Matt Ryan has been incredibly efficient, durable and reliable during his five-year career in Atlanta, which has several low-profile QBs backing him up since he rarely misses a game.
FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff does not believe that the team needs an experienced quarterback to back up Matt Ryan.
“It’s not unsettling at all,” Dimitroff said about not having a veteran backup behind Ryan. “Where Matt is with his development, this is a time, in our mind, that we can bring a guy like Dom Davis up and continue to develop him.”
Chris Redman served as his main backup for four seasons before being released in 2012. Last season, Luke McCown was Ryan’s backup.
It appears that Dominique Davis, who went undrafted in 2012, is the leader to win the No. 2 position. He had a stellar career at East Carolina after transferring from Boston College, where he spent a season as Ryan’s backup.
The Falcons drafted former Duke quarterback Sean Renfree in the seventh round of the draft. He’s recovering from a shoulder injury and may not be able to throw until training camp. Also, the Falcons signed Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege.
“Dom has done a really nice job with Matt,” Dimitroff said. “They work together very well. We’ve had some very good and smart football players come through here to work with Matt.”
Renfree and Doege will compete for the third quarterback spot.
Renfree passed for 6,352 yards while completing 63.4 percent of his pass attempts (601 or 948) for the Blue Devils.
Last season, Doege broke the school-record for career completion percentage (69) while throwing 39 touchdown passes.
“As a team, we are ready to bring another younger guy along and really try to develop him into a No. 2,” Dimitroff said. “(Davis) obviously will be competing with our other quarterbacks to be the No. 2, but he’ll have some time here and experience in this system that will work in his favor I’m sure.”
In addition to Doege, the Falcons signed 23 other undrafted rookie free agents including North Carolina kicker Casey Barth, Boston College linebacker Nick Clancy, Fresno State wide receiver Rashad Evans, Central Florida offensive guard Theo Goins, Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo, Appalachian State wide receiver Troy Sanders, Colorado State cornerback Momo Thomas and Northern Illinois receiver Martel Moore.
Barth is the brother of Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth.
The Falcons seemed to place a high value on signing players with family ties to the NFL this offseason.
In addition to Barth, three of their eight draft picks have family members who have played in the NFL, including first-round pick Desmond Trufant, second-round pick Robert Alford and fourth-round pick Levine Toilolo.
Trufant has two older brothers with NFL experience, and Alford has a brother who spent one season in the NFL. Toilolo, a tight end from Stanford who was selected Saturday, has three uncles — Dan Saleaumua, Edwin Mulitalo and Joe Salave’a — who played extensively in the NFL.
“It’s something that you can just tell by talking to Levine how confident he is in his own way having been around it and having and understanding the idea of having family members in this league,” Dimitroff said. “He’s an incredibly smart person. He’s going to fit in well with this football team.”
Trufant’s brothers are Marcus Trufant (Seattle) and Isaiah Trufant (Jets). Alford’s brother, Fred Booker, played 12 games for the Saints in 2005.
“The fact that he was raised to be a football guy in the NFL, for us is something that is very intriguing,” Dimitroff said.
Closer look at Falcons’ draft picks:
Round 1, Pick No. 22 — Desmond Trufant, CB, 6-0, 190, Washington
The youngest Trufant is a big corner and is plenty fast. He ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds at the combine. He was a captain for the Huskies. He played in 12 games as a freshman in 2009, starting the last nine at cornerback. He started all 13 games as a sophomore and junior. Last season, he had a string of 45 consecutive starts snapped when he missed the Colorado game with a hamstring injury in November.
“It’s a perfect place for me,” Trufant said. “I want to make an impact in the league from Day 1.”
Round 2, No. 60 — Robert Alford, CB, 5-9, 188, Southeastern Louisiana
Alford was the first player from an FCS school selected in this draft. After last season the College Sports Journal named him the FCS national Defensive Player of the Year, and The NFL Draft Report and Sports Network selected him to their All-American teams. Alford signed to play wide receiver, but he switched to cornerback after sitting out 2008 because of eligibility issues. Alford started 31 of 32 games at cornerback and recorded 137 tackles, 20 passes defended and 10 interceptions.
Round 4, No. 127 — Malliciah Goodman, DE, 6-3, 276, Clemson
Goodman, a defensive end, was a Parade All-America selection and played in the U.S. Army All-American game. He was described as having “violent hands” in his NFL.com bio. He started two of 27 games over his first two seasons and had three sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss as he backed up Da’Quan Bowers. Over his final two seasons, he increased his effort level and started his final 27 games for the Tigers. As a junior, he set a new school-record for defensive linemen by playing 767 snaps. He finished with nine sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, 11 pressures and five forced fumbles as a senior.
Round 4, No. 133 - Levine Toilolo, TE, 6-8, 265, Stanford
Toilolo was used mainly as a blocker. He also caught 24 passes for 393 yards last season. He also has three uncles -- Dan Saleaumua, Edwin Mulitalo and Joe Salave’a — who played in the NFL. “At Stanford we ran a pretty pro-style, West Coast offense,” Toilolo said. “So we utilized a lot of tight ends which was big coming out of high school for me. This year we ran a lot of two tight-end sets for me and Zach (Ertz). For me, I was more of an inline tight end with my hand down the majority of the time.”
Round 5, No. 153 — Stansly Maponga, DE, 6-2, 265, Texas Christian
The speed rusher is recovering from March foot surgery. He broke a metatarsal bone in his left foot in a game against Baylor. Maponga played in 11 games and made nine starts last season. He was selected to the All-Big 12 first-team and the AP All-Big 12 second-team.
Round 7, No. 243 — Kemal Ishmael, S, 5-11, 206, Central Florida
The safety is from the same school that produced Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel. He was voted defensive player of the year in 2012 by Conference USA coaches. Ishmael also was named to the Jim Thorpe award watch list. Ishmael, a Miami native, finished his career as UCF’s all-time top tackler among defensive backs and ranked third overall with 368 tackles. He played in 53 games for the Black Knights.
Round 7, No. 244 — Zeke Motta, 6-2, 213, Notre Dame
Recruited as a linebacker out of Vero Beach, Fla., Motta became a full-time safety for his sophomore season at Notre Dame. He played in all 51 games with 29 starts and recorded 179 tackles and two interceptions. Motta was a team captain during his senior season at Notre Dame. His time of 4.83 seconds for 40 yards was the slowest among safeties at the NFL scouting combine.
Round 7, No. 249 — Sean Renfree, 6-3, 219, Duke
Renfree was a three-year starter for the Blue Devils and last season led them to their first bowl game appearance since 1994. Renfree set a school record with a 65.4 career completion percentage while passing for 9,465 yards, 50 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. Renfree suffered a torn right pectoral muscle on the final play of the Belk Bowl. He had surgery to repair the injury and wasn’t able to participate in Duke’s pro day.