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NFL Atlanta Falcons

Jonathan Massaquoi Can Make Impression on Atlanta Falcons in 2013 Camp

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When you are a fifth-round NFL draft pick out of Troy University, you have to take advantage of every opportunity given to make your mark on the team that picked you. Defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi has that opportunity coming into the 2013 Atlanta Falcons training camp, and he’d better make the most of it.

Massaquoi is one of those guys described as having a lot of potential or upside. The scouts said a lot of good things about him, and the Falcons were impressed enough to use a draft pick on him when he was projected as possibly having to go the route of an undrafted free agent.

The 6’2, 270 pound end spent a year with the Falcons in 2012, watching and learning from one of the best–John Abraham–not to mention having some seasoned pros like Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury around to show him a thing or two. Now that Massaquoi has had a year to soak it all in and see what being a defensive lineman in the NFL is all about, it’s time for him to turn that upside into a glowing stat sheet.

John Abraham is gone, and the Falcons are currently negotiating with Osi Umenyiora. It’s likely Atlanta will have him signed to a contract this week, which means that Massaquoi is going to be in a similar situation again, only this time he’s going to have to step up and take the job on the other end of the defensive line for himself.

Biermann and Cliff Matthews aren’t going to just hand it to the kid, they’ll want to have their say in who starts as well. Massaquoi is going to have to show off the explosiveness from the line and the strength in overpowering linemen that scouts referred to so often. He’s going to have to show that he can be the second bookend in a double-digit sack tandem, and bring the Falcons defensive line back to being feared rather than overlooked.

Now is the time for the younger cousin of former UGA standout Mohamed Massaquoi to show that the speedy Cleveland Browns wide receiver isn’t the only one in the family who can put together some ESPN highlight reel material.

The potential is there and the time is right–now Jonathan Massaquoi just has to deliver on it.

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Michael Collins is a Rant Sports Senior Writer, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook