declined each season thereafter, finally finishing with just 52 catches, 525 yards (10.1 avg) and two touchdowns as a senior. However he did total 1,473 kickoff return yards over his career, averaging 27.3 yards on 54 returns and scoring twice. He also averaged 5.7 yards on 23 punt returns, rushed for 379 yards on 47 carries (8.1 avg) and two more scores, while also completing two of three pass attempts for 15 yards and a touchdown. He finished his career with 289 catches, 2,838 receiving yards (9.8 avg) and 11 touchdowns. He ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, despite measuring in at just 5’10” and 187 pounds.
Richards started 25 games over the course of his collegiate career, with his most productive season coming as a senior when he caught 43 passes for 548 yards (12.7 avg) and six touchdowns. He brings size, measuring in at 6’3″ and 205 pounds at his pro day. He clocked a 4.65-second 40-yard dash time.
Devonte Johnson started 11 games at cornerback as a senior, earning a second-team All-Big Sky Conference bid. He finished the year with 40 tackles, two for loss and 11 pass breakups. He played sparingly during his sophomore and junior seasons after a productive freshman season.
Mims is the son of former Falcons wide receiver David Mims, who played with the team in 1993 and 1994. The younger Mims shined as a junior, earning first-team All-Sun Belt honors after tallying 48 tackles, five interceptions and three pass breakups in 12 starts. His production slipped as a senior, when he finished with 57 tackles, no interceptions and five pass breakups. He was a participant in the East-West Shrine Game.
Sefon was a four-year starter at boundary corner, earning All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference honors every year at St. Cloud State. He started 47 games, tallying six interceptions and 24 pass breakups during his career. He also added 217 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during his career.
Neasman is a former walk-on that wound up earning a spot as a team captain and Student Athlete of the Year as a senior at safety. He started 12 games this past fall, recording 74 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups. He was an NFLPA Bowl participant. He measured in at 5’11” and 206 pounds at his pro day, running a 4.68-second 40, but also a 6.78-second three-cone drill.
Poole played alongside Falcons top pick safety Keanu Neal at Florida, starting 22 games over the past three years at both cornerback and in the nickel. In that span, he totaled 117 tackles, 8.5 for loss, six interceptions, 23 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Measuring in at 5’10” and 209 pounds at his pro day, he could potentially be considered a safety for the Falcons. He ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash and was a participant in the East-West Shrine Game.
Perkins was a productive two-year starter at tight end at Washington, recording a career-high of 36 catches for 539 yards (15.0 avg) and three scores as a senior. However he is a bit undersized for the position, measuring in at just 6’3″ and 223 pounds at his pro day and could instead be seen as a receiver at the NFL level. He was a participant in the NFLPA Bowl.
Ratelle played middle linebacker at North Dakota, but will be making the move to offense in the pros due to his shorter stature (5’10” and 251 pounds at his pro day). He set the single-season record for tackles with 110 as a senior, breaking the record he had set the previous year with 106 tackles. He was a two-time All-Big Sky Conference honoree as such, totalling 18 tackles for loss, six tackles and one interception over his last two seasons. He ran a 4.57-second 40 at his pro day.
Rose served primarily as a kickoff specialist at Texas for all four years after walking on to the team as a freshman. He did add place-kicking duties as a junior and senior. During that span, he managed to connect on 27 of 38 field-goal attempts and 68 of 71 extra points. He played in 51 career games, kicking the ball off 281 times and tallying 153 touchbacks. He allowed the fewest returns in the nation in each of his past two years, with only 27 of his 124 kickoffs being returned.
Wilds served primarily as a reserve behind running backs Marcus Lattimore and Mike Davis, both of whom were drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 and 2015, respectively, early in his career. Wilds finally emerged as the lead tailback as a senior, when he led the team with 123 carries, 567 yards (4.6 avg) and three scores. He was hampered by injuries throughout his sophomore and senior seasons. He was a participant in the NFLPA Bowl. He weighed in at 220 pounds at his pro day and ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash.