SECTIONS
TRAFFIC
COMMENTS0
x
D. Orlando LedbetterD. Orlando Ledbetter

What’s next for the Falcons at linebacker?

Comments 1

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons linebacker Weatherspoon, the team’s first-round pick in the 2010 draft (19th overall), was headed into a contract season before rupturing his Achilles tendon while running with the training staff on Tuesday.

Now, all three of the starting linebackers for the Falcons in the NFC championship game against San Francisco after the 2012 season, are out of the lineup. Akeem Dent lost his job during last season and Stephen Nicholas was released over the offseason.

The Falcons, who played most of last season with Paul Worrilow, Joplo Bartu, Weatherspoon and Dent in the top spots, have been revamping the unit. They selected four linebackers in the draft.

Worrilow and Bartu were undrafted rookies last season. Worrilow led the team in tackles with 137 and Bartu was third on the team with 96.

“The two guys who ended up playing a bunch of games and snaps for us last year, have improved and matured, Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu,” Smith said. “If you would have told me this time last year that those two guys, one was going to be our leading tackler and the other was going to play over 70 percent of the snaps, I would have looked at you and said ‘I don’t think so.’ They are much more mature. We went through some growing pains with them last year and that is going to pay some dividends going forward.”

The Falcons drafted Prince Shembo in the fourth round (139th overall), Marquis Spruill in the fifth-round (168th overall), Yawin Smallwood and Tyler Starr in the seventh-round, 253rd and 255th overall.

“I really like the rookie class that we brought in,” Smith said. “I think that there are three guys that if they don’t help us on defense right away, they are going to be able to help us on special teams.”

PHASE THREE OF OFFSEASON PROGRAM

–Today, – OTA No. 8.

–Thursday, June 12 – OTA No. 9.

–Friday, June 13 – OTA No. 10.

–Monday, June 16 – Physicals.

–Tuesday, June 17 — Day One: Mandatory minicamp (5 practices over three days)

–Wednesday, June 18 – Day Two: Mandatory minicamp.

–Thursday, June 19 – Day Three: Mandatory minicamp. (Offseason program ends for veterans).

TBA – Rookie Symposium

TBA – (Late July) – Report to Training camp.

 DRAFT CLASS STORIES

Jake Matthews brings strength of family to the Falcons

Ra’Shede Hageman could turn into defensive force for Falcons

Dezmen Southward ready to compete for playing time

Warrick Dunn likes the pick of FSU’s Devonta Freeman

Falcons signed 20 undrafted rookie free agents, 5 from SEC 

Falcons invite 24 players in for tryouts

NFL Draft 2014: ESPN’s Todd McShay on the Falcons’ draft class

VIDEO: Reaction to the Atlanta Falcons’ 2014 draft class

THE ATLANTA FALCONS 2014 DRAFT CLASS

Round 1 / 6 — Jake Matthews, RT, 6-5, 308, Texas A&M

Round 2/37 – Ra’Shede Hageman, DE, 6-6, Minnesota

Round 3/68 – Dezmen Southward, FS, 6-0, 211, Wisconsin

Round 4/103 – Devonta Freeman, RB, 5-8, 206, Florida State

Round 4/139 – Prince Shembo, LB, 6-1, 253 Notre Dame

Round 5/147 – Ricardo Allen, CB, 5-9, 187, Purdue

Round 5/168 – Marquis Spruill, LB, 6-1, 231, Syracuse

Round 7/253 – Yawin Smallwood, LB, 6-2, 246, Connecticut

Round 7/255 – Tyler Starr, LB, 6-4, 250, South Dakota

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers