Atlanta Falcons 2013 Breakout Candidate: Jonathan Massaquoi

By Leigh Allen
Jonathan Massaquoi Atlanta Falcons 2013 Breakout Candidate
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

“Every day I’m shuffling.”

That is a line from a recent hit song, but it’s the one thing Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi doesn’t want…to get lost in the shuffle.

Much as is heard to the contrary, John Abraham isn’t coming back. Sad for the fans, but it is a welcome opportunity that Massaquoi must take advantage of if he wants to move up to the top of the DE chain. The Falcons certainly wouldn’t have drafted him if they didn’t think the aptitude was there. After a rookie year that saw little action on the field, it’s time to utilize the talent that caught the scouts’ collective eye for everyone else to see.

The Massaquoi question isn’t as much ‘can he?’ as ‘will he?’ Yes, he will learn much from new fellow DE and seasoned veteran Osi Umenyiora; yes, he can incorporate Umenyiora’s knowledge and experience into his quest. The competition will be stiff, and he must understand it won’t be an easy—or free—ride. The Falcons did draft two DE’s, Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga, this year. That doesn’t mean they doubt the abilities of the current members of the DE force, including Massaquoi. Depth is needed, and the draft helped fill a need as far as numbers go. But who rises to the top—and falls to the bottom—of the numbers remains to be seen.

The Falcons’ defense isn’t where it needs to be, and Umenyiora can’t bring it up to par (and beyond) alone. This is Massaquoi’s chance to step up, step in and help bring the DE part of the Falcons to Super Bowl caliber.


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

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