Falcons Bolster Defense with Ex-Georgia Bulldog, Two Others

John Atkins

Getty John Atkins #97 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts to a play during the second half against the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2017.

The Atlanta Falcons made several roster moves on Thursday, including the signing of three defensive linemen: John Atkins, Shareef Miller, and George Obinna.

To make room, the Falcons released linebackers Alani Pututau and Jeff Holland, wide receiver Greg Dortch, and defensive lineman Eli Ankou.

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Meet the Falcons New Signings

DT John Atkins: It’s always exciting when the Falcons add a fellow Georgia Bulldog to the roster. Atkins played in 36 games as a Dawg, tallying 81 total tackles and zero sacks.

In 2018, Atkins went undrafted but was signed by the New England Patriots as a free agent. He made it through training camp before agreeing to a deal with the Lions. In two seasons (2018-2019) in Detroit, Atkins saw action in 14 games with six starts and recorded 22 total tackles (14 solo) and one tackle for loss.

Atkins opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and cut this past June.

DE Shareef Miller: In the fourth round (138th overall) on the 2019 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Miller out of Penn State. From 2017 to 2018, he led the Nittany Lions in both sacks (13.0) and tackles for loss (26.5) from 2017-18. Since joining the NFL, he has bounced around the NFL and played for the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers. He saw action in one game with the Eagles as a rookie but never saw the field as a Panther or Cardinals. He was cut by Arizona last week.

DE George Obinna: After going undrafted in 2020, Obinna signed as a UDFA with the Cleveland Browns. However, his stint with Cleveland didn’t last long after being waived by the with an injury designation. Obinna has yet to make his NFL debut.

Looking back at his collegiate career at Sacramento State, he appeared in 46 collegiate games total, recording 136 tackles, 33.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.


Falcons Also Added A Versatile WR

Jeff Badet split his collegiate career playing for the University of Kentucky and Oklahoma as both a wide receiver and kick returner.

He declared for the 2018 NFL Draft where he went undrafted but later signed as a UDFA with the Minnesota Vikings. Before being placed on the team’s practice squad, he played in all four of Minnesota’s preseason games and had 5 receptions for 34 yards.

Badet didn’t give up after not making the Vikings’ 53-man roster. He turned to the XFL in 2020 where he impressed former Sooners coach, Bob Stoops. Stoops ended up drafting Badet 4th overall to the Dallas Renegades.

In a short time, Badet became a face of the XFL and caught 16 passes for 108 yards in five games before COVID-19 forced the league to fold. His contract was terminated and he spent the rest of 2020 with the Washington Football Team, mainly on the practice squad before he was waived this past May.

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