In a very surprising development, graduated Wisconsin safety Dezmen Southward was the first Badger taken in the 2014 National Football League Draft. The Sunrise, Fla., native was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the fourth pick of the third round, 68th overall.
This selection comes much earlier than expected for Southward, as he was projected for the fourth round by both NFL.com and CBS Sports. This is also after a rise in projection from draft experts thanks to Southward’s stellar pro day, where he ran an unofficial 4.35-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 42-inch vertical jump.
Through Southward's college career he played in all 54 games over four seasons. He was a consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selection his junior and senior years.
While he is widely viewed as a raw prospect, Southward will join a Falcons team looking to return to perennial playoff contention. Last season’s defensive unit ranked 27th in the NFL in yards allowed and 30th in interceptions.