The Falcons had three compensatory picks to work with in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and we have the free agency departures of Eric Weems, Kelvin Hayden and James Sanders to thank for them. So, thanks, guys.
With pick number 243, the Falcons selected Kemal Ishmael, a strong safety out of the University of Central Florida. Ishmael started 49 consecutive games for UCF, and was their leading tackler in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Adding a defensive back who excels at tackling is not a bad thing at all. In addition to being named All-Conference, Ishmael was also honored as Conference USA's Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season.
At UCF's pro day, Ishmael ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, hit 21 bench press reps and managed a 10'03" broad jump. He is 5'11" and 201 pounds.
With pick number 244, the Falcons selected strong safety Zeke Motta out of Notre Dame. Apparently the Falcons really love late-round safeties. Motta is 6'2" and 213 pounds, and SB Nation's Dan Kadar ranked him as the 13th-best safety in the 2013 draft. He ran a 4.75 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
Motta was the defensive playcaller for Notre Dame last season, and showed a great deal of leadership on the field. He hits hard, and has the size to potentially play linebacker, which is interesting. He was graded by some analysts as 3rd or 4th-round talent, and he's an extremely hard worker. He excelled against the run at Notre Dame.
With pick number 249, the Falcons selected quarterback Sean Renfree out of Duke University. Renfree was Duke's first NFL Draft selection since 2004. Renfree is 6'3", 219 pounds, and threw for 3,113 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. He was recovering from surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle and did not participate in the NFL Combine or a Pro Day.
Check out his helmet cam video featuring Coheed and Cambria!
Renfree sounds like a prototypical Thomas Dimitroff draft pick--intelligent, good work ethic, a leader. He has good passing mechanics, decent arm strength, and can extend plays with his legs. He sometimes looks a little nervous under pressure, and doesn't always put the right velocity on his throws. Let's be realistic: Renfree won't be challenging Matt Ryan for the starting job, but he may be able to challenge Dominique Davis for the backup position.
Jason Snelling, Todd McClure, and Jamal (not Jamaal) Anderson were all 7th round picks, so these guys absolutely could turn out to be impact players. Let's hope so, particularly with Ishmael and Motta.
What do you think about Atlanta's 7th round picks?