Falcons select Florida State's Devonta Freeman to beef up running game

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The Atlanta Falcons hope Florida State’s Devonta Freeman can help revive the NFL’s worst rushing attack.

And they believe that four linebackers bring depth to a position that’s been hurt by injuries to Sean Weatherspoon the past two years.

Atlanta drafted Freeman with the third pick of the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday, picking up some insurance behind starter Steven Jackson and primary backup Jacquizz Rodgers.

The Falcons took Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen early in the fifth, but the rest of their picks were spent on linebackers.

Notre Dame’s Prince Shembo was selected late in the fourth, Syracuse’s Marquis Spruill late in the fifth and Connecticut’s Yawin Smallwood and South Dakota’s Tyler Starr both late in the seventh.

Atlanta traded a sixth-round pick and one of three seventh-round picks to Minnesota to move up and choose Spruill.

PANTHERS: Wrapped up the final day of the NFL Draft by bolstering their depth in the secondary and adding a running back.

As for filling the huge void at left tackle, they’re hoping the answer is already on the roster.

Carolina took North Carolina safety Tre Boston in the fourth round, then traded up 20 spots in the fifth round with Minnesota to take San Jose State cornerback Bene’ Benwikere. Carolina added Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney in the sixth round.

VIKINGS: Jerick McKinnon, a two-time All-America performer for Georgia Southern, was selected in the third round with the 96th overall pick by Minnesota late Friday night.

BROWNS: Signed Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell, who was dismissed from Georgia in 2012, as an undrafted free agent.

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