by Aaron Wilson
June 12, 02014
The Atlanta Falcons signed third-round safety Dez Southward to a four-year contract today.
They also signed kicker Sergio Castillo.
Southward visited the Washington Redskins before the draft and worked out privately for the New England Patriots.
Southward ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and had a 42-inch vertical leap and a 10-4 broad jump at the Badgers' campus Pro Day workout.
Southward started 27 games the past two seasons and was a two-time All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention selection. He had 152 career tackles with two interceptions and four forced fumbles.
The 6-foot, 211-pounder didn't work out at the NFL scouting combine due to a neck injury discovered by doctors.
Southward was disappointed that he wasn't allowed to work out since he said he had never had issues with his neck at Wisconsin. Later, back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins determined that Southward's neck is fine and he should have been allowed to work out at the combine.
Southward is regarded as an interchangeable safety capable of lining up at either free safety or strong safety and lining up at cornerback in a pinch. Last season, he had 40 tackles, 3.5 for losses and one interception.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun