Falcons Add Depth to Lackluster Pass Rush, Sign Ex-Texans LB

Falcons sign Duke Ejiofor

Getty Dante Pettis #18 of the San Francisco 49ers is tripped up by Duke Ejiofor #53 of the Houston Texans in 2018.

The Atlanta Falcons have taken no days off, adding new players to their squad offseason every day this week.

On Thursday, the team added its 19th player to their list of reserve/future contracts by signing outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor.

The Falcons have several needs to address this offseason and adding help to their lackluster pass rush is one of them after they finished the 2021 season ranked dead last.

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Ejiofor Went Drafted by His Hometown Team

Following three years at Wake Forest University, Ejiofor was selected by the Houston Texans in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft, his hometown team.

It was a huge surprise to him as the Texans showed no interest in him during of after the NFL scouting combine.

“I didn’t think they had any interest in me at first,” Ejiofor said in a post-draft interview back in 2018, via the CHRON. “Seeing them call me is the greatest blessing in the world.”

The 6-4, 275-pound OLB was expected to go off the board higher in the draft and had plenty of interest from the New England Patriots but an injury setback brought his draft value down.

Ejiofor’s best season at Wake Forest was his last, where he recorded 50 tackles, 17 for losses, 10.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles as a junior. Through 38 games in three seasons as a Demon Deacon, Ejiofor registered 122 tackles and 23.5 sacks.

As an NFL rookie, he saw action in 12 games but recorded just one single sack, which is his only one still to this day.

Ejiofor’s football career has included more than just his college injury setback, as he suffered an ACL tear in 2019 and 2020, missing back-to-back seasons. He returned in 2021 but was waived by Houston after he failed his physical.

There’s no telling how he spent the 2021 season if he wasn’t on a team but he must have been training if the Falcons are eyeing him for one of their most desperate needs.


Falcons Sign 18 Other Reserve/Futures Contracts

Ejiofor joins 18 other new Falcons players who signed reserve/futures contracts this past week.

Here is the full list so far:

DB Cornell Armstrong
OL Willie Beavers
OLB Quinton Bell
LB Jordan Brailford
LB Dorian Etheridge
WR Chad Hansen
RB Caleb Huntley
DB Luther Kirk
P Dom Maggio
OL Ryan Neuzil
DB Lafayette Pitts
TE John Raine
LB Rashad Smith
DE Nick Thurman
WR Austin Trammell
DB DeAundre Alford
WR/TE Brayden Lenius
CB/KR Corey Ballentine
OLB Duke Ejiofor

It looks like the only outside linebacker Ejiofor is up against on this list so far is Quinton Bell, who spent the entire 2021 season on the Falcons’ practice squad. Bell joined the league one year after Ejiofor and doesn’t have much more experience than him other than playing a role on the Buccaneers special teams before coming to Atlanta, so it looks like it will be fair competition.

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