Dacula, Ga.--After a long weekend waiting for his name to be called in the annual National Football League Draft, David Irons has turned his focus to proving he belongs in the NFL.
The cornerback from Auburn was selected on day two of the draft as a sixth round pick by the Atlanta Falcons, his hometown team.
“I was kind of surprised it was the Falcons,” Irons tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. “I thought it was going to be West Coast team.
“At the same, I am excited about going to the Falcons because I am familiar with the players,” he says. “We have some Auburn guys on the team, Travis (linebacker Travis Williams) and T.J. (noseguard Tommy Jackson), and I have got some friends on the team, too.”
His brother, tailback Kenny Irons, was selected in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals. The cornerback is obviously disappointed he had to wait much longer before his name was called.
“It does make me more determined than ever,” Irons says. “I thought I would be drafted around the second or third round--probably the mid-second round. It will make me hungry like I was when I came to Auburn out of junior college.
“It is just another one of the trials of my life,” says Irons, who had to battle through two knee surgeries before playing for the Tigers. “I look at it as I have to start at the bottom and work my way up to the top. I am surprised about it, but I am ready to compete and show the 31 teams that didn’t get me that I can play.”
Irons showed he could play at Auburn with an aggressive style of pass coverage in the secondary and the willingness to stick his nose into the action on run support. He was fifth on the team in total tackles last year with 42 stops including 4 1/2 tackles for lost yardage. Irons deflected 12 passes and intercepted two.
“I will have a meeting with the defensive coordinator and secondary coach when I report to camp on Thursday,” the cornerback says. “I expect them to tell me what they expect from me. In the rookie mini-camp I want to show them they got a great guy in the sixth round.”
Irons helped the Tigers to an 11-2 record last season.
The Falcons have a first-year head coach with Bobby Petrino taking charge after being hired away from the University of Louisville. Petrino is a former offensive coordinator at Auburn. “I remember him when he recruited me to Auburn, but I don’t actually know him,” Irons says. “I know Joe Whitt Jr. He is going to be one of my position coaches.”
Whitt, a former Auburn player, coached at Louisville last season.
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