Posted: 5:43 pm Monday, February 17th, 2014

5 players for the Falcons to scout at the NFL combine 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Last season when the Falcons drafted cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford and tight end Levine Toilolo they put a lot of stock in the fact that they came from “NFL families.”

Trufant, who was selected in the first-round last season, is the younger brother of NFL players Marcus Trufant and Isaiah Trufant. The Falcons reasoned that Trufant would not have as steep of a learning curve because he’d been getting taught by his bigger brothers for years.

Alford’s older brother, Fred Booker, played in the NFL after starring at LSU.

Toilolo had three uncles, Dan Saleaumua, Edwin Mulitalo and Joe Salave’a, who played in the NFL.

So, it made sense to make note of players with NFL heritages when combing through the 330 plus bios.

Here are some of the players with NFL lineage that my pique the interest of the Falcons.

George Atkinson III, RB, Notre Dame: Son of the former All-Pro Oakland Raiders defensive back George Atkinson Jr., who terrorized wide receivers from 1968 to 1977, in the good old days when you could knock receivers’ blocks off. Pappa Atkinson helped the Raiders win Super Bowl XI and is currently a broadcaster for the team. Notre Dame listed little George at 6-1 ½ and 220 pounds. He’s the 25th rated back in the draft and is projected to be drafted in the seventh round or be a college free agent by NFLDraftScout.com heading into the combine.

James Wilder Jr, RB, Florida State: Son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Missouri running back James Wilder. He’s the 12th rated back and projected to be a fourth or fifth rounder by NFLDraftScout.com.

James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech: His uncle, Shaun Gayle played for the Chicago Bears and Ohio State. Nephew James turned in a solid 2013 season. He played 711 plays and like most Hokies was not a stranger to the special teams units. He played 55 special teams plays. He had 34 quarterback hurries, 10.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks last season. He’s the 14th rated defensive end in the draft and projected to go in the fifth-round by NFLDraftScout.com.

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Son of former Dallas Cowboys (1983-94) and Buffalo Bills (1995-97) defensive lineman Jim Jeffcoat. He was a four-year player for the Longhorns and played in 40 games, making 33 starts. He was a consensus All-American and the Ted Hendricks Award winner. He had 27.5 sacks and 60 tackles for losses over his career.

Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State: Son of Shane Bullough and grandson of the legendary Hank Bullough. All played for the Spartans. Hank Bullough played for the Green Bay Packers and was a longtime NFL coach. Max was suspended before the Rose Bowl this season and will have some explaining to do at the combine. He’s 6-3, 265 pounds. He is the 11th rated inside linebacker and projected to be drafted in the seventh-round by the NFLDraftScout.com.

Brock Vereen, FS, Minnesota: Is the brother of New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen. Both parents were athletes at UNLV. His father Henry played football and his mother Venita played tennis. He had a 4.4 grade point average in high school and will likely impress the Falcons with his high FBI (Football Intelligence).

18 comments
FalconJames
FalconJames

I think you need to add a WR to this list as one of ours is too stupid to show up to court on a minor traffic violation. 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Atkinson was a terror in the NFL, he would be suspended after one game in our new NFL.

JSSN
JSSN

I keep hearing about how much weight the Michigan State LB has put on. It is going to be interesting to see if it true and for what reason?

RatedRSuperstar
RatedRSuperstar

What about Jake Matthews?


He comes from as big a football family as you'll find.

my_say
my_say

George Atkinson's father played football, ran track, and is a 1968 graduate of Atlanta's Morris Brown College. "Just Saying"

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

jackdson jeffcoat needs to be a falcon not a dallas cowboy

Dawg32
Dawg32

I would not be shocked if the Falcons pick the local RB( Buford,Loganville) from UCF. Look for him to have a great combine.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

God I hope Dummytroff dont pases on Johnny Fottball. If he do I will nevery post here again as I will no longer be a flacons fan N E more!

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

Yeah DLed, I think the falcan'ts should pick any one of these guys with their first round selection.

UpUpnHeaHea
UpUpnHeaHea

Headline says 5 maybe my eyes deceive me but did I count 6 ??

zuzu331
zuzu331

Oh Good Gawd Amighty,the Falcons dont need Running backs!!! We've got two excellent ones right now Antone Smith and Jason Snelling,that they refuse to play.It makes more sense to just play one Back all game long in Bizarre-O World.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Darrell......Thanks for the knowledge.

I did not know James Wilder was a Mizzu Tiger!!

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I don't consider it a negative for these prospects that have first-hand knowledge of the Pro Sports Life.

Some decent collegian players on this list.

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Which ones weren't Team Captains?

You know that's an automatic cross-off on the Gel-Hair Big Board.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Roddy being Roddy. :(

Twitter explanation coming.......

JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331  

Snelling still has a legal matter sitting over his head. Once that is settled, he's going to have to see the league's discipline arm. He might be on the shelf for some games. He's certainly going to have to in the League drug protocol now unless he's cleared!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

I'll take a RB.....just neither of these two.

JSSN
JSSN

@BigCrimson75  

I'm surprised you don't remember him (Wilder Sr.) at Missouri (he played with Winslow for one season -78).