Falcons sign Neal, rest of rookies class

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons safety Keanu Neal, the team’s first-round draft pick, signed his four-year, $10.7 million contract Thursday.

The Falcons went on and finished deals with the rest of the draft class including second-rounder Deion Jones (52nd overall), third-rounder Austin Hooper (81st), fourth-rounder De’Vondre Campbell (115th), sixth rounder Wes Schweitzer (195th) and seventh-rounder Devin Fuller (238th).

Before the start of the rookie minicamp, the Falcons are the first team in the NFL to sign all of their draft picks. The NFL draft was held April 28-30.

The Falcons and Neal, the 17th overall pick in the draft, agreed to terms on the deal on Wednesday. Neal was the first first-round pick from the 2016 NFL draft to reach a deal. His deal also included a $6 million signing bonus.

Neal approached the team in a sign of good-faith because wanted them to know that he was “all-in” with the team concept and didn’t want to worry about his contract.

Defensive end Arik Armstead was drafted 17th overall by the San Francisco 49ers last year, and he signed a four-year $9.84 million deal, with a $5.42 million signing bonus.

Neal, 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, started 19 of the 34 games he played in during his three years at Florida.

Last season, Neal finished third on the team with 96 total tackles.

The deal has the standard fifth-year team-option.

Here are bios on the rookie class:

Keanu Neal, safety, Florida

Round: First (17th overall)

Height: 6-feet | Arm length: 32 3/4″

Weight: 211 pounds | Hand size: 10 5/8″

40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds (Tied with Clemson’s Jayron Kearse for ninth-fastest among safeties)+

Bench press: 17 reps of 225 pounds (Tied with Miami’s Deon Bush for fifth-most among safeties)

Vertical jump: 38 inches (Tied with Southern Utah’s Miles Killebrew for second-highest among safeties)

Broad jump: 132 inches (Longest among safeties)

Three-cone drill: 7.09 seconds (Eighth-fastest among safeties)

20-yard shuttle: 4.38 seconds (11th-fastest among safeties)

60-yard shuttle: 11.58 seconds (Fifth-fastest among safeties)

Overview: As expected, Neal’s freakish athleticism was on display at the combine. His broad jump was impressive, as he finished three inches ahead of second-place T.J. Green from Clemson. CBS Sports had Neal rated as a fourth to fifth-round prospect early in the pre-draft process.

Deion Jones, linebacker, LSU

Round: Second (52nd overall)

Height: 6-feet 7/8| Arm length: 32 3/8″

Weight: 222 pounds | Hand size: 9 1/4″

40-yard dash: 4.38 seconds

Bench press: 18 reps

Vertical jump: 35 ½

Three-cone drill: 7.13 seconds

Overview: Jones is a speedy player. He gives the Falcons another player who can cover running backs. Falcons coach Dan Quinn has repeatedly talked about getting faster on defense this offense. Jones was the fastest of all of the linebackers at the scouting combine. He was a finalists for the Butkus Award and was the Tigers leading tackler and defensive most valuable player last season.

Austin Hooper, tight end, Stanford

Round: Third (81st)

Height: 6-foot, 3 ¾ inches | Arm length: 33 3/4″

Weight: 254.pounds | Hand size: 10 5/8″

40-yard dash: 4.68 and 4.71 seconds

Bench press: 19 reps of 225 pounds (Needs to get stronger)

Vertical: 33 inches

Broad Jump: 9 feet, 9 inches

Three-cone drill: 7 seconds

Overview: He’s considered an athletic pass-catching tight end who had to wait his turn at Stanford. Some believe that he could have benefitted from another year of seasoning in the college ranks. He can develop into a mismatch option-route runner as a receiver. He’s also played some H-back and a motive and move tight end. Some scouts believe that he’s a better prospect than former Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry, who was selected early in the second round..

De’Vondre Campbell, linebacker, Minnesota

Round: Fourth (115th overall)

Height: 6-foot, 35/8 inches | Arm length: 33 5/8″

Weight: 232 pounds | Hand size: 9 5/8″

40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds

Bench press: 16 reps of 225 pounds (Needs to get stronger)

Vertical: 34 inches

Broad Jump: 9 feet, 8 inches

Three-cone drill: 7.07 seconds

Overview: Played both inside and outside at Minnesota. He has discussed playing the weakside linebacker with Falcons linebacker coach Jeff Ulbrich. He started 13 games and started 11 games. He finished third on the team with 92 tackles, including 6.5 for loss. He had a time-high four sacks. He was named all-Big Ten honorable mention b the coaches and the media.

Wes Schweitzer, guard, San Jose State

Round: Sixth (195th)

Height: 6-feet, 5-inches

Weight: 314 pounds

Bench press: 28 reps of 225 pounds

Overview: He played some left and right tackle in college. He’s was a fifth-year senior and two-year starter at left tackle. Played in 31 games with 25 career starters. He was honored in 2012 and 2015 on National Student-Athlete Day by the National Consortium for Academics & Sports. He’s a three-time academic all-conference award winner.

Devin Fuller, wide receiver, UCLA

Round: Seventh (238th overall)

Height: 6-feet

Weight: 195

40-yard dash: 4.36 seconds at pro day

Overview: Fuller hauled in just 24 catches last year as a senior. Fuller was a former Army All-American athlete prospect out of high school. He struggled to find a niche in UCLA’s offense. He shuffled between playing some slot as a junior to playing outside as a senior in 2015. He also a potential kickoff and punt returner. He won the Captain Don Brown Memorial Award for most improved player on offense at the annual team banquet.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

Falcons tell Jones there will be no new contract this year
Falcons tell Jones there will be no new contract this year

Julio Jones won’t get a new contract as the Falcons are days before reporting to training camp. Will the All-Pro wide receiver show up after he elected to stay away from all team activities this offseason? We’ll know on Wednesday. The Falcons informed Jones they will not give him a desired raised, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed...
Atlanta Falcons’ 90-man roster analysis: Tight end 
Atlanta Falcons’ 90-man roster analysis: Tight end 

If Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had stayed in school at Stanford and took a redshirt year, he’d just be entering his first year in the NFL. But he came out after his true junior year and was just 21 years old. He had a decent rookie year as a backup, but showed that he and his game needed to mature last season as he took over the starting...
Matt Ryan on Forbes’ list of top celebrity earners for 2018
Matt Ryan on Forbes’ list of top celebrity earners for 2018

Matt Ryan more than made the cut for the highest-paid celebrities in the world, according to Forbes. The publication released its annual list of the top 100 paid celebrities for 2018 and it included Ryan, the Falcons quarterback, as the highest-paid NFL player. According to the publication, Ryan is No. 29 with at an estimated earnings of $67.3 million...
Nkemdiche holds youth camp while plotting NFL breakthrough season
Nkemdiche holds youth camp while plotting NFL breakthrough season

Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is excited about returning home to host a football camp while planning for an NFL breakthrough season. The free youth camp will be held on Saturday at Grayson High in Loganville. Nkemdiche, 23, the former number one recruit in the nation and first-round pick of the Cardinals, has a message for the...
Cover 9@9: Matt Ryan’s Camp Brotherhood held at new venue in California 
Cover 9@9: Matt Ryan’s Camp Brotherhood held at new venue in California 

1. Camp Brotherhood goes West: Now, it has been three straight offseasons that the Falcons have gathered for a players-only camp. This year, because of the birth of quarterback Matt Ryan’s twins and him doing his father duties, the camp was a little later and at a different venue. The last two were in South Florida and held before the...
More Stories