Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cover 9@9: Ranking the Falcons’ 27 undrafted rookies financially

Former Virginia QB Kurt Benkert received a $60,000 bonus


Good morning! Welcome to the Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly list of nine things at 9 a.m. Wednesday that you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons. 

The Falcons rookie mini-camp is set to start on Friday.

Today, we rank the 27 undrafted players based on how much guaranteed money they received from the team.

It’s clear that the Falcons want to take a good look at quarterback Kurt Benkert, who received $60,000 in guaranteed money. No other player received more than $10,000 from the team and several received as low as $500. 

Here’s how the undrafted rookie class stacks up financially: 

1. Kurt Benkert, quarterback, Virginia. Bonus: $60,000; Height: 6-feet-2; Weight: 218 pounds; Arm length: 31 inches; Hand size: 9½ inches; 40-yard dash: 4.95 seconds at the combine; Verical jump: 31 inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.15 seconds ■Overview: He started his career at East Carolina before transferring to Virginia. When the staff was replaced at ECU, he was not named the starter and transferred. He followed former ECU coach Ruffin McNeil to Virginia. He started 13 games as a senior and set a school record with 3,207 yards passing and 298 completions. He completed 58.5 percent of his passes and tossed 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a senior. Overall, he started 23 of 27 college games and completed 534 of 925 passes (57.7 percent) for 5,817 yards, 46 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He received guaranteed money. 

2. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, defensive end, UCLA. Bonus: $10,000; Height: 6-feet-2; Weight: 284 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.58 seconds; Bench press: 21 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 29 inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches ■ Overview: He played 41 games for the Bruins. He finished with 133 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. 

3. Matt Gono, offensive lineman, Wesley College. Bonus: $7,500; Height: 6-feet-4; Weight: 319 pounds; Arm length: 34 -3/8 inches; Hand size: 10 inches; 40-yard dash: 5.1 seconds; Bench press: 26 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 31 inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches ■ Overview: A Division III player from a small school in Delaware. Started at right tackle as a freshman. He shifted to left tackle as a junior. Started all 50 games of his college career. He projects as a guard in the NFL. 

4. Anthony Winbush, defensive end, Ball State. Bonus:$7,000; Height: 6-feet-1;  Weight: 249 pounds; Arm length: 32 1.8 inches; Hand size: 10 inches; Wing span: 78 3.8 inches; Bench press: 25 reps of 225 pounds; Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches ■ Overview: He was one of the top pass rusher in the Mid-American Conference and finished his career with 99 tackles, 52.5 for losses and 25 sacks. We put a “Draft Sleeper Alert” on him during the pre-draft process.

5. Jon Cunningham, defensive tackle, Kent State. Bonus:$6,000; Height: 6-feet; Weight: 295 pounds ■ Overview: He was named to the Mid-American Conference’s second-team. He participated in the Cleveland Browns’ locals day. 

6. Mackendy Cheridor, defensive tackle, Georgia State. Bonus: $6,000; Height: 6-feet-4; Weight: 277 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.9 seconds; Bench press: 24 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 35½ inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 7 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.28 seconds ■ Overview: Was a four-year starter for the Panthers, including three at defensive end. He started his career as an outside linebacker. Finished his career with 10.5 sacks and 25 tackles for losses. Played at Columbia High.

7. Daniel Marx, fullback, Stanford. Bonus: $5,000; Height: 6-feet-1;  Weight: 253 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.87 seconds; Bench press: 14 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 31½ inches; Broad jump: 9 feet; Three-cone drill: 7.25 seconds ■ Overview: He was used mostly as a blocker.

8. Chris Lammons, defensive back, South Carolina. Bonus: $5,000; Height: 5-feet-9;  Weight: 184 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.48 seconds; Bench press: 11 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 35 inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 8 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.04 seconds ■Overview: He played in 44 games and made 37 starts for the Gamecocks. He played all over the secondary and shined at free safety last season. He finished third on the team in tackles with 79 and has seven pass breakups. The Broncos, Rams, Jets and Lions also expressed interest. 

9. Richard Jarvis, linebacker, Brown. Bonus: $5,000; Height: 6-feet-2; Weight: 220; 40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds; Bench press: 24 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 35½ inches; Broad jump: 10 feet; Three-cone drill: 6.83 seconds ■Overview: He starred in the Ivy league and has 18.5 tackles for losses.

10. Malik Williams, running back, Louisville. Bonus: $4,000; Height: 6-feet; Weight: 220 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.66; Arm length: 32-3/8; Hand size: 9-3/8 inches; Wingspan: 75¼ inches; Bench press: 11 reps of 225 pounds; Broad jump: 9 feet, 3 inches; ■ Overview: He was part of Louisville’s rotation at running back. He was also a rugged and strong pass protector. He rushed 86 times for 676 yards and average 7.9 yards per carry. He scored five rushing touchdowns. Started his career in junior college.

11. Luke McNitt, fullback, Nebraska. Bonus: $4,000; Height: 6-feet-2; Weight: 250 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.86 seconds; Bench press: 26 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 34 inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 5 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.28 seconds ■Overview: He played quarterback and tight end at Nebraska-Kearney before transferring. He played in 21 games for the Cornhuskers and was primarily a blocking back.

12. Demario Richard, running back, Arizona State. Bonus: $4,000; Height: 5-feet-8; Weight: 218 pounds; Arm length: 28¾ inches; Hand size: 9¼ inches; 40-yard dash: 4.7 seconds; Bench press: 12 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 29½ inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 7 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.16 seconds ■ Overview: He was a highly productive back for the Sun Devils. He rushed for over 1,000 yards twice in his career and caught the ball well out of the backfield. He rushed 646 times for 3,196 yards and 26 touchdowns. He caught 70 passes for 668 yards and seven touchdowns.

13. Salesi Uhatafe, offensive lineman, Utah. Bonus: $3,000; Height: 6-feet-5; Weight: 320 pounds; Arm length: 33 inches; Hand size: 10¼ inches; 40-yard dash: 5.39 seconds; Bench press: None; Vertical jump: 28 inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 1 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.7 seconds ■ Overview: He played in 52 games and made 38 starts. He played 25 games at right guard and 13 at left guard. 

14. Emmanuel Smith, linebacker, Vanderbilt. Bonus: $2,000; Height: 6-feet-2; Weight: 236 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.7 seconds; Bench press: 15 reps of 225 pounds ■ Overview: He didn’t play much until his senior season and had 57 total tackles and four tackles for loss. He played some safety and linebacker for the Commodores.  

15. Emmanuel Ellerbe, linebacker, Rice: Bonus: $2,000; Height: 6-feet-1; Weight: 235 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.64 seconds; Bench press: 19 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 41½ inches; Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.26 seconds ■Overview: He was a highly productive tackler for the Owls. He was an all-Conference USA first-team selection. Amassed nearly 240 tackles over his final two seasons. 

16. Justin Crawford, running back, West Virginia. Bonus: $2,000; Height: 5-feet-11; Weight: 199 pounds; Arm length: 32 inches; Hand size: 9-1/8 inches; 40-yard dash: 4.6 seconds; Bench press: 11 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 33½ inches; Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.09 seconds ■ Overview: He’s from Columbus Hardaway High. He started his college career at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He posted back-to-back 1,000 yards seasons as he rushed 353 times for 2,245 yards and 11 touchdowns over two seasons for the Mountaineers. 

17. Jake Roh, tight end, Boise State. Bonus: $1,000; Height: 6-feet-3;  Weight: 237 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.96 seconds; Bench press: 13 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 32½ inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 1 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.32 seconds ■ Overview: He played in 42 games and caught 117 passes for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns over his career. 

18. Troy Mangen, tight end, Ohio. Bonus: $1,000; Height: 6-feet-6;  Weight: 253 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.94 seconds; Vertical jump: 32 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.45 seconds ■Overview: Has NFL potential as a blocking tight end. He caught 49 passes for 440 yards and four touchdowns. 

19. David Marvin, kicker, Georgia. Bonus: $1,000; Height: 6-feet-4;  Weight: 215 pounds ■Overview: He played in 34 games at Wofford before transferring to Georgia. He made his only extra point and field goal attempts for the Bulldogs last season. A big and powerful kicker. He made a couple of 57-yard field goals while at Wofford.

20. Joseph Putu, defensive back, Florida. Bonus: $1,000; Height: 6-feet-1; Weight: 195 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds; Bench press: 5 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 33 inches; Broad jump: 10 feet, 3 inches; Three-cone drill: 6.75 seconds ■Overview: He was a reserve defensive back, but played on special teams. Before playing at Florida for two seasons, he was at North Dakota State of Science for two seasons. 

21. J.C. Hassenauer, offensive lineman, Alabama. Bonus: $1,000; Height: 6-feet-2; Weight: 302 pounds; 40-yard dash: 5.23 seconds; Bench press: 28 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 27½ inches; Broad jump: 8 feet, 5 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.88 seconds ■Overview: He was a reserve a guard and center for most of his career with the Crimson Tide. He played in eight games last season and made three starts including the national championship game against Georgia. 

22. Devin Gray, wide receiver, Cincinnati: Bonus: $1,000; Height: 6-feet; Weight: 181 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.5 seconds ■Overview: After junior college, he played two seasons for the Bearcats. He caught 86 passes for 1,304 yards and eight touchdowns. 

23. Detrich Clark, wide receiver, Colorado State. Bonus: $1,000; Height: 5-feet-10;  Weight: 180 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.45 seconds; Bench press: 11 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 34 inches; Broad jump: 10 feet, 6 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.43 seconds ■Overview: He played in 12 games and started three last season. He had 41 catches for 504 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed 15 times for 40 yards and returned 18 kickoffs and averaged 23.7 yards per return. The former Macon County High player started his career at Eastern Junior College. 

24. Secdrick Cooper, defensive back, La. Tech: Bonus: $1,000; Height: 6-feet;  Weight: 210 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds; Bench press: 21 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 35½ inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches; Three-cone drill: 7.21 seconds ■ Overview: A first-team all Conference USA strong safety. He was a two-year starter. 

25. Lamar Jordan, wide receiver, New Mexico. Bonus: $500; Height: 5-feet-10; Weight: 178 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds; Bench press: 12 reps of 225 pounds; Vertical jump: 32½ inches; Broad jump: 9 feet, 6 inches; Three-cone drill: 6.95 seconds ■Overview: He played quarterback for the Lobos and will try to make the conversion to wide receiver. He completed 205 of 397 passes (51.6 percent) for 3,186 yards, 20 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also rushed for 2,501 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

26. Christian Blake, wide receiver, Northern Illinois. Bonus: $500; Height: 6-feet-1; Weight: 180 pounds; 40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds; Vertical jump: 34.5 inches ■Overview: Over 47 career games for the Huskies, he had 83 catches for 972 yards and six touchdowns over his career. He averaged 19.3 yards on kickoff returns last season. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 32 yards. He amassed 1,235 all-purpose years over his career. 

27. Dontez Byrd, wide receiver, Tennessee Tech. Bonus: $500; Height: 5-feet-10; Weight: 180 pounds; Bench press: Did 21 reps of 225 pounds as a guest at Tennessee State’s Pro Day; 40-yard dash: Sub 4.5 ■Overview: Started his career at Louisville, after three seasons he left as a redshirt sophomore having played on mostly on special teams. In search of playing time, he transferred to Tennessee Tech. In 2016, he set school records with 933 yards receiving and 74 catches. He caught seven touchdown passes and averaged 84.8 yards receiving per game. He averaged 26.3 yards on kickoff returns and returned a 100-yarder for a touchdown against Mercer. He had 78 catches for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns last season. 

 

 

 


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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.