Falcons add Devonta Freeman to list of signed draft picks

AP

And then there was one.

The Falcons have eight of their nine picks from this year’s draft after announcing that they have agreed to terms with running back Devonta Freeman on a four-year deal. With the fourth-round pick under contract, the Falcons need to sign third-round safety Dezmen Southward to complete the class.

Freeman ran 404 times for 2,255 yards (5.58 YPC) and 30 touchdowns during his career at Florida State and joins a Falcons depth chart that has an aging Steven Jackson in the top slot. Coach Mike Smith suggested Freeman is in line for a shot at that spot during his career in Atlanta.

“Very impressed with his running ability,” Smith said, via ESPN.com. “I think if you look at his size, the first thing that comes to your mind is he may be a change-of-pace back. That is not the case. You said it in terms of being able to run between the tackles. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s a very strong runner. He is shorter in stature, but he has great strength. If you really study him, he’s probably more effective running with the ball between tackles then he is outside. But when he gets outside, he’s able to make people pay because he’s got some good speed.”

The Falcons also have Jacquizz Rodgers, Antone Smith, Jerome Smith and Josh Vaughn at running back, but Freeman will see plenty of time as a rookie if he lives up to Smith’s advance billing.