Atlanta Falcons: New linebacker could be a difference maker

Atlanta Falcons have quietly added a defensive piece that will make a huge difference.

Not much thought has been given to the free agents that the Atlanta Falcons have signed – not because these guys aren’t good enough but rather, they simply weren’t among the elite guys available at their positions.

As general manager Terry Fontenot said at the start of free agency, the franchise was going to have to look hard to find diamonds in the rough and they may have done just that on the defensive side of the ball.

So far, the Falcon have signed five free agents – four on defense as well as Mike Davis on offense.

Erik Harris, Barkevious Mingo, and Fabian Moreau are fine additions at positions of need and will bring a great veteran presence but Brandon Copeland could be the best signing of the early free-agent wave.

Copeland is 30 but has missed 16 games over the last two seasons – four for violating the NFL’s drug policy in 2019 and 12 due to a torn pectoral muscle in 2020. He doesn’t have nearly as much wear and tear on his body as one would think at 30 years old.

If you aren’t familiar, Copeland’s path to the NFL is one that most have never seen.

He is a graduate of the Wharton School (top business school in the world) and uses his offseason to teach financial literacy at his alma mater – the University of Pennsylvania. Copeland is just one of 21 former Ivy League players to make an NFL roster in 2020 – and now the Falcons will have three as Copeland will join fellow linebacker Foye Oluokun and tight end Jaeden Graham, both Yale graduates.

The stats that he has accumulated over his first 66 games in the NFL will not wow anyone but that doesn’t mean that he won’t fit in well in Atlanta and we should give him an opportunity to perform before we rush to judgment.

Having to suffer from the awful staff of the Titans, Jets, and Lions isn’t a fair way to assess his talent and Copeland should be given a clean sheet and a chance to perform before casting any judgment.

During an interview after signing his contract, he told the Atlanta Falcons Kelsey Conway that he doesn’t want to talk but would rather “I’ll introduce myself to Atlanta in Week 1.”

Brandon Copeland more than likely won’t be an All-Pro or a Pro-Bowl linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons but he will bring a lot of upside and depth to the blitz-happy packages that Dean Pees is going to install and given the limited amount of money that the Falcons have to spend, this was a great piece to add.