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John Daka

Grant Halverson/Getty Images John Daka of the James Madison Dukes tackles Reggie Gallaspy II of the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 1, 2018.

On Friday the Atlanta Falcons worked out former James Madison defensive end John Daka (pronounced DOCK-uh), the sixth and final player the Falcons had in for tryouts this week.

Daka—who stands 6-foot-2 and 227 pounds—is trying to make the transition from college end to pro outside linebacker. He originally came into the league with the Baltimore Ravens in the spring of 2020, earning notoriety by becoming the first player of Zambian descent to reach the NFL, this according to the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka. He failed to make Baltimore’s roster and went on to sign a one-year Reserve/Future contract with the Jets on Jan. 12, 2021, but New York waived him shortly after the 2021 NFL Draft, at which point he was claimed by the Los Angeles Rams, who waived him in its final round of cuts on Aug. 31.

Daka’s family emigrated from Zambia—in south-central Africa—when he was three years old. He went on to play four years for the James Madison Dukes, finishing his college career with 27.5 sacks, fourth-most in school history.

In his final collegiate season, he led the Football Championship Subdivision with 16.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss and was named the Dukes’ Defensive MVP. He was also a first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection and a second-team Associated Press All-American, as well as the recipient of the school’s Charles Haley Defensive MVP award, which is named after the former San Francisco 49ers/Dallas Cowboys great (Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2015) who starred for the Dukes before he was selected by the 49ers in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL Draft.

John Daka’s Draft Profile

Coming out of college John Daka was commonly regarded as a priority free agent, lauded by NFL analyst Lance Zierlein for his “attacking demeanor,” as well as his “competitive nature, toughness and special-teams traits.”

Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network had an even higher opinion of Daka, who called him an “explosive small-school pass rusher with a high upside.”

But his lack of size remains a liability, and both of the above analysts have noted that he struggles to get off blocks whenever bigger players catch him flush.

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Browns Try Out 2 Former UGA Wide Receivers

On Friday the Cleveland Browns worked out a quartet of wide receivers, two of whom played their college football at the University of Georgia. That includes Riley Ridley, the younger brother of Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, who was Atlanta’s first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

For his part, Riley Ridley, 25, was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Per Pro Football Reference, he appeared in ten games for the Bears in 2019-20 but caught just 10 passes for 108 yards during that time. He was waived by the Bears on Aug. 31, 2021, and has been looking for a new team, having worked out for the New York Giants earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the Browns also looked at ex-Georgia Bulldogs receiver Lawrence Cager, Mississippi State product Isaiah Zuber and “speedy, scrappy” ex-Eastern Michigan wideout Mathew ‘Cheddar Bob’ Sexton, who had some impressive moments with the Steelers this summer but failed to make Pittsburgh’s roster or practice squad.

Also Read:
Dean Pees Sounds off on Media Coverage of Falcons’ Win Over Giants

Source: Heavy

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