Our hilariously chatty rookie draft pick is already winning himself a ton of fans for his accessibility and sense of humor. The question is, will he win fans on the sidelines?
It's tough to say how much of this is just speculation on the part of the AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter, given his conversational writing style, but I think there's something to the idea that Sean Weatherspoon isn't going to step right in and start. This is a coaching staff that has proven itself to be patient almost to a fault with its young players, and even wunderbacker (note: not a real word) Curtis Lofton didn't get full-time reps right from the get-go.
Let's look at the most realistic situation and what I fervently hope will happen, after the jump.
The Reality: Weatherspoon will be an active participant on special teams immediately. He'll steal fairly frequent snaps from Mike Peterson and a few from Steve Nicholas, as the coaching staff really tries out that philosophy of having Spoon play both positions. If Peterson stays true to form and looks distinctly mediocre, 'Spoon may take over as a three-down 'backer by season's end.
Dave's Fervent Wish: 'Spoon pulls a Gemini Man and becomes the full-time starter at both outside linebacker spots. He plays special teams like Steve Tasker, regularly tearing off the limbs of helpless members of the opposing team whilst at the bottom of the pile. He carries Mike Peterson on his back and throws him at Drew Brees when he gets bored of sacking Drew Brees himself.
The Reality: Sean Weatherspoon has a successful campaign overall. He amasses 60-70 tackles, a couple of sacks and an interception, and while his stop rates are not phenomenal, he gets better as the season wears on. He begins to leverage his considerable athleticism more effectively and not bite when agile backs try to shake him.
Dave's Fervent Wish: 'Spoon piles up 500 tackles and 100 sacks, shattering major NFL records. He intercepts every pass thrown....even when he's in the locker room. When someone like DeAngelo Williams attempts to juke him, he tackles them so hard they're sent spiraling through time, crashing into Scott Bakula going in the opposite direction.
So yeah....that's where I stand. What are your thoughts, gentle readers?