Falcons Swap in Three Undrafted Rookies From Tryouts

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY SportsSIU pass-rusher Brandon Williams (left)

The Atlanta Falcons announced on this afternoon that they have waived four of their undrafted free agent signings and added three tryout players to the roster. The Falcons waived defensvie tackle Gerald Dixon, Jr., guard Alex Fifita and wide receivers Malachi Jones and David Richards. That freed up roster spots for tryout players: offensive guard Shahbaz Ahmed, wide receiver David Glidden and defensive end Brandon Williams. The team had brought in 27 such players to compete for a chance to land a contract with the team during this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

These moves leave one vacancy on the team’s 90-man roster limit, fueling speculation that a veteran signing might be coming down the pipeline. The Falcons brought in veteran cornerback Leon Hall earlier this week, but all signs point to that move being more to find out more information about Hall’s injury question marks since the nine-year is coming off offseason back surgery.

Dixon and Jones have NFL bloodlines, being the sons of former NFL players. The same could be said of Ahmed, who is the nephew of former NFL defensive end Willie Whitehead, who played eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints from 1999 to 2006. That makes him cousins with current Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead.

Ahmed was a three-time All-Academic honoree while at Temple. He began his career at defensive end, where he started five games as a sophomore and produced three tackles for loss, two sacks and nine tackles. He then moved to offensive line as a junior, starting nine games that season (eight at left guard and one at left tackle). He started 13 of 14 games as a senior at left guard. He measured in at 6’3” and 303 pounds at his pro day, and lifted 225 pounds 26 times on the bench press.

Glidden led Oklahoma State in receptions each of the past two years, combining for 99 catches in both years. His most productive season came as a senior, catching 57 passes for 866 yards (15.2 avg) and three scores. The undersized slot receiver measured in at 5’8” and 173 pounds at his pro day, clocking a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and 7.20-second three-cone drill.

Williams was a productive defender that played three defensive spots throughout his collegiate career at Southern Illinois. He finished this past year at outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense, tallying career-highs of 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He also added 49 tackles, three blocked kicks and returned a blocked punt 37 yards for a touchdown. He had a knack for making plays on special teams, finishing his career with five blocked kicks. He began his career playing nose guard up front, before moving to defensive end as a sophomore. He returned a fumble recovery 55 yards during his freshman year for another score. Measuring in at 6’5” and 256 pounds at his pro day, he impressed with a 4.72-second 40-yard dash time, 7.27-second three-cone, 24 bench reps and a 37-inch vertical jump.

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Aaron Freeman
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