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Falcons Sign Southward; Add Kicker Castillo

June 12th, 2014 Comments off
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Dezmen Southward

The Atlanta Falcons announced today the signing of third-round rookie draft pick safety Dezmen Southward and also signed undrafted kicker Sergio Castillo. Southward was the lone member of the Falcons’ 2014 draft class that had yet to be signed. Castillo adds another leg in training camp after the team released undrafted punter Matt Yoklic earlier this week. Along with Yoklic, the team dumped tight end Andrew Szczerba, freeing up some roster space. The team has one spot left on their roster, which may be to sign a free-agent linebacker such as Tim Dobbins, who earlier reports indicated was working out for the team today.

Southward is expected to fill a backup role with the Falcons and is likely destined to be their free safety of the future behind starter Dwight Lowery. Southward has also been getting work as a reserve at strong safety in light of the neck injury to Zeke Motta that has him sidelined during the offseason.

Castillo is an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A&M who finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in points scored (437). Castillo won the Fred Mitchell Award, given to the nation’s top kicker outside of FBS play. Castillo is a two-time All-Conference player and two-time Division II All-American honoree. He also finsihed his career as the school’s all-time leader in field goals made (62). Castillo was very accreted throughout his career, connecting on 78.5 percent of his 79 career tries. He also hit on 251 of 255 extra point tries in his career (98.4 percent). As a senior, he had career-highs with 24 field goals made and 149 points scored. He also had 16 career kickoffs with a pair of touchbacks.

As a follow-up to this morning’s report about the Falcons interest in veteran free-agent linebackers, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reported that the Falcons are working out ex-Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins today. Dobbins has experience playing for Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, having played under him with the Miami Dolphins in 2010. Dobbins entered the league in 2006 and has been primarily a special teams player and reserve with 22 career starts.

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 68 “Go Blame Thomas Dimitroff!”

June 12th, 2014 1 comment

Allen and I are back with our friend Steve Cohen to discuss the Atlanta Falcons offseason and the latest happenings in OTAs. We discuss the injuries to Julio Jones, Zeke Motta and Levine Toilolo; what role will Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith have at running back; trade rumors surrounding Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore; the Falcons front office’s aggressiveness with making moves at the end of training camp; competition featuring Dwight Lowery vs. Dezmen Southward; whether Desmond Trufant could be used as a shadow corner; recent quarterback contracts around the league and the NBA Finals. The podcast ends with Allen and my live reactions to news of Sean Weatherspoon’s season-ending injury.

Episode 68 – Go Blame Thomas Dimitroff! [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Allen covers the Falcons for Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Steve can be found on twitter: @SteveInBrooklyn

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! For Android users, DoubleTwist is a good app to listen as well. You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 67 “Coming to Terms With Prince Shembo”

May 18th, 2014 Comments off

I am joined by Jeanna Thomas of The Falcoholic to give a more positive spin on the Atlanta Falcons 2014 draft class plus some of the early developments in the team’s rookie mini-camp. The conversation then dives deep into a discussion of Falcons fourth-round selection, linebacker Prince Shembo, and his alleged off-field incident during his time at Notre Dame. We do our best to figure out how they can reconcile our issues over the incident.

Episode 67 – Coming to Terms With Prince Shembo [Download]

Duration: 41 minutes

Jeanna writes for The Falcoholic and can be found on twitter: @jeannathomas. You can read Jeanna’s article referred to in the episode by clicking here.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Atlanta Falcons 2014 Rookie Scouting Report: Dezmen Southward

May 16th, 2014 Comments off
Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Dezmen Southward

A breakdown of the Atlanta Falcons’ third-round pick, Wisconsin safety Dezmen Southward.

BIO

Height: 6′
Weight: 211
College: Wisconsin
40 Time: 4.40 (Campus)
Three-Cone: 6.50 (Campus)

He was born on October 1, 1990 and attended St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Played only one year of high school football as a senior, but his team was named National Champs that year. Same defensive backfield produced fellow 2014 draft prospects, Lamarcus Joyner and Marcus Roberson, both of whom were juniors on that team. He spent first three years playing basketball and track and field. His stepfather, Eli Rasheed, is a former defensive lineman at Indiana University and is currently a defensive line coach at Toledo University.

He redshirted during his freshman year at Wisconsin and played in 13 games as a reserve as a sophomore, recording eight tackles. Earned three starts as a sophomore at strong safety in 14 appearances, tallying 35 tackles, two pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles. Earned starting spot at free safety as a junior, starting a total of 14 games. He had 69 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one interception, four pass breakups and a forced fumble. Started 13 games as a senior with 40 tackles, 3.5 for loss, one interception, 5 breakups, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Finished his career with a school-record 54 games played and also started 28 consecutive games, indicative of his durability. Earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors both as a junior and senior.

Competed in spring of 2013 at Wisconsin in 100 meters and 4×100 relay due to injuries to other sprints.

Noted for intelligence, scoring a 31 on his Wonderlic where the average for a safety is 19. Was medically excluded from Combine due to wrist and spine injuries, although he was later cleared and fully participated at his pro day. Measured a 42-inch vertical at the pro day, indicative of his basketball background.

2013 GAMES WATCHED

Date
Opponent
TFL
Stop
FF
Press
Miss Tkl
Pen
Pen. Type
Sep-14Arizona State010001personal foul
Sep-28Ohio State00.50030N/A
Nov-02Iowa1.511110N/A
Nov-23Minnesota000010N/A
Jan-01South Carolina000100N/A

Date
Opponent
Tgt
Rec.
Yds
YAC
TD
UC
YPT
INT
PD
Sep-14Arizona State7473140110.4311
Sep-28Ohio State2110100.5000
Nov-02Iowa3140001.3301
Nov-23Minnesota2104010.0000
Jan-01South Carolina449951024.7500

UC – indicates an uncatchable pass.

SKILLS
The grading system is based on a 10-point scale: 1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite.

Speed (9.0) - Has excellent speed, timing well at Wisconsin’s pro day and also being clocked at 10.97 seconds in 100 meters during the spring of 2013. Plays to that speed and has the ability to run very well in a straight line. Shows good burst upfield to defend the run out on the edge and can run with receivers on vertical routes.
Read more…

FalcFans Podcast – Ep. 66 “Tear Down Your Hopes and Dreams”

May 13th, 2014 Comments off

Allen and I are joined by The Falcoholic contributor, Murf Baldwin, to discuss our thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons 2014 draft class. Murf gives a less than glowing assessment of the Falcons picks, including whether or not Ra’Shede Hageman and Dezmen Southward offered good value in the second and third rounds. We wonder whether or not the Falcons pass rush has been significantly improved and break down whether Devonta Freeman and their late-round picks add anything to the roster that wasn’t already there. Allen and I finish with a brief discussion of our hopes for the NBA playoffs, our usual around the league segment, as well as Allen’s explanation on why he could not make a triumphant return to Radio City Music Hall to witness the draft.

Episode 66 – Tear Down Your Hopes and Dreams [Download]

Duration: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Allen covers the Falcons for Pro Football Spot. His twitter handle is: @Allen_Strk.

Murf writes for The Falcoholic, Roll Bama Roll and can be found on twitter: @MurfBaldwin.

If you have any questions and comments, you can hit us up on Twitter, post in the forums in the podcast thread, or drop an e-mail at: pudge@falcfans.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and be sure to rate us there! You can also subscribe directly to our feed at the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/falcfans/LXSt

Takeaways from 2014 NFL Draft – May 12, 2014

May 12th, 2014 1 comment
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons 2014 Top Selection: Jake Matthews

Normally I write my weekly takeaways column on Sunday afternoon or evening with the intention of it being posted first thing Monday morning around 8:00 a.m. This week, that was no the case.

That’s partly to blame for the fact that it was Mother Day’s weekend, and instead of doing all the things I normally would have done on a Sunday afternoon/evening to get this weekly column posted, I decided to spend time with my mother, who had driven four hors from Virginia to North Carolina to witness my sister-in-law’s graduation from grad school. In the interest of being a good son, my mother took precedent over this column.

Secondly, I had not watched all of the Atlanta Falcons 2014 draft picks play yet. And the column after the draft is the one devoted to my thoughts on whether I believe the Falcons’ draft was a good one or not.

Because unlike most people, I try to be informed before giving my opinions. If you want to know my take on any of the Falcons undrafted free agents, I don’t have one because I haven’t seen any of them play. Until I do, which will be in the first preseason game, my opinion on them will remain largely non-existent.

I was born in 1983, so I spent a significant portion existing in a world without the internet. That was a world where people couldn’t post their opinions, thoughts or insights with the click of a button on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or in Yahoo! News comments.

Back in those times, the only people that were given a platform to express opinions were people that had earned that right to be called experts in their give fields. There was a filter, and it was one that you had to work hard to break through.

The idea that Courtney Love could be involved in finding a missing plane in that time was laughable at best. Instead of social media, people expressed their opinions to companions and family members in their respective living rooms, kitchen dinner tables or bars.

But that age doesn’t exist anymore, and now people are free to give their opinions with no filter. Today, everything is thrown at the wall, and it’s only a matter of what sticks.

Why am I telling you this? Because one of the things I find fascinating is how everybody, including those least informed, will give their opinions on the draft. Besides watching a YouTube highlight clip and reading a bunch of online scouting reports, most people aren’t informed about most of these players with their own eyes.

It often leads to people have overly optimistic expectations about a particular draft prospect, or overly pessimistic ones. There is no longer a middle ground. And people should know that most things fall into that middle area.

I’m saying all this because I believe it will take time to see how these draft prospects develop. Patience is really the key, and while it won’t stop me from having an opinion today, I’m at least aware of the fact that what my opinion today is relatively meaningless in the big picture. That big picture will be determined by where the Falcons 2014 draft picks are three to five years from now.

What will this column will entail from this point is my best guess on where those players will be at that point. While that guess is an educated one based off informed analysis from watching these guys play a handful of collegiate games, it is still a guess nonetheless.

Read more…

Falcons Take Dez Southward in Third Round of 2014 NFL Draft

May 9th, 2014 Comments off
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Dezmen Southward

The Atlanta Falcons selected Wisconsin safety Dezmen Southward in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, taking him with the 68th overall selection.

Southward joins second-round pick Ra’Shede Hageman as a fellow Senior Bowl participant targeted by the team, suiting up for the North squad under the Falcons’ guidance during the all-star week in January. Southward is a two-year starter at Wisconsin, playing both free safety and strong safety. During his time at the Senior Bowl, he also got work at cornerback.

Southward measured in at 6′ and 211 pounds at the Scouting Combine in February. He did not participate in any drills to injury issues, but did have an outstanding pro day in early March, where he was clocked as fast as 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash and had a 40-inch vertical jump. He also posted a 6.50-second three-cone drill and leapt 10 feet, 4 inches on his broad jump during his pro day workout.

Southward started the final 28 games over his career and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten candidate over his final two seasons at Wisconsin. During that time, he combined for 109 tackles, 11.5 for loss, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups.

Southward’s stepfather, Eli Rasheed, is currently the defensive line coach at Toledo University. Southward did not play football until his senior year of high school, previously playing basketball and running track. He worked on the track and field team briefly during 2013 while at Wisconsin, filling in as an injury replacement on their 4×100 meter relay team.

Categories: Draft Central, News Tags: ,

Falcons Pro Day Round-Up 3/8

March 8th, 2014 Comments off
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews

Recapping all the latest from the Atlanta Falcons in regards to pro day visits and draft interest from this past week:

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was present at Texas A&M on Tuesday to mingle with old colleagues and check out offensive tackle Jake Matthews. Matthews was the main attraction since quarterback Johnny Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans opted not to work out, instead waiting for a later workout planned for March 27. Matthews stuck with positional drills, standing on his Combine numbers from last month.

Matthews is considered a potential target for the Falcons at the top of May’s draft.

Of those that did participate, running back Ben Malena measured in at 5-8, 194 pounds and did 27 bench reps of 225 pounds, ran a 4.54-second 40 time and jumped 33.5 inches on his vertical leap.

***

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reports that the Falcons sent two representatives to Clemson’s pro day on Friday, including new hire Billy Devaney, to check out that school’s top prospects.

While wide receiver Sammy Watkins drew a lot of praise from onlookers, Ledbetter touts quarterback Tajh Boyd’s performance. Boyd, who struggled during the Senior Bowl, was able to rebound by completing 66 of 67 scripted passes at his workout throwing to receivers like Watkins.

Read more…