Drafting at the top of the first round usually means you’ll be expecting young players to fill vital roles on your football team in the upcoming season. While the Falcons have a lot of established, Pro Bowl players that will certainly be relied upon in 2014, they’re also expecting some of this year’s draft picks to come in and help right away. However, there are some young players already on the roster that could do the same.
Jonathan Massaquoi stepped into the starting lineup at times last year at defensive end and continued the improvement he’s made since being selected in the fifth round in 2012 out of Troy. After just eight game appearances as a rookie, Massaquoi appeared in every game last season with four starts, earning four sacks. It’s no secret the Falcons are considering drafting a player to help the pass rush, but on Wednesday, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon singled out Massaquoi as one of the players primed for a big year.
During vacation in the offseason, Weatherspoon got a chance to get inside Massaquoi’s head and the experience of last season, the linebacker felt, should only make Massaquoi better.
“We went to Europe right after the season and just kind of kicked back and just relaxed,” Weatherspoon said. “Jonathan and Osi (Umenyiora) were there and we just kind of talked a little bit, seeing where Jonathan’s head was after this last season. It showed me he was ready to work and ready to be that guy. I really feel like he’ll be one of the guys that will really step up this year for us.”