Atlanta Falcons Draft Spotlight: ILB Stephone Anthony
September 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Texans outside linebacker Brooks Reed (58) during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Texans defeated the Raiders 30-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Quinn’s made an impact
Quinn’s first moves in free agency were to bring in two starter-quality linebackers in Brooks Reed and Justin Durant. While neither are technically ILBs, both are good players that should provide huge upgrades for the Falcons. Durant, in particular, could be a steal if he can stay healthy.
In Quinn’s 4-3 under defense, the WILL (weakside OLB) and MIKE (middle LB/ILB) are usually traditional 4-3 LBs, while the SAM (strongside OLB) is more similar to a 3-4 OLB.
Durant is likely slotted to play the WILL spot, while Reed is set for the SAM spot. While it’s possible the team could have Reed and/or Durant spend time at MIKE, I don’t believe that’s why they were signed.
That leaves the team with a question mark at the MIKE position. Worrilow is the early favorite to start right now, mostly due to the lack of competition.
But despite my love for Worrilow the person, Worrilow the player was not good last season. He was alright in run support, but he was an active liability in coverage. Your MIKE is generally your defensive signal-caller, and that player shouldn’t need to leave the field.
A MIKE will often have coverage responsibilities, whether that be tight ends or running backs out of the backfield, so it is imperative they have skills in that area.
Obviously, they also need to be good in run support and effectiveness as an occasional A-gap blitzer certainly helps. Worrilow has severe deficiencies in coverage, and while he could improve in that area, I just don’t see him as a three-down ILB in the NFL.
There are two players in the 2015 draft class that I see as legitimate day one starters at the MIKE position: UCLA’s Eric Kendricks, who is a near lock to go in the first round, and Clemson’s Stephone Anthony.
Anthony’s stock is all over the place, with some claiming he shouldn’t be in the conversation until the third, and others saying he’s only a step behind Kendricks.
Anthony should be available when the Falcons pick in the second round, and I’m of the mind that he’s closer to Kendricks than most people think. Let’s dive a little deeper into Anthony’s strengths and weaknesses…
Next: Stephone Anthony's Strengths