Nolan offers quick take on drafted rookies

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Seven of the Atlanta Falcons' nine drafted players were on defense, which had to please defensive coordinator Mike Nolan as he looks to add more multiplicity to the scheme.

"Obviously, with the addition of the free agents as well several draft choices, we'll see how it all fares in the end," Nolan said. "But it's always about the players. It always will be. What we do, in the multiple sense, is with that intention all the time: whatever makes up your squad, you have the ability to utilize your guys."

Here are Nolan's quick takes on those drafted players:

  • Ra'Shede Hageman, DE/DT: "Big, strong, talented, and coachable."

  • Dez Southward, S: "He's got really good size and is fast. He's an intelligent guy. He doesn't have as much football in his background as other guys because he played late in high school. But he'll listen, as opposed to somebody that didn't learn much and then they think that they have all the answers."

  • Prince Shembo, ILB: "We had a position move [from outside linebacker to inside]. I think it helps us and it helps him. I think he's better suited to play the inside more than he is the outside. His skills are more for the inside than the outside."

  • Marquis Spruill, ILB: "Active playmaker. Needs to put on some weight."

  • Ricardo Allen, CB: "Very instinctive. Very intelligent. Very good football player."

  • Tyler Starr, OLB: "Unorthodox, but a good football player."

  • Yawin Smallwood, ILB: "Big, strong, active. Good instincts. We'll see how he develops. The [jury] is still out on him. We'll see."