And with the riskiest pick from the Falcon’s 2014 Draft, the team selected Dezmen Southward, the FS out of Wisconsin. Who? That’s exactly what most of us were probably thinking when we heard the name.
On paper, Southward looks amazing. He’s 6’0” and 211 lbs. At his pro day workout Southward recorded a 4.38-second 40 time, a 42-inch vertical jump and 6.50-second three-cone time, but Southward’s biggest strengths and weakness can be found both on the field.
According to Southward’s Draft Profile on NFL.com, Southward’s strong suits:
Good straight-line speed.
He bends his knees and pedals softly
Reacts well to plays in front of him.
Average hip flexibility and range.
He’s still developing positional instincts and diagnostic skills.
Dull transitional quickness and closing burst.
Liability in man-off coverage.
His biggest weakness of all is lack of experience. Southward didn’t start playing football until his senior year of high school, but he still has potential and can make the improvements the Falcons desperately need at the position after former safety Thomas Decoud ‘s bomb of a season last year. Decoud was released from the team in March. He spent six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, five seasons as the starting safety. The Falcons are looking for someone more consistent given Decoud’s career with the team was very up-and-down and last season it was way down.
Could adding Southward be an improvement already? Time will only tell how this pick will workout for the Falcons. Right now it’s a hit or miss for me, but Southward will be competing with Dwight Lowery, Kemal Ishmael, Sean Baker and Zeke Motta for the starting position this season.