Atlanta Falcons: Marquis Spruill Could Be An Underrated Star


“Bro, I’m not saying you’re fat but you too damn big to be in a swim suit.” – LB Marquis Spruill to DT Ra’shede Hageman.

Last season the Atlanta Falcons drafted linebackers Prince Shembo and Marquis Spruill to help solidify depth and hopefully become a valuable starter.

One year later things got as little complicated with the arrest and release of Shembo and an ACL injury with Spruill. Now with a new coaching staff and defensive philosophy, Spruill’s comeback will be evaluated on how he plays to into head coach Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith’s plans.

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After coming out of Syracuse, Spruill was a undersize linebacker who pinned his head back and got after the ball. At 6’0 221 pounds, he was passed by many teams because of his size and the fact that he doesn’t play to his size.

He’s a down hill backer that doesn’t give you much in coverage situations. He is an instinctive player who sees the field well; an effective blitzer with great closing speed and tackling abilities.

Thankfully, the 2014 season gave him time to gain enough weight that suits him best at 241.

Luckily for Spruill there isn’t much competition for him at middle linebacker. Of course veteran Paul Worrilow will be the starting backer and one of the vocal points on the team but there isn’t much behind him to solidify depth with Joplo Bartu, Nathan Stupar, and Allen Bradford.

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Bartu hasn’t elevated his game since his breakout rookie year and doesn’t offer much on special teams. Stupar is one of the cornerstones of the team’s special teams and it should stay that way. He has tremendous value on special teams but defensively he’s only a depth player which is OK.

Bradford comes in with a slight advantage because of his past knowledge of the defense but still is in the mix of being on the roster bubble. Still, we have to understand that everyone’s chances and opportunities can change but for now these are players that Spruill has to show up on.

It was a real shame to see a promising player go down with an injury so early in his career but these are the cards we were dealt.

I didn’t just choose a random player off the roster and set unrealistic goals for him but Marquis is a special player who should show the new coaching staff exactly that.

Only time will tell.

Next: Reviewing day two of Falcons' training camp