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What Day 3 NFL Draft picks said about joining the Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons selected five picks on Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The 2024 NFL Draft comes to an end as the Falcons selected five picks on Day 3.

Atlanta continued to load up on defensive talent while supplementing depth offensively.

Here's a snapshot of what each pick had to say after getting selected by Atlanta.

Oregon defensive end Brandon Dorlus (3) smiles on the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Utah Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

No. 109 overall (fourth round) — Brandon Dorlus, DT

The Falcons selected three straight players to support the defensive front, and all have described themselves as versatile. Brandon Dorlus is no different. While Dorlus has primarily played on the interior, he said that's not all he has to his game.

"I'm more of a guy who does not just one thing. I feel I can do everything," Dorlus said. "I can play to stop the run, I can pass rush from anywhere."

Dorlus started three seasons as Duck, making his first career start in the 2020 Pac-12 championship game. Overall he recorded 106 tackles, 27 for loss and 12 sacks. In his final season, he also tallied eight pass breakups adding another asset to his versatile game.

"I used to be the guy who wants to go kill the quarterback," Dorlus said, "but this last year I was just more detailed in my approach to the quarterback."

Atlanta picked Dorlus off the board early in the fourth round when The Athletic’s Dane Brugler's The Beast draft guide projected the defensive lineman as a third-round pick and the eighth-best amongst defensive tackles.

Notre Dame linebacker JD Bertrand (27) runs the ball after a catch during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

No. 143 overall (fifth round) — JD Bertrand, ILB

JD Bertrand got the call from Falcons leadership from his draft party in Roswell, Georgia. When he saw the caller ID read "Flowery Branch" he knew exactly what was about to happen next.

"I couldn't imagine a better scenario," Bertrand said.

When he met with Atlanta general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Raheem Morris at the Falcons pro day April 12, he thought about how he'd love the chance to play for his hometown team, and now it's a reality.

Bertrand came away from the meeting feeling like there was a mutual good impression left. He said he felt like the Falcons got to know him as a player and person, and he was sold on Atlanta's vision of bringing in the best people to help players excel. It's something he recognized when he committed to Notre Dame.

The linebacker led the Irish in tackles for three straight seasons (259). In that span, he also recorded 23 tackles for loss, six sacks and nine pass breakups.

The incoming rookie will join an inside linebacker core of Kaden Elliss, Troy Andersen and Nate Landman. Bertrand said his goal is to come and show that he can make an impact on both special teams and defense.

Finding any way to help his team win isn't a new experience. When Blessed Trinity High School won its second straight state championship, Bertrand was sidelined with a knee injury. Instead, he acted as a coach in the title game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Now, he'll get to begin his NFL career in the same building.

"That's always been the dream," Bertrand said, "and now I have the opportunity to continue to improve upon that dream and make it everything I dreamed of."

Alabama running back Jase McClellan (2) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

No. 186 overall (sixth round) — Jase McClellan, RB

The Falcons selected two offensive players on Day 3, running back Jase McClellan was the first.

McClellan said he met with the Falcons at the combine and had subsequent Zoom meetings that led him to get selected by the franchise.

The running back will join a Falcons position group already brimmed with talent from Bijan Robinson to Tyler Allgeier. Like other rookies especially taken in later rounds, McClellan is prepared to make an impact on special teams. It's something he's worked on since he was a freshman with the Crimson Tide.

It was an uphill battle after McClellan tore his ACL in 2021. Still, he recovered to become a contributor to a premier program at Alabama.

"It was one of my first injuries," McClellan said. "Just not knowing how to process it."

However, the running back got his moment and became RB1 in his senior season recording 890 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Iowa defensive back Jermari Harris (27) breaks up pass intended for Illinois wide receiver Casey Washington (14) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 15-13. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

No. 187 overall (sixth round) — Casey Washington, WR

After Casey Washington met with the Falcons in the draft process, the Illinois wide receiver was excited about the prospect of coming to Atlanta.

Still, it was a surreal moment when he saw his name on the TV with the Falcons logo after getting the official call from Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Raheem Morris.

"My heart just dropped," Washington said. "I'm still probably processing the emotions a little bit, and I'm sure later on I'll start to cry a little bit."

Washington had his best season in his senior year recording 670 yards and his career four touchdowns in 2023. Zooming in further, three of the four scores came in his final game.

It was a journey to get here. Washington wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school. His mother helped him by finding every recruiting camp possible which ultimately led him to the Fighting Illini.

"Good, bad or indifferent. My story has been my story," Washington said. "...It all happened and all worked itself out. I'm an Atlanta Falcon now."

Along with playing football, Washington is also excited to get to Atlanta for the local food spots. So, if you have recommendations send it his way.

Georgia defensive lineman Zion Logue (96) works against Florida offensive lineman Jean Delance (56) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

No. 197 overall (sixth round) — Zion Logue, DT

The Falcons final pick, Zion Logue, was their third defensive tackle.

"I still can't put it into words," Logue said reflecting on the moment the Falcon drafted him. "Just to stay in Georgia, I'm ready to get started, honestly."

Logue recorded 10 of his 16 starts in his final season in Athens. He recorded 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a half sack in 2023.

Like Dorlus and Ruke Orhorhoro, Logue can play multiple roles on the line. His time with Kirby Smart at Georgia taught him to be adaptable. He said he had to learn to play two or three positions on the line and to be comfortable on the end as well.

That's an aspect Morris harped on after the Day 3 picks were made.

Logue met with Morris and Falcons company at a local day, and like other draft picks had mentioned from Penix to Washington, the interactions were genuine and easy.

"It just felt like you've known them for a while," Logue said. "Like I had just met Coach Morris and it felt like I had known him for years. Just how transparent he is, how open he is, how welcoming he is. He genuinely wants to know how he can make his team better."

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