Atlanta Falcons five breakout players of 2015 – #4


Today, we continue the final few additions of “Falcons 50”, continuing with our look at the five potential breakout players for the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. Who’s at four?

You can find the full list of “Falcons 50″ posts here.

The “Falcons 50” countdown has entered it’s final stretch. We are counting down the Atlanta Falcons’ top five potential breakout players for this season, which is fitting as we enter the final few days of the offseason. Who is at No. 4?

No. 4 – O’Brien Schofield

He is a newcomer that could become a key contributor fairly quickly. The Atlanta Falcons were in critical need of pass rush and edge presence. Dan Quinn decided to bring on board his former outside linebacker from his time in Seattle.

O’Brien Schofield is not the most known player at linebacker but he does very well at what the coaching staff is asking him – pressure the quarterback and disrupt the backfield. As a reserve in Arizona then in Seattle, the five-year veteran always have been a valuable asset on third down. He recorded 86 tackles, 13.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 66 games.

Quinn appreciated Schofield’s qualities from his time as defensive coordinator over in Seattle. The new Falcons head coach will give the linebacker the same duties but will he have the same results with a new team?

He will exceed what he has done in the past. Schofield showcased his potential during preseason play with strong performances. However, he will see more playing time in the first few games. He is set to replace Brooks Reed as the starting strong side linebacker. The former Texan had a groin surgery last week and will be out of play for around six weeks.

His familiarity with Quinn’s schemes and a starting role should do wonders for Schofield. His versatility is another weapon the franchise will be happy to use. He can lineup at the outside linebacker spot as well as the defensive end spot.

It is fair to expect a good showing from the Wisconsin alumni. Schofield is not a top-notch player at his position, of course, but he has displayed solid pass-rushing abilities. A little more than two sacks on average per year for a veteran player is not outstanding. His stats could get a decent push with a bigger role with Quinn’s confidence.

Schofield is going to be lined up opposite Vic Beasley. The rookie selected with the Atlanta Falcons first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft is going to draw much of the attention on him. Logically, this will open up some space for Schofield on the strong side.

Furthermore, here is a reminder that NFC South offensive tackles are pretty bad, to say the least. We are sure he will appreciate this situation. A 10-sack season could be in play.

Next: Blogging Dirty staff predict Week 1 games

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