FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. –- The Atlanta Falcons today announced the signings of first-round draft pick DE Jamaal Anderson (8th overall), second-round selection CB Chris Houston (41st overall) and sixth-round draft picks DT Trey Lewis (185th overall) and CB David Irons (194th overall) to four-year deals. Financial terms of the signings were not disclosed. The Falcons also agreed to terms with second-round draft pick, OL Justin Blalock (39th overall).
Anderson, 6-6, 280 pounds, is the Falcons' first defensive end selected in the first round of the draft since 1999 (Patrick Kerney) and only the second since 1983 (Mike Pitts). He ranks sixth on Arkansas' career records list with 17.5 quarterback sacks and is tied for ninth with 32 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Last season, Anderson led the Southeastern Conference and ranked third in the nation with 13.5 sacks while earning consensus All-SEC first team honors.
In 2005, Anderson tallied 47 tackles and four sacks which ranked second on the Razorbacks' defensive unit. Additionally, he logged 10.5 tackles for loss totaling 58 yards and was voted SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week following his performance against Mississippi State.
In high school, Anderson was a highly regarded wide receiver who left Parkview High School (Little Rock, Ark.) as the all-time leading receiver, finishing his prep career with 85 receptions for 1,620 yards and 13 touchdowns. He eclipsed the previous mark held by former Green Bay Packers tight end Keith Jackson.
Blalock, 6-4, 329 pounds, holds the University of Texas career-record with 51 consecutive starts, breaking the previous mark of 49 set by Dan Neil (1993-1996). He became the 18th player in school history to earn unanimous All-America first-team honors last season as well as being named to the All-Big Twelve Conference first team. Blalock was also the Longhorns team captain in 2006 as he helped lead an offensive unit that ranked 22nd in the nation in total offense (391.5 ypg.) and sixth in scoring (35.9 ppg.).
In 2005, Blalock helped the Longhorns claim the BCS National Championship with a perfect 13-0 record and a dramatic 41-38 win over the University of Southern California in the 2006 Rose Bowl. It was the first National title at Texas in 35 years.
Houston, 5-11, 181 pounds, was a Pro Football Weekly All-America honorable mention selection and an All-Southeastern Conference second-team pick for the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2006 after starting all 14 games and totaling 45 tackles (38 solo) and three interceptions. Last season, he gained 129 yards on two interceptions in a game against Mississippi State, which set a school game-record. Houston also returned an interception 87 yards for a touchdown in the same game, which was the ninth longest return in school history.
In his first two seasons for the Razorbacks, Houston started in 19 games while tallying 41 tackles (31 solo), nine passes defensed and one fumble recovery. He also blocked one punt in 2004.
Lewis, 6-3, 320 pounds, collared 156 tackles, 10 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries over his four-year career at Washburn University. Last season he earned Associated Press first-team All-America honors along with being named to the AFCA and MFAA All-America first team after registering 62 tackles and four sacks in 11 starts.
Irons, 5-11, 188 pounds, earned All-America second-team recognition from Rivals.com and All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors after posting 42 tackles (23 solo), two interceptions and 12 passes defensed in his final year at Auburn University. Last season, Irons was also named the Coaches' Defensive Player of the Week after performances against Arkansas State, Buffalo and Tulane. In 2005, Irons ranked third in the SEC with a team-high 11 passes defensed in 11 starts.
From 2002-2003, Irons attended Butler County Community College (Kansas) and finished his two-year stint with the Grizzlies recording 104 tackles (85 solo), 20 passes defensed and five interceptions before transferring to Auburn.
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