EDITOR'S NOTE: Sean Weatherspoon is scheduled to meet with the media at 4 p.m. Friday, April 23. The event will be shown LIVE on AF.com.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons today selected outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon with their first round (19th overall) pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Weatherspoon, 6-1, 239 pounds, was a standout linebacker at the University of Missouri where he started each of his final 41 games and recorded 413 career tackles (240 solo), 12.5 sacks, 43.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 17 passes defensed.
"Sean Weatherspoon was a guy that we had targeted all along," said Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. "We were very excited to have the opportunity to take an outside linebacker that is going to ramp up our speed, our enthusiasm and our athleticism. In our minds, he is a guy that is going to be a four-down player for us."
The Jasper, Texas native is just the third player in school history to lead the team in tackles three times in a career as his 413 stops rank third in school history and 10th on the Big 12 Conference all-time list. Last season, Weatherspoon was voted a second-team All-America selection by the Associated Press, The Sporting News and Walter Camp while earning third-team honors from The NFL Draft Report. As a team captain last year, his 111 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one interception landed him as a Butkus Award finalist, Lombardi Award semifinalist and Lott Trophy quarterfinalist.
"We have a very urgent and passionate football player that can play both the Sam and Will linebacker in our scheme," said Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. "Sean was very productive at the University of Missouri and I think he is a guy that is able to matchup and play tight ends as well as play in the box."
For three consecutive years (2007-09), Weatherspoon was named a first-team All-Big 12 selection as he averaged 132 tackles per season. In his junior campaign (2008), he set collegiate-highs in tackles (155), tackles for loss (18.5), interceptions (three) and sacks (five).
As a prep star at Jasper High School, Weatherspoon was named the Texas District 22-3A Player of the Year as a senior while adding second-team all-state honors. He also added all-state honors in track as a high jumper and was an all-district performer as a guard in basketball.
Weatherspoon becomes the first linebacker selected by the Falcons in the first round of the NFL Draft since Keith Brooking was picked as the 12th overall selection in 1998 out of Georgia Tech. He is also the fourth player in Falcons history selected from the University of Missouri and the second in as many years (William Moore, second round in 2009).
MORE ON WEATHERSPOON:**
BIO:Weatherspoon's bio on AF.com * PHOTOS:Images of new Falcon Sean Weatherspoon * VIDEO:NFL Network highlights of Weatherspoon* *