Riley: Falcons 'very smart' to take ex-Beaver great
by: CHRISTOPHER Onstott Jacquizz Rodgers, carrying last season against USC, is happy with his fifth-round selection in the NFL draft because he's going to a playoff team, the Atlanta Falcons.

CORVALLIS - Jacquizz Rodgers would have preferred to go earlier in the NFL draft, but he was all smiles Saturday after being selected in the fifth round by the Atlanta Falcons.

'I was expecting third or fourth, but everything happens for a reason,' said Rodgers, a 5-6, 195-pound junior who rushed for 3,877 yards and 46 touchdowns and caught 256 passes in his three seasons at Oregon State. 'I'm proud to be on a good offense like Atlanta.'

Atlanta went 13-3 in the regular season, then lost to eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay 48-21 in the divisional playoffs last season.

Oregon State coach Mike Riley, who served as head coach of the San Diego Chargers for three years, said Atlanta was an 'awesome' place for Rodgers to wind up.

'That's a good team,' Riley said. 'They want to run the ball. They have a great young quarterback (Matt Ryan). They're a team on the rise.

'And they're in position to draft for a specific reason. They're not a team that hasn't won that is just picking football players. They picked Quizz for a reason, and they're very smart.'

The Falcons traded up 13 spots to take Rodgers, sending fifth-and seventh-round picks to St. Louis. The ex-OSU tailback, the third overall pick of the draft by Atlanta, will play behind two-time Pro Bowl selection Michael Turner. Quizz is expected to compete with 5-11, 230-pound Jason Snelling - a four-year veteran who rushed for 324 yards last season - for the backup job.

'I feel good, because that was one of my top three teams that was hounding me through the whole (draft) process,' Quizz said. 'They were one of the teams I had an individual interview with at the (NFL) Combine. I felt comfortable with them.'

Quizz said Saturday after the Beavers' Spring Game that he had a short conversation with Atlanta brass after his selection.

'Then I did some stuff with the Atlanta newspapers,' he said. 'I have to go in there ready to work and find a role for me.'