Falcons take Milner

ATHENS – Martrez Milner's pro career will take him 15 miles from his home in Gainesville, and he never so that coming.

Milner was surprised Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons called him to say they were selecting him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. The Falcons had shown no interest throughout the draft process until that moment, he said.

"They didn't even contact me to get my numbers or anything, so that's kind of weird," he said, "but it's a blessing, staying close to home."

The Falcons' training facility in Flowery Branch is less than a 20-mintue drive from West Hall High School, where Milner played football and basketball.

The selection will reunite him at least for a while with former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley, who was a seventh round selection of the Falcons last year and is fighting to hold onto the No. 3 quarterback job.

"Shock called me like five minutes after the Falcons called me," Milner said. "He said, ‘Congratulations, I'm proud of you. (The draft) is over now, it's time to get back to work and do what you do.'"

Milner, who was taken with 133rd overall pick, was the fourth tight end selected, behind Miami's Greg Olsen, Arizona State's Zach Miller and Minnesota's Matt Spaeth. Still, he was disappointed he had to wait until the draft's second day to be selected. (The first three rounds were held Saturday.)

"(Saturday) was probably the longest day of my life, I'm not going to lie to you," Milner said. "I expected to go in the third round, but a lot of guys would like to be in my situation, playing in the league, so it's great."

Milner will join a crowded tight end field in Atlanta, where Alge Crumpler is the undisputed star and is backed up by Eric Beverly, Dwayne Blakley and Daniel Fells.

"Alge was one of the tight ends I really looked up to because he can do everything," Milner said. "At Georgia, I was blessed with Randy (McMichael) and Ben (Watson) and (Leonard) Pope, and now I've got Alge."

Offensive lineman Ken Shackleford was the only other former Georgia player selected Sunday. He was chosen in the sixth round by the St. Louis Rams.

This year's draft is the most disappointing for the Bulldogs since 2000, when only three former Georgia players were selected. Four players also were selected in 2004, but they all were picked by the fourth round. This year was the first time since 2000 that no Bulldogs were taken in the first or second round.

Linebacker Tony Taylor, who led Georgia in tackles and interceptions last year, was the most surprising omission from this year's draft. Taylor had six interceptions from his middle linebacker spot this year and was projected as high as a fifth round pick by some analysts.

Running back Danny Ware, who left after his junior season rather than return to a crowded backfield next year, also went undrafted.

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