The Falcons have agreed to terms with LB Justin Durant, who was selected by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2007 draft and has played in Jacksonville, Detroit and Dallas.
The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have agreed to terms with linebacker Justin Durant, guard Mike Person, and linebacker Brooks Reed. The club has also agreed to terms with running back Antone Smith.
"We are excited about adding these guys to our team," said Head Coach Dan Quinn. "We believe that they all possess skill sets that fit our schemes and will be pieces to what we are putting together. This is just the first step in putting our roster together and I am fired up about getting to connect and work with all of our guys come April 6."
Durant, 6-1, 230 pounds, was originally selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round (48th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Hampton. He played four seasons in Jacksonville before signing with the Detroit Lions in 2011. After two seasons with the Lions, Durant signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2013. He has played in 95 games with 80 starts while totaling tackles 512 tackles (406 solo), 3.5 sacks, three interceptions, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and 19 passes defensed.
Last season, Durant started six games and was the Cowboy's leading tackler with 59 stops before suffering and injury in Week 8. He saw action in 10 games, including six starts in his first season in Dallas in 2013 and notched 24 tackles (14 solo). In two seasons with the Detroit Lions, Durant played in 29 games while making 26 starts. He collared 171 tackles (135 solo), 1.5 sacks, and 16 tackles for loss during that time. Durant spent the first four years of his career with the Jaguars, where he tallied 268 tackles (226 solo), two sacks, two interceptions, 16 tackles for loss, and 11 passes defensed.
Durant started 39 of 43 games at Hampton University and ended his career ranking second on the school's all-time tackles list (353) while also adding 10 sacks, three fumble recoveries, and four interceptions. He was the first player in the history of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to earn MEAC Defensive Player of the Year honors three times. A South Carolina native attended Wilson High School in Florence where he was a teammate of Pittsburgh Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons.
"We feel that these signings fit the schemes that Dan and his staff are implementing here," stated General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. "We knew that we needed to add some players through free agency and we think we have gotten off to a solid start this evening."
Person, 6-4, 300 pounds, was originally selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round (239th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Montana State. He spent time with the 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, and Seattle Seahawks before being claimed off of waivers by the St. Louis Rams in 2013. Person has played in 17 games in his career, including all 16 games last season.
The Glendive, Montana native started 34 straight games at Montana State where he earned first-team All-Big Sky honors as well as MSU's Chuck Karnop Award for Toughness and the D'Agostino Family Strength Award.
Reed, 6-3, 254 pounds, was originally selected by the Houston Texans in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Arizona. He started 52 of 59 career games, recording 211 tackles (122 solo), 14.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in four seasons in Houston.
Last season, Reed started 13 of 16 games and finished with 41 tackles, three sacks, 10 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, four passes defensed, and one interception. He started all 16 games at strong side linebacker for the first time in his career and totaled career-highs with 87 tackles (48 solo) and nine tackles for loss to go along with six quarterback hits and three sacks in 2013. Reed started in all 12 games he played and recorded 42 tackles (23 solo), 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2012. As a rookie in 2011, he started 11 of 16 games, and recorded 44 tackles (30 solo), two fumble recoveries, and a franchise-rookie record with six sacks.
The Falcons agreed to terms with Brooks Reed, who spent four seasons in Houston after being selected by the Texans in the second round of the 2011 draft
Reed started 34 of 45 games at Arizona, recording 114 tackles (61 solo), 17 sacks and 25 tackles for loss for his career. He also forced four fumbles and deflected four pass attempts. Reed earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors after starting all 13 games in his senior season with the Wildcats, tallying a career-best 47 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss along with two passes defensed and one forced fumble. He attended Sabino High School in Tucson, Arizona.
Smith, 5-9, 192 pounds, was originally signed as a college free agent by the Detroit Lions following the 2009 NFL Draft. He spent training camp with the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans prior to being signed to the Falcons practice squad on October 21, 2009. In five seasons, Smith has totaled 286 yards on 29 carries with four touchdowns on the ground while adding 232 yards on 15 catches, and three touchdowns. He has averaged 9.9 yards per carry, 15.5 yards per reception, and 11.8 yards per touch during his career.
Smith had a career year in 2014 despite suffering a season ending injury. He logged 366 scrimmage yards on 36 touches with five touchdowns last season. He scored a 54-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the season opener against New Orleans and followed that up with a touchdown runs of 38 and 48 yards against Tampa Bay and at Minnesota in Week 2 and Week 3. Smith continued his streak of explosive scores with a career long 74-yard touchdown at the New York Giants in Week 5 and a 41-yard touchdown reception against the Chicago Bears in Week 6.