Updated:FLOWERY BRANCH — The Atlanta Falcons selected seven players in the 2010 NFL Draft, including three players from the Big 12 Conference. Atlanta also traded their fifth round (149th overall) and sixth round (189th overall) selections to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for the 135th overall pick (fifth round).
Atlanta selected linebacker Sean Weatherspoon with its first round (19th overall) selection on day one. Weatherspoon was a standout linebacker at the University of Missouri where he started each of his final 41 games and recorded 413 career tackles (240 solo), 12.5 sacks, 43.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 17 passes defensed. In 2009, he was also named a second-team All-America selection and Butkus Award finalist.
With two third round picks on day two, the Falcons selected defensive tackle Corey Peters (83rd overall) out of Kentucky and offensive lineman Mike Johnson (98th overall) out of Alabama. In 2009, Peters posted career highs in tackles (49), tackles for loss (11) and sacks (tied with four). He was a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection from 2007-09. Johnson was the unquestioned leader of the offensive line for Alabama's 2009 National Championship team. Last season, he set the school record for games played with 54 while blocking for Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. Johnson was also named a first-team All-America selection and first-team All-SEC pick in both 2008 and '09.
On the third day of the draft, the Falcons made four selections including, center Joe Hawley (fourth round), cornerback Dominique Franks (fifth round), wide receiver Kerry Meier (fifth round) and safety Shann Schillinger (sixth round).
Hawley, 6-3, 310 pounds, is a versatile offensive lineman from UNLV who competed in 47 career games (33 starts). Last season, he started all 12 games at right guard and did not allow a sack. Hawley was also voted an honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference selection.
The Falcons made a trade with the St. Louis Rams to move ahead 14 slots in the fifth round and select cornerback Dominique Franks out of Oklahoma. Franks is a two-time All-Big 12 Conference selection (2008-09) as the Tulsa, Oklahoma native collected 95 career tackles (62 solo), six interceptions, 15 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. Two of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns as well as one fumble recovery. Franks also returned 29 career punts in his collegiate career for 346 yards and an average of 11.9 yards per return.
With their second pick in the fifth round (165th overall), the Falcons selected Kerry Meier, a wide receiver from Kanas. Meier caught 226 career passes for 2,309 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 417 yards and six touchdowns on 118 carries. He also amassed 2,029 yards in total offense and 2,726 all-purpose yards. Kerry holds the school career record with 226 receptions, which also ranks eighth in Big-12 Conference history. In 2007, Meier became the first Kansas player to record a rushing, passing and receiving touchdown in the same season since Garfield Taylor in 1981.
With their lone selection in the sixth round and final pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Atlanta chose Shann Schillinger, a safety out of Montana. In 57 career games, he totaled 255 tackles, 10 interceptions and 19 passes defensed. In 2008, Schillinger was Montana's leading tackler with 108 stops as he was named a second-team All-Big Sky Conference selection.
Below is a breakdown of Atlanta's round-by-round picks in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Round Name Pos College Overall 1 Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri 19th 3 Corey Peters DT Kentucky 83rd 3 Mike Johnson OL Alabama 98th 4 Joe Hawley OL UNLV 117th ^5 Dominique Franks CB Oklahoma 135th 5 Kerry Meier WR Kansas 165th *6 Shann Schillinger S Montana 171st
^Falcons acquire St. Louis' fifth round selection (135th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft in exchange for selections in the fifth (149th overall) and sixth round (189th overall).
*Falcons acquire Detroit's sixth round selection (171st overall) and a conditional pick in the 2011 NFL Draft in exchange for cornerback Chris Houston.
The Falcons will hold their mandatory mini-camp at the team's Flowery Branch Complex from May 7-9. Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith and Falcons players will be available to the media following practices.
**FALCONS MEDIA RELATIONS**