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Closer Look At Draft Class


The Atlanta Falcons selected six players in the 2011 NFL Draft, including WR Julio Jones (6th overall), LB Akeem Dent (91st overall), RB Jacquizz Rodgers (145th overall), K/P Matt Bosher (192nd overall), OL Andrew Jackson (210th overall), and DE Cliff Matthews (230th overall).

Atlanta traded its first (27th overall), second (59th overall) and fourth (124th overall) round selections in 2011, as well as its first and fourth round selections in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns to move up 21 spots to take Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones with the sixth overall selection.

Jones established himself as one of the premier wide receivers in college football at the University of Alabama, earning second team All-America honors and first team All-SEC honors as a junior. In 40 games, he caught 179 passes for 2,653 yards with 15 touchdowns, and compiled 3,084 all-purpose yards. His 179 receptions rank second all-time at Alabama, while his 2,653 receiving yards rank second in school history, and his 15 touchdowns are tied for fourth in Crimson Tide annals.

On day two, the Falcons selected University of Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent (91st overall) in the third round. Dent emerged as one of the elite tacklers in the Southeastern Conference in 2010 after receiving All-SEC second team honors and leading the Bulldogs with 126 tackles (69 solo), 2.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. His 126 total tackles were the most by a Georgia linebacker in a single season since 1996.

Atlanta kicked off the third and final day of the draft with another trade in the fifth round, sending the 158th overall selection (fifth round) and the 229th overall selection (seventh round) to the St. Louis Rams to take Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers with the 145th overall pick. The Falcons also selected University of Miami (FL) punter/kicker Matt Bosher (192nd overall) in the sixth round and Fresno State offensive lineman Andrew Jackson (210th overall), and South Carolina defensive end Cliff Matthews (230th overall) in the seventh round.

Rodgers, 5-6, 196 pounds, was the focal point of the OSU offense as he was an impact player in both the running game and the passing game. The Richmond, Texas native caught a school record 151 passes in his career and his 4,929 all-purpose yards rank sixth in school annals behind his brother James Rodgers (5,784) and Ken Simonton (5,606). He is also one of only three players in school history to post 1,000-plus yards both rushing and receiving for his career. In 36 games with the Beavers, Rodgers rushed for 3,877 yards and accounted for 46 touchdowns. He is a three-time first team All-Pac 10 selection and a two-time Associated Press All America selection.

Bosher, 6-0, 208 pounds, handled both punting and placekicking duties while playing at the University of Miami. In his career, he punted 234 times for 9,754 yards for a 41.68-yard average, placing 70 of his attempts inside the 20-yard line. He had 49 kicks for 50-yards-or-longer and had 82 of his punts result in fair catches. The Jupiter, Florida native hit 127 of 130 PATs and hit 45 of 53 field goal attempts, scoring 260 points. A three-time All-ACC selection, Bosher played in 50 games at Miami which is tied for the third-most in school history. He is just the sixth punter to be drafted by the Falcons and the first since Harold Alexander was selected in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft out of Appalachian State.

Jackson, 6-5, 299 pounds, helped make Fresno State one of the best power rushing offenses in the NCAA. As a junior, he became the first Bulldog player to earn first team Academic All-America honors and earned first team All-WAC honors. During the same season he blocked for the Ryan Mathews who led the nation with 150.67 rushing yards per game. In 2008, Jackson earned second team All-WAC honors and was part of an offensive line that opened holes for an offense that ranked third in the WAC in rushing at 176.8 yards per game. He also started the final 11 games of his red shirt freshman season and earned academic All-WAC honors.

Matthews, 6-4, 268 pounds, posted 144 total tackles, including 16.0 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in four years at South Carolina. He notched a season high seven total tackles (four solo) in the SEC Championship game. In 2009, he earned second team All-SEC honors after recording 47 tackles (35 solo) and a career high 7.0 sacks. He ranked in the SEC's top-five in sacks, led the league with four fumble recoveries, and was tied for second in the conference with three forced fumbles. The Cheraw, South Carolina native was named Freshman All-SEC and honorable mention All-American by Sporting News as an outside linebacker in his freshman campaign.

#### First Round: Alabama Wide Receiver Julio Jones

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#### Third Round: Georgia LB Akeem Dent

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#### Fifth Round: Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers

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#### Sixth Round: Miami Punter Matt Bosher

#### Seventh Round: South Carolina Defensive End Cliff Matthews

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