Ranking the Falcons 7th round picks of the Thomas Dimitroff era

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As we continue the Thomas Dimitroff draft series, his seventh-round selections are even less accredited than his prior rounds. However, that is to be expected as there are maybe one or two drafted players in the entire seventh round that pan out to have value.  

13. Yawin Smallwood (2014)  

Smallwood’s professional career was limited to an offseason and practice squad member only. He was waived by Atlanta in August of 2014 then signed to the Tennessee Titans practice squad — never reaching the field of a preseason game, let alone a regular-season contest.  

12. Andrew Jackson (2011) 

Like Smallwood, Jackson didn’t play in a single regular-season game at the professional level. He was cut by the team in August of 2012 then signed to the Buffalo Bills practice squad a couple of months later. His career was essentially two seasons of never making it to any team’s active roster.  

11. Devin Fuller (2016)

Fuller had solid measurables at his collegiate pro day as he didn’t receive an invite to the NFL combine, recording a 4.37 40-yard dash and 36-inch vertical. This allowed him a shot with Atlanta, but he was placed on IR for the entirety of his rookie season. The following year he tore his ACL in training camp and landed on injured reserve for a second straight year. In the summer of 2018, he was waived by Atlanta. 

10. Tyler Starr (2014)

Starr made the 53-man roster for the Falcons in August of his rookie year but did not see the field. In September of the following year, he was waived in the final cuts before the start of the regular season. Later signed to Atlanta’s practice squad, he returned to the active roster in December of 2015, where he played in one game. In 2016, Starr was waived by the Falcons.  

9. Sean 3Renfree (2013) 

Renfree signed with the team in July of the year he was drafted. He only played in two games with less than stellar stats and was waived by the team in August of 2016. He then signed a future contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was released after the team signed veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.  

8. Zeke Motta (2013)

Motta played in ten games total throughout his professional career, all with the Falcons. He was with the team for his rookie season, and the following one before being waived in April of 2015. He totaled 16 tackles and one pass deflected in his ten games.  

7. Keith Zinger (2008)

Zinger was a part of two national championships at LSU before he was drafted by Atlanta in 2008. He signed a four-year contract but ended up on the practice squad, where he would remain for the entire season. Zinger was later picked up and waived by the New York Jets in 2011. He played in 15 games for the Falcons from 2008-2010 but only caught one reception for seven yards. 

6. Jake Rodgers (2015)

Rodgers is an NFL journeyman. Beginning with his selection by Atlanta in the 2015 NFL draft, he was quickly waived by the team. He went on to seven different practice squad teams, including three separate stints with the Steelers. So far, Rodgers played in 14 games and started one. He is currently on the active roster of the Denver Broncos.  

5.Travian Robertson (2014) 

Robertson was projected as a fifth-round selection by some mock drafts but ended up going in the seventh to the Falcons. He was immediately signed to Atlanta’s practice squad before joining the Seattle Seahawks active roster. After being waived by Seattle, Robertson was claimed off waivers in December of 2014 by the Washington Redskins, where he was waived for final cuts.  

4. Cliff Matthews (2011)

After being injured in the preseason of his rookie year, Matthews was placed on injured reserve. He was released in 2015 and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but did not make it past the final cuts. In his second stint with Atlanta, Matthews had more playing time. He ended his short career with 28 total tackles.  

3. Akeem King (2015) 

During his rookie year, King was cut then signed to the practice squad. Later that year, he was elevated to the active roster. In September of 2016, King was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury and was waived the following year. He signed to the Seahawks practice squad and was promoted to the active roster in 2018, totaling 39 tackles and three passes deflected in his career.  

2. Vance Walker (2009)

Walker played for the Falcons in a limited role from 2009-2012, appearing in sub-packages. After making it on a one-year deal with Atlanta in 2012, he was signed by the Raiders in 2013. Walker impressed, earning a three-year deal from Kansas City. He was a part of the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos and recorded two tackles in the Super Bowl against the Panthers.  

1. Kemal Ishmael (2013)

Ishmael has been with the Falcons his entire career and made it through Mike Smith to Dan Quinn. He only played three defensive snaps his rookie season but quickly made a difference the following year, recording an interception in every game from week nine to eleven. The following season, he played in all 16 games, starting in five. Signing one-year deals in 2017, 2018, and 2019, he has been a crucial piece of the defense, filling in at strong safety and linebacker when injuries allow for it. In his career, he has totaled 290 tackles, 13 pass deflections, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown.  

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