Jared Pinkney, Chris Rowland head Falcons’ undrafted rookie class

Top 10 tight ends in 2020 NFL Draft

Former Vanderbilt and Norcross High School tight end Jared Pinkney signed a contract with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent, one of 20 undrafted players to sign with the Falcons, the team announced Monday afternoon.

On Saturday after the draft the Falcons were touting the class, which includes former Georgia State offensive tackle Hunter Atkinson, who is from Flowery Branch and played at West Hall High. He graduated from West Hall in 2014 and signed with Georgia, but never played for the Bulldogs.

Georgia State left tackle Hunter Atkinson (76). 
Georgia State left tackle Hunter Atkinson (76). 

“There will be some guys that we’re signing right now as college free agents that are going to have an impact, too,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Saturday night at the conclusion of the draft. “You'll see that. So, we're really excited.”

Pinkney, who is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, was on the John Mackey award and Fred Biletnikoff award watch lists last season after a stellar junior season.

He started 11 games last season and had 20 receptions for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He had a season-high five catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over East Tennessee State.

In his junior season, playing with quarterback Kyle Shurmur, he had 50 catches for 774 yards and seven touchdowns. The 50 catches were the most by a Vanderbilt tight end since 1984.

He helped Norcross win back-to-back Georgia state titles before signing with the Commodores. He could become an NFL starter, but will have to work on his blocking first.

Pinkney’s stock dropped in the draft after a poor showing at the NFL scouting combine. Not having a chance to redeem himself at Vandy’s Pro Day also was a factor.

At the combine, he ran the slowest 40-yard dash time (4.96) of the tight end group. He looked stiff and struggled to catch passes.

In addition to Pinkney, the Falcons signed Tennessee State wide receiver Chris Rowland.

 

Rowland, who’s 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, was the 2019 Black College Football Player of the Year and received his award during the Black College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Atlanta on Feb. 15.

Rowland, who’ll have chance to make the team as a returner, set a Historically Black College and University record with 104 receptions this past season, eclipsing the mark of 103 set by Jerry Rice in 1984.

Rowland was named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team as a wide receiver and return specialist and was the offensive player of the year. He was the only Division I player to score a touchdown on a kick return, punt return, reception and rushing attempt.

He also played in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl after leading the FCS in receiving yards per game (119.8).

Colorado cornerback Delrick Abrams, who’s 6-foot 3 and 185 pounds, signed with the Falcons, whose starting right cornerback Isaiah Oliver played at Colorado.

In addition to Pinkney, Rowland, Atkinson and Abrams, here are other undrafted rookie free agents signed by the Falcons:

» Hinwa Allieu, DT, Nebraska-Kearney: He's 6-5, 290. Played defensive end in college. He was born in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Came to the U.S. in 2013.

» Austin Capps, C, Arkansas: He 6-4, 304. He played 531 snaps for the Razorbacks on offense, grading at 68.3 according to Pro Football Focus.

» Mikey Daniel, FB, South Dakota State: He's 6-0, 235. He finished his career with 1,728 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on 364 carries.

» Scottie Dill, RT, Memphis: He's 6-7, 297. Started 13 games at right tackle for the Tigers last season. His father, Scott Dill, played 10 seasons in the NFL (1988-1997).

» Austin Edwards, DE, Ferris State: He's 6-5, 275. He was named the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year, the conference player of the year after have 17.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and 64 tackles including a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

» Rojesterman Farris, CB, Hawaii: He's 6-1, 180. He played in all 14 and amassed 54 tackles while serving as a shut-down corner. Falcons special-teams assistant coach Mayur Chaudhari was the special-teams coordinator for the Rainbow Warriors in 2016 and 2017.

» Justin Gooseberry, G, Rice: He's 6-4, 290. He was a graduate transfer from Ouachita Baptist who started 11 of 12 games at right tackle and started 46 of 47 games during his combined college career. Allowed two sacks in 320 passing attempts last season.

» Juwan Green, WR, Albany (N.Y.): He's 6-0, 187. He played in 14 games and had a school-record 83 catches for 1,386 yards and an FCS-leading 17 touchdown receptions. He had 15 catches for 245 yards and three touchdowns against Monmouth on Sept. 14.

» Tyler Hall, CB, Wyoming: He's 5-9, 190. Played nickel back/cornerback and returned kicks. 

» Evin Ksiezarczyk, OT, Buffalo: He's 6-6, 310. He was a two-year starter at left tackle.

» Sailosi Latu, DT, San Jose State: He's 6-3, 334. Played in 28 games after starting out in junior college. Lined up at nose tackle and defensive end.

» Jalen McCleskey, WR, Tulane: He's 5-11, 165. Transferred after playing at Oklahoma State, where he had 167 career receptions for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns in four seasons. He played in 13 games for Tulane and caught 37 passes for 581 yards and four touchdowns.

» Caleb Repp, TE, Utah State: He's 6-5, 225. He was a grad transfer form Utah, where he played defensive end. He caught 36 passes for 455 yards and four touchdowns last season at Utah State.

» Ray Wilborn, LB, Ball State: He's 6-4, 224. Started all 12 games at safety after moving from linebacker last season. Falcons are listing him as a linebacker.

» Jordan Williams, LB, Baylor: He's 6-0, 223. He played in 52 games and made 26 starts at weakside linebacker.

» Bryson Young, DE, Oregon: He's 6-5, 248. He started 13 of 14 games for the Ducks last season. He finished with 56 tackles, 5.5 for loss and two sacks.

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