While the “new tackle machine” designation may be a bit premature, there’s no denying that linebacker Paul Worrilow brings something special to the Atlanta Falcons.
In his first NFL action, the undrafted rookie out of Delaware racked up 6 total tackles and played extremely well in a reserve role with the Falcons. According to Pro Football Focus, Worrilow excelled in coverage, finishing with a 2.3 grade against the pass. Although he struggled as a pass rusher, he made the most of the 48 snaps he saw and caught the attention of those watching.
Worrilow led the Falcons in tackles on the game and finished tied with cornerback Robert Alford for the highest defensive rating in the game with 2.8. Not too shabby for an undrafted rookie.
What makes Worrilow’s chances even better is the fact the Falcons aren’t particularly stacked at the linebacker position. Behind starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent, Atlanta only has Pat Schiller, a sophomore who went undrafted in 2012 and failed to see the field for the Falcons as a rookie. Schiller is far from a lock, and could become expendable if Worrilow continues to impress throughout the preseason.
Worrilow will also have to beat out fellow rookie Brian Banks, a feel-good story looking to claim a place in the NFL that was stolen from him many years ago. Following his one-tackle performance in the preseason opener, though, it appears that Banks is at a disadvantage.
The Falcons have an exciting young talent in Worrilow, a small-school prospect who is quickly making a name for himself down in Atlanta. If he continues to shine during the preseason, don’t be surprised to see No. 49 on the 53-man roster when September rolls around.