The Falcons have agreed to terms with first-round pick Jake Matthews and second-round pick Ra’Shede Hageman on Wednesday.
The Falcons selected Matthews with the sixth pick overall in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M. Matthews, a two-time All-American and all-SEC first-team selection, is expected to compete and win the starting right tackle position.
Matthews is expected to help improve the unit that allowed quarterback Matt Ryan to be sacked 44 times last season, third-most in the NFL. The Falcons also averaged 77.9 yards rushing per game in 2013, last in the NFL behind some shoddy run-blocking.
Matthews is the son of Bruce Matthews, who played 19 years in the NFL and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is the fourth member of his family to be selected in the first round and the seventh to reach the NFL.
His grandfather, Clay Matthews Sr., a former Georgia Tech standout, played four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950’s. He is the nephew of Clay Matthews Jr., who played 16 seasons in the NFL, including two with the Falcons (1995-96) and is the cousin of Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III.
After selecting Matthews, the Falcons picked Hageman with their second-round pick, No. 37 overall.
Hageman played nose guard for his final two seasons with the Gophers, but the Falcons said he’ll play defensive end.
Hageman bench-pressed 225 pounds 32 times at the scouting combine, tied for the third-most repetitions among defensive lineman. He also has superlative athletic ability for his size, as reflected in his 35 1/2-inch vertical leap and a 40-yard dash time of 5.02 seconds at the combine.
Like Matthews, Hageman will get the chance to make an immediate impact.
Veterans Osi Umenyiora and Kroy Biermann opened 2013 as the starters at defensive end. Biermann finished on injured reserve after surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon he suffered in the second game of the season and Umenyiora closed out the season as a designated pass rusher.
The depth behind Umenyiora and Biermann includes veteran Tyson Jackson, who signed as a free agent in March. The Falcons also have third-year player Jonathan Massaquoi and 2013 draft picks Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga.
On Sunday, five Falcons’ draft picks, linebacker Prince Shembo, cornerback Ricardo Allen, linebacker Marquis Spruill, linebacker Yawin Smallwood, and linebacker Tyler Starr, all signed four-year contracts.
Last season’s sixth pick, defensive end Barkevious Mingo was signed to a four-year, $16 million deal with Cleveland, which included a $10.2 million signing bonus.
Last season’s 37th pick, running back Giovani Bernard signed a four-year $5.253 million deal with Cincinnati, which included a $2.2 million signing bonus.
Hageman will receive the same $2.2 million signing bonus that Bernard earned.
Third-round safety Dezmen Southward and fourth-round running back Devonta Freeman remain unsigned.
The Falcons are following the league trend of trying to wrap up their rookie signings quickly.
Check back for updates.
HERE’S THE REMAINING OFFSEASON SCHEDULE
–Today: Coaching session Field workouts No. 9.
–Thursday: Coach session Field workout No. 10.
PHASE THREE OF OFFSEASON PROGRAM
–Tuesday, May 27 – OTA No. 1.
–Wednesday, May 28 – OTA No. 2.
–Thursday, May 29 – OTA No. 3.
–Friday, May 30 – Strength and Conditioning plus a rookie practice
–Monday, June 2 – OTA No. 4.
–Tuesday, June 3 – OTA No. 5.
–Wednesday, June 4 – OTA No. 6.
–Thursday, June 5 – Rookie Practice.
–Monday, June 9 – Hacks vs. Jocks golf tournament. Defending champs – Team Scelfo.
–Tuesday, June 10 – OTA No. 7.
–Wednesday, June 11 – OTA No. 8.
–Thursday, June 12 – OTA No. 9.
–Friday, June 13 – OTA No. 10.
–Monday, June 16 – Physicals.
–Tuesday, June 17 — Day One: Mandatory minicamp (5 practices over three days)
–Wednesday, June 18 – Day Two: Mandatory minicamp.
–Thursday, June 19 – Day Three: Mandatory minicamp. (Offseason program ends for veterans).
TBA – Rookie Symposium
TBA – (Late July) – Report to Training camp.
DRAFT CLASS STORIES
THE ATLANTA FALCONS 2014 DRAFT CLASS