Former Wisconsin Badgers safety Dezmen Southward was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in Round 3 of the 2014 NFL Draft. Southward was the fourth pick in the third round, 68th overall.
Southward is a skilled 6'2, 210-pound safety who never missed a game in his four-year career at Wisconsin. He was a starter for his last two seasons in Madison, spearheading a remarkably young secondary in his senior season as a team captain. For his career, the Sunrise, Florida, native finished with 152 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Southward saw his draft stock rise considerably at Wisconsin's pro day on March 5:
According to Wisconsin football's official Twitter handle, Southward ran an unofficial 4.35-second 40-yard dash and had former teammates and spectators in awe with a remarkable 42-inch vertical jump. Southward said he ran a low of 4.31 seconds and a high of 4.38 (both unofficial), which will help his draft stock heading into the private workout phase of the NFL draft preparation process.
From Andrew's pre-draft scouting report of Southward:
Yes, Southward's instincts are more conceptual than tangible. But in the draft, people love upside. Here, you have a player who is at once so very experienced (54 games played), a player who has a default mode toward making aggressive moves (and aggressive mistakes) and yet he's a player that's so raw in terms of experience. Some team is going to think it'll change him.
He looks like he can play. One of you is probably reading this and shouting "BUT HE CAN'T!"
And my answer? Yes, he's sushi raw. He had some real struggles in coverage. His technique had some problems as well. And the team that drafts him might be expecting him to change positions. He worked the Senior Bowl as a cornerback to display his ball skills.
He has two career interceptions and 11 career pass break-ups. In 54 games. That's, uh, something that would need improvement.
So long story short, Southward looks like he's earned himself some money with this pro day. And that's good for him. But the team that drafts him is going to draft a developmental prospect. That's not to say he doesn't have value from day one. You could well get a spectacular gunner. Spectacular.