FLOWERY BRANCH — The Atlanta Falcons have selected Wisconsin safety Dez Southward in the third round of the NFL draft.
Southward, a full-time starter in 2012-13, was medically excluded from participating in the NFL combine two months ago because of wrist and spine injuries.
The fourth pick of the third round Friday, and 68th overall, Southward joins offensive tackle Jake Matthews, the No. 6 overall selection, and second-rounder Ra'Shede Hageman, a defensive end from Minnesota in Atlanta's draft class.
The Falcons are revamping the free safety position after five-year starter Thomas DeCoud was released in March.
Dwight Lowery, signed last month as a free agent, and Kemal Ishmael, a seventh-round draft pick last year, are the other free safeties listed on Atlanta's roster.