Barberton native John Cominsky’s dream ever since second grade was to play football in the NFL.

It became a reality Saturday when the 6-5¼, 286-pound defensive end from the University of Charleston got the call from the Atlanta Falcons, who selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft (No. 135 overall).

"I'm in shock, man," Cominsky said during a phone call minutes after his selection. "I just got done running around the house. It's just an emotional roller coaster.  You see teams pick players, then it gets to the fourth round and you're getting all worried. Then you get a phone call. It's been an emotional roller coaster. It's incredible. It's just incredible."

Falcons coach Dan Quinn, along with members of his staff, flew up to Akron to work out Cominsky and members of the Zips privately a couple of weeks ago. Defensive line coach Jess Simpson put him through the paces, but it was Quinn who offered feedback to Cominsky.

"He was just excited about me," Cominsky said. "He mentioned my limitations and opportunities at Charleston and he was just excited about my future. He knows that I can move really fast and I just need to apply it to the football field. He's really excited about my ceiling and how I can improve these next few months before the season."

If ever a player truly made himself into an NFL prospect, it's Cominsky. He left Barberton High School having run an option offense as a quarterback without a single offer to play football for anyone, including local colleges such as the University of Akron and Kent State. He landed at Division II University of Charleston, where he excelled.

“Development wise, he understood where he needed to be, Zack Santolla, defensive line coach for the University of Charleston, said before the draft. “Teams have made the comment that he’s a different guy — for the better. He’s [done] exactly what he needs to do.”

Draft gurus took notice, with many expecting Cominsky to land with a team on the second or third day of the draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper expected the Dallas Cowboys to take him in the fourth round with pick No. 136. Dane Brugler, draft analyst for the website The Athletic, had Cominsky being drafted in the third or fourth rounds.

“Cominsky is an intriguing size/speed athlete who flashes violence in his hands and beat up Division II blockers with simple speed-to-power moves,” Brugler wrote in his 2019 draft guide. “However, his upright body posture and average cornering skills limit his pass rush potential in the NFL.

“Overall, Cominsky is a self-made player with the balanced athleticism and play strength to develop into a quality NFL run defender, but will require time to adjust to the jump in competition, projecting best as a base end in a 4-3 front.”

Cominsky said the Falcons appreciated those attributes and Quinn mentioned not only his edge skills, but the possibility of playing inside along with playing special teams.

"They like my versatility," Cominsky said. "They're going to use me everywhere they can."

Cominsky had also been linked to the Cowboys but obviously the Falcons saw some of the attributes Santolla recognized.

“He’s a guy who when he walks into the room is going to be the hardest working guy in the room wherever he goes,” Santolla said.

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByGeorgeThomas.