Atlanta Falcons 2013 Breakout Candidate: Cliff Matthews

By Leigh Allen
Cliff Matthews Atlanta Falcons 2013 Breakout Candidate
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Matthews has read the writing on the Atlanta Falcons wall, and that writing has an impressive list of defensive end names that may or may not be ahead of his own.

Some of the projected (note: not official) depth charts have even gone so far as placing rookie Malliciah Goodman above Matthews in the position battle. Rookie Stansly Maponga is one to watch, even though he’s basically the unknown factor. All things considered, versatility is an absolute must for Matthews, and he’s taken that need to heart. He’s coming from offseason a good ten pounds heavier, and that extra bulk could be of help in moving to the defensive tackle position. However, would that move be permanent, and is that move even a definite?

Absolutely not.

Unless something absolutely off the wall happens, Osi Umenyiora owns a starting spot going into training camp. If Kroy Biermann does make the move to linebacker as some suggest, Jonathan Massaquoi will be primed and ready to step into the position Biermann vacates.  The rookies would love to come in and make a name for themselves at the expense of Matthews, though it’s fair to say that would be a reach.

However, the plan could be to use Matthews in both DE and DT positions…and if that does happen, he won’t be the only player asked to move around. Bet on it. Either way, the opposing teams would be scrambling in the wake of flexible players…players that they (the opposition) wouldn’t know where they might turn up next on the defense. The Falcons can get their defensive game on by throwing off the opposition, and Matthews has the opportunity to solidify his position(s) for the future. Namely, a Super Bowl future.

Look for the breakout to start at training camp.


Leigh Allen is an NFL Atlanta Falcons writer for Follow her on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Google+.

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