Predicting Some Breakout Seasons
Even though the temp is still blistering and we’re only a few weeks out from training camp, you just start to get the feeling that Falcons and football are just around the corner. The SEC Media Days helped kick things off this week and training camp is officially 2 weeks away as of today. Football is in the humid air! As camp approaches, let’s take a look at a few Falcons who may be headed for a breakout (with a look at some breakdowns in the next piece)…….
RB Devonta Freeman
Yes, this one’s pretty obvious and everyone’s favorite to have a breakout performance, but it really does add up. The new zone blocking system, a revamped offensive line, and Freeman working like a man possessed should be a recipe for a big year. Considering the small amount of touches as a rookie, he still made the most of it and the amazing TD run against the Saints is still fresh in fans minds. Admittedly, he’ll be splitting time with Tevin Coleman and Antone Smith, but the commitment to the run game should improve the amount of touches for all the RB’s.
TE Jacob Tamme
Even though Tamme is a veteran at the ripe age of 30, he could be a candidate for a big role in this offense. The Falcons had woeful production from their TE spot last year and it allowed defenses to focus on the perimeter and shut down the passing game, particularly with a non-existent running game. It’s been several years since Tamme had good production (2012, 52 rec, 555 yds) and that was with pass happy Peyton Manning. But he really has a chance to get a lot of looks with so many other weapons around him (Jones, White, Hardy, Freeman, Coleman, etc).
MLB Paul Worrilow
Many may not agree, but all he’s done since taking over the starting MLB spot two years ago is rack up 270 combined tackles, including 4 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Some critics argue his stats may look good, but most of his tackles are downfield. He is surely a liability in coverage, but working with one of the best defensive minds in the game should bring out Worrilow’s best. A revamped defensive line and defense overall should help keep as many bodies off of him and let him thrive. He’s also drawn rave reviews from Quinn as he said that #55 is having a “terrific offseason” and that “he’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s had a better one than Paul.”
FS Ricardo Allen
Like Freeman, the free safety is a favorite on many fans list to have a breakout year. He looked fantastic in mini-camp and pulled down several interceptions and most felt he had one of the best camps of any player. Of course it was t-shirts and shorts and we won’t get a true look until they strap the pads on, but Allen could thrive in Quinn’s defense as a centerfield free safety. He doesn’t need big and rangy players to play the position, as was evidenced by Earl Thomas and all the success he had in Seattle. Time will tell, but Allen certainly should be on the “to watch” list.
DL Ra’shede Hageman
Again, this is another obvious one, but Hageman really does look to flourish in 2015. He was already showing signs of great progress at the end of the year and him working in Quinn’s new system could make him a focal point. Michael Bennett comes to mind in DQ’s system. Hageman will likely be moving around a lot between DT and DE the way Bennett did with the Seahawks.
OLB O’Brien Schofield
This one is going way out on a limb, but Schofield could have a big year. Several reasons favor the former Seahawk. He is extremely familiar with Quinn’s system and he won’t have the learning curve that other players will have. Another case for Schofield to have a good season is that he can play multiple spots, both as an outside linebacker and rush end. Mostly as a backup, Schofield’s still managed to pull down 13.5 sacks in his career. Finally, Justin Durant is slotted ahead of him and he’s had major injury issues over his career, so it’s very likely he would get the nod if Durant goes down. Surely the former Seahawk left Seattle with belief he could earn himself a more prominent role in Atlanta