The Atlanta Falcons selected former Wisconsin safety Dezmen Southward with the 68th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and on Thursday, the club announced that Southward has officially signed his contract to join the organization. However, the more significant news on the day was that Southward’s deal officially signals the completed draft class for the Falcons.
The Falcons have signed third-rounder Dezmen Southward today. The entire 2014 Rookie Club is now under contract. #RiseUp
— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) June 12, 2014
While the selection of Southward certainly wasn’t as high profile as that of Jake Matthews or even Ra’Shede Hageman, he could certainly fill a need at the back end of the much-maligned defense. There is some legitimate concern about Southward’s ability to play right away, given his “raw” pedigree to this point, but there is undeniable talent there, and that is encouraging.
The big story in Flowery Branch this week was the catastrophic loss of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, but the completion of the 2014 class should remove some of the negative energy and solidify the roster. The national media isn’t consistently on board with the direction of the roster, but if Thomas Dimitroff and company can hit a few home runs (or even some doubles) with this class, it could go a long way toward big-time progress on the defensive side of the ball.