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NFC South 2014 Rookie Grades

Atlanta Falcons

Jake Matthews

Jake Matthews

Draft Class:

1. Jake Matthews (OT)

2. Ra’Shede Hageman (DT)

3. Dezmen Southward (FS)

4. Devonta Freeman (RB)

4. Prince Shembo (LB)

5. Ricardo Allen (CB)

5. Marquis Spruill (LB)

7. Yawin Smallwood (LB)

7. Tyler Starr (LB)

The Atlanta Falcons had one of the biggest drafts last year, taking nine players.

Left tackle Jake Matthews was taken with the sixth overall pick and had a serviceable season as a starter. He played in 15 of the Falcons’ 16 games and while it will take a little time for him to build a name that resembles his cousin Clay Matthews with the Green Bay Packers, Jake looked good.

Running back Devonta Freeman looks like he could be a good dual threat running back. He led the team’s running backs in receptions with 30 catches on 38 targets for 225 yards. Freeman looks to be a good fit in Atlanta’s offense.

On defense, Hageman, Southward and Shembo didn’t impress as much. Out of the three, Shembo produced the most, but it will be interesting to see what happens when they get a chance to work with new defensive-minded coach Dan Quinn.

Atlanta didn’t get much from their late-round picks as Ricardo Allen, Marquis Spruill and Tyler Starr did not make it onto the field at their position. Starr made a couple of appearances on special teams, but did not record any stats. Yawin Smallwood was cut by the team in training camp and signed with the Tennessee Titans.

Grade: C+

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