Former Pittsburg High School and University of Kansas standout Kerry Meier achieved his dream Saturday, when the Atlanta Falcons selected him with the 165th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Former Pittsburg High School and University of Kansas standout Kerry Meier achieved his dream Saturday, when the Atlanta Falcons selected him with the 165th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft.

“It was something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Meier said. “To have it happen finally, it’s a dream come true.

“It was unreal having the Atlanta GM call and say ‘we want to take you with the 165th pick and we want you to come out and help us win a championship,” Meier said. “It’s hard to put into words.”

Meier’s selection was the 34th in the fifth round. The last time a Kansas player was drafted by Atlanta was Dave Scott in 1976. Billy Hunt went to the Falcons in 1969 in the 12th round.

“He is another very smart football player,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said of Meier. “He was a converted quarterback who has the skills. He has a nice set of hands. He is a very good concentration guy. He is a very smart football player who knows the field very well from his time at quarterback.

“We are looking forward to him competing for one of the receiver spots,” Dimitroff said.
“He is a good size guy and a good target. You never can have enough of a receiver that is a legitimate target coming over the middle.”

Dimitroff went on to state that Meier had nice speed for his size.

“He came in at a high 4.59 so he is right at the borderline into the 4.6s,” Dimitroff said.
“That’s good for a guy who is 220 pounds, a smart route runner and a guy who has a very nice feel on the field for getting to the open spot. Combine that with his concentration and hands. We were comfortable with that.”

Meier said he spoke briefly with Terry Robiskie, the Falcons’ receivers coach, and said Atlanta planned on employing him as a slot receiver.

“They have a young QB in Matt Ryan who really has them going in the right direction,” Meier said. “They want me to go out and play in the slot and help him out.

“I’ll help anywhere,” Meier said. “I’m eager and anxious to get started. I’ll play wherever, if that means playing on all the special teams or at receiver. I’m just ecstatic.”

Meier said he was also happy for his Jayhawk teammates. Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round, while receiver Dezmon Briscoe was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth.

“I’m so happy for Stuck. I was really surprised he fell that far,” Meier said. “The Chargers are getting a heck of a guy, not only a great player. He’s going to put his best foot forward for that organization, and he’s going to help them as far as football is concerned.

“Dez is so athletically gifted, and when he gets (to Cincinnati), he’s going to want to prove just how good he can be,” Meier said. “He’s a great football player, and he’s going to have a long, successful career.”

Saturday’s drafting wrapped up an emotional week for Kerry, who lost his brother Dylan to a tragic hiking accident earlier in the week.

“It’s really a tough time to think about football right now, but I know that’s what Dylan wants me to do,” Kerry said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s looking down right now and he’s as happy as I am.

“He was the best coach I had growing up,” Kerry said. “He helped me so much. He loved the game of football, and really treated the game of football the way you should play it, and he treated the game of life the same way. He would be so proud of where I am today, and I can happily say that I’m so proud of my big bro.”

Dimitroff said he didn’t speak to the Meier family about the loss.

“I haven’t talked to them personally, but I have talked to Kerry when we delivered the message that he was going to be picked,” Dimitroff said. “It is a very unfortunate and heartbreaking story. To be honest, I had that proverbial lump in the throat.

“I think it was one of those things that you could tell how happy and excited they were,” Dimitroff said. “I could hear his family in the background. My heart goes to the Meier family.”

Meier said some of his advice came from another older brother, Shad, who was drafted in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.

“He’s a tremendous person to have as a big brother, and he’s been nothing but great for me through this whole process,” Meier said. “He told me that it’s a long and grueling process, and told me to be patient.

“He told me that whoever selects you, the hard work is still ahead. You’re not on the team yet,” Meier said. “I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me. I’m just so happy right now. It’s a dream come true just to get that opportunity to play in the NFL.”

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134