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Rookie Free Agent Roundup

Former Florida quarterback Johnson signs with Falcons

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Posted: Monday April 17, 2000 10:03 PM

  Doug Johnson Doug Johnson completed 190 of 337 pass attempts for 2,574 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior at Florida. Andy Lyons /Allsport

SUWANEE, Ga. (AP) -- One day after the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons on Monday signed 11 college free agents, including Florida quarterback Doug Johnson.

Atlanta, which did not have a first-round selection in the draft, took six players during the weekend, including offensive tackle Travis Claridge of Southern California, the Falcons' top pick, the 37th player taken.

Also signed Monday were center Matt O'Neal of Oklahoma, running back Maurice Smith of North Carolina A&T, offensive tackle Ryan Johanningmeier of Colorado, kicker Jake Arians of Alabama-Birmingham, defensive tackle Adriano Belli of Houston, punter-tight end Dallas Neil of Montana, tight end Derek Rackley of Minnesota, cornerback Dayne Stukes of Virginia, wide receiver Steve Vagedes of Ohio Northern and offensive guard Jamie Wu of Maryland.

Johnson started 22 games during his career at Florida. As a senior in 1999, Johnson completed 190 of 337 pass attempts for 2,574 yards and 20 touchdowns.

O'Neal was a starter his junior and senior seasons at Oklahoma, allowing just two sacks in 1999.

Smith rushed for 1,022 yards last season. Johanningmeier was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, starting all 12 games to end his college career with 33 consecutive starts.

Cowboys add versatile LSU offensive lineman

After picking five players in the NFL draft this weekend, the Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms with 11 free-agent rookies Monday.

Among the signings was LSU guard Al Jackson, a four-year letterman who played both guard and tackle. Jackson is 6-3, 313 pounds.

Dallas also signed linebacker Corey Atkins of South Carolina, who was a preseason Butkus Award candidate. The 6-1, 227-pound Atkins led South Carolina in tackles with 102, including 10 for losses, despite playing with a broken wrist.

Dallas also added two more offensive linemen: New Mexico State guard George Hudson and Alcorn State tackle Chad Slaughter.

The rest of the signings were: Southern Arkansas wide receiver Drew Cone; Mississippi College defensive end Bryant Shaw; defensive tackles Keith Jackson of Cheyney (Pa.) and Otis Pitts of Louisiana Tech; defensive back Jasmine Tramel of Mississippi Valley State; and kickers Cedric Oglesby of South Carolina State and Jon Hilbert of Louisville.

Packers sign eight rookies; cut former Heisman winner

Rashaan Salaam was among four players released Monday by the Green Bay Packers, who also signed eight undrafted free agents.

Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner from Colorado, was signed before the 1999 season's final game. He didn't figure in Green Bay's plans after the team acquired backup running back and kick returner Ahman Green from Seattle last week.

Six of Green Bay's eight free-agent signees are offensive players. They are wide receivers Bobby Brown of Notre Dame, Ken Coutain of Memphis and Travis Williams of Navy; quarterback Ben Sankey of Wake Forest; tight end Adam Newman of Boston College and running back Herbert Goodman of Graceland (Iowa) College.

The Packers also signed Southern cornerback Bradley Pittman and punter Deone Horinek of Colorado State. The team's next minicamp begins on April 27 in Green Bay.

In addition to Salaam, Green Bay released safety Jamel Williams and defensive linemen James Grier and Matt Keneley.

Brown was Notre Dame's leading receiver each of the past three seasons, closing out his career with 98 catches and 12 touchdowns. Sankey, Wake Forest's starting quarterback last season, will try to make his mark on a team where backups Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks are already entrenched.

Goodman was a highly productive runner for Graceland, rushing for 5,026 yards over four collegiate seasons. Pittman was a four-year starter at Southern, where he made 42 tackles last season.

Newman played defense at Boston College for the last three seasons, but the Packers will use him as a tight end. In 1996, he was coached by Jeff Jagodzinski, the Packers' tight ends coach.

Vikings sign former Gophers quarterback

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to terms with seven undrafted free agents on Monday, including University of Minnesota quarterback Billy Cockerham.

Along with the 10 picks in the NFL draft, the Vikings now have 79 players on their roster, all of whom are expected to be at the team's minicamp that begins Friday at Winter Park.

In addition to Cockerham, the 6-foot-1, 217-pounder who led the Gophers to their first bowl game since 1986 last season, the Vikings signed: kicker Andy Crosland of Miami; defensive tackle Tim Englehardt (6-feet-2 and 279 pounds) of New Mexico State; tight end Brody Heffner-Liddaird (6-4, 234) of Colorado; wideout Matt Wilson (6-feet, 204) of Bloomsburg State; fullback Antwone Young (6-2, 270) of San Diego State; and fullback Lenny Lucas (6-3, 235) of Troy State.

Cockerham joins a crowded field at quarterback that includes projected starter Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings' top pick last year, newly-signed backup Bubby Brister and Todd Bouman.

He'll also join safety Tyrone Carter, his college teammate who was drafted by the Vikings on Sunday.

Bengals add 15 undrafted rookies

The Cincinnati Bengals said Monday they signed contracts with 15 rookie free agents.

The players are: Lavelle Boyd, a wide receiver from Louisville; Ricky Brown, fullback, Texas; Alan Buckwalter, linebacker, Northwest Missouri; Marvin Chambers, wide receiver, Wake Forest; Doug Dorley, center, Bowling Green; Dave Fleischhauer, defensive lineman, Penn State, and wide receivers Eddie Hardaway, C.W. Post, and Tony Hartley, Oregon.

Also, Joe Hattendorf, tackle, Buffalo; Tarrell Knauls, linebacker, Oklahoma State; Tim Morgan, placekicker, San Jose State; Roger Roesler, guard, Texas; Armegis Spearman, linebacker, Mississippi; Gary Thompkins, safety, West Virginia, and Mike Willetts, defensive lineman, Boston College.

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