Expecting to be picked late in draft, Southward instead a front-runner to start for Falcons

Free safety Dezmen Southward is still wondering how good fortune came his way so soon after the NFL scouting combine.

After having to miss the workout portion of the combine in February, Southward didn't expect to hear his name called until the third and final day of the draft.

Instead, the Atlanta Falcons chose him early in the third round — 68th overall — and Southward says they won't regret the decision.

Southward wasn't allowed to participate on the field at the combine because of one of the league's 32 teams questioned the health of his spine. After a doctor cleared him, Southward excelled at Wisconsin's pro day, and the Falcons scouts were impressed.

He was the second of seven draft picks the Falcons made last weekend on defensive players.



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