Quinn Excited About Undrafted Rookie Crop

The fast-paced 2015 rookie minicamp continued on Saturday as the players and coaches hit the fields in Flowery Branch. Check out these photos from the day.

Over the last few years, the Falcons have been able to fill some crucial roster spots by dipping into the undrafted free agent pool.

Paul Worrilow, for example, won the starting middle linebacker job as a rookie and has led the team in tackles in each of his two professional campaigns. Fellow 2013 signee Joplo Bartu's earned time at outside linebacker and has played in every regular season game since coming to Atlanta. In 2014, Ryan Schraeder and James Stone proved to be solid options when injuries ravaged the Falcons' offensive line.

The latest crop of undrafted rookies includes several noteworthy prospects, as well. Among them could be a number of valuable assets for new head coach Dan Quinn.

"As a coach, you have this great satisfaction of taking a (college free agent) to where you think he can go and do the things on your team," Quinn said Friday. "It happens all around the league.

"There will be some people that will surprise us. I don't know who they are yet, way too early in the program to tell. But I imagine there will be some people that are here at the camp today who have an excellent chance of being on a team just by the way that they play — the style, the attitude."

One player who could surprise is New Mexico State's Valerian Ume-Ezeoke. As mentioned on Friday, Ume-Ezeoke had a great senior year with the Aggies. He allowed just three quarterback disruptions all season, according to Pro Football Focus, and graded as the third best FBS center.

Although New Mexico State isn't in a particularly difficult conference, head coach Doug Martin said Ume-Ezeoke held his own against bigger programs such as Texas and UCLA. But, despite his recent success and a pro day that was described as "awesome", the 6-foot-2, 305-pound lineman went undrafted.

This could be a blessing for the Falcons, whom Ume-Ezeoke said were "probably the most interested team throughout this entire process."

Joey Mbu, projected to go as high as the fourth round, is an intriguing option at defensive tackle. The University of Houston product earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors by recording 32 tackles (4.5 for loss) and 2.5 sacks as a senior.

Viewed as a prototypical NT capable of playing in the 3-4 or 4-3 formation, Mbu could eventually aid the Falcons' run defense. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 313 pounds, he certainly has the build coaches like from interior D-linemen. His 35-inch arms are the longest among DLs who attended the Combine. 

Shane Wynn, one of Tevin Coleman's teammates at Indiana, is a fast, undersized wide receiver who ran a scorching 4.29-second 40-yard dash at the Hoosiers' pro day—faster than all but one player at the Combine (J.J. Nelson, UAB). According to the Indianapolis Star, he reportedly turned in a 4.25-second 40 on his first attempt. If true, that would put him one-one hundredth of a second behind the best Combine run since 1999, when electric timing was first used. 

Wynn caught 56 passes during his senior season, three of which were touchdowns, for 708 yards.  The 5-foot-6 wideout also notched two rushing scores and 138 yards on the ground.

Consider Wynn's production on special teams—last year he returned 11 kickoffs for 244 yards and 13 punts for 69 yards—and it's easy to see why the Falcons are interested in his services.  If he can overcome his diminutive frame, Wynn could be of use in a limited capacity.   

This weekend, he should see a lot of cornerback Kevin White (not to be confused with the wide receiver with the same name) out of TCU. NFL Network's Mike Mayock liked what he saw from White's pro day and compared the young DB to Jason Verrett, a first round pick last spring.

At 5-foot-10, White doesn't have ideal size, but he does excel in man-to-man coverage—a skill Quinn greatly appreciates. 

Damian Parms is another defensive back who fits Quinn's mold. Aggressive, tall and reportedly comfortable in man coverage underneath, he could be a nice fit in Atlanta's new defense. The Florida Atlantic safety finished 2014 with 84 tackles, good for second on his team.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising