Falcons Countdown to Camp: DL

Falcons Countdown to Camp: DL

Jay Adams

Published July 11, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Russell Athletic Atlanta Falcons Training Camp is around the corner, beginning July 25, and AtlantaFalcons.com will take you through some of the need-to-know information for all position groups, including additions, departures and key battles.

The departure of John Abraham and the signing of Osi Umenyiora has created an interesting dynamic among the defensive line as things stand right now heading into training camp, with younger players looking to get the nod with more playing time.
Veterans: Kroy Biermann, Cliff Matthews, Jonathan Massaquoi
Departures: John Abraham, Lawrence Sidbury
Additions: Osi Umenyiora (free agency), Malliciah Goodman (fourth-round pick), Stansly Maponga (fifth-round pick), Cam Henderson (college free agent), Brandon Thurmond (college free agent)
Key Battle: With the defensive line rotation, who will get the most playing time opposite Umenyiora? That’s the key question heading into the season. Biermann plays a hybrid position and has been doing a lot of cross training, so will Matthews and Massaquoi be next in line behind him to see the field more? Don’t discount rookies Goodman and Maponga. Goodman is sizey and is projected to be a good pro when he develops. Maponga has been hampered in the offseason by a foot injury but he’s slated to be ready to go for training camp. How much catching up he has to do remains to be seen, but the numbers game at this position could make for some difficult decisions after the fourth preseason game.

Perhaps the one position on the defensive side with very little turnover, the defensive tackle spots have the most familiar faces, returning stalwarts like Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters and Peria Jerry.
Veterans: Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Peria Jerry, Travian Robertson, Micanor Regis
Departures: Vance Walker
Additions: Neal Huynh (college free agent), Adam Replogle (college free agent)
Key Battle: With Walker heading to Oakland in free agency, it leaves an opening for a younger player to step into the defensive line rotation. Babineaux, Peters and Jerry saw the most time last year, but Walker was also depended on. The battle between Robertson, a seventh-round pick last year, and Regis, an undrafted player who spent last year on the practice squad, will be one to watch as whoever comes out on top will be most likely to contribute in 2013. Huynh and Replogle, if they can defy the odds of being college free agents to make the roster, are big options to plug up the middle.

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