Atlanta Falcons Blog

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

Falcons reach deals with Matthews, Hageman

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.


--Today: Coaching session Field workouts No. 9.

--Thursday: Coach session Field workout No. 10.


--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.


Jake Matthews brings strength of family to the Falcons

Ra'Shede Hageman could turn into defensive force for Falcons

Dezmen Southward ready to compete for playing time

Warrick Dunn likes the pick of FSU's Devonta Freeman

Falcons signed 20 undrafted rookie free agents, 5 from SEC 

Falcons invite 24 players in for tryouts

NFL Draft 2014: ESPN's Todd McShay on the Falcons' draft class

VIDEO: Reaction to the Atlanta Falcons' 2014 draft class


Round 1 / 6 -- Jake Matthews, RT, 6-5, 308, Texas A&M

Round 2/37 – Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, 6-6, Minnesota

Round 3/68 – Dezmen Southward, FS, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin

Round 4/103 – Devonta Freeman, RB, 5-8, 206, Florida State

Round 4/139 – Prince Shembo, LB, 6-1, 253 Notre Dame

Round 5/147 – Ricardo Allen, CB, 5-9, 187, Purdue

Round 5/168 – Marquis Spruill, LB, 6-1, 231, Syracuse

Round 7/253 – Yawin Smallwood, LB, 6-2, 246, Connecticut

Round 7/255 – Tyler Starr, LB, 6-4, 250, South Dakota

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About the Author

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