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What Can We Expect From Jonathan Massaquoi?

The 2012 rookie may be counted on to rush the passer in 2013, or he could be depth.


Defensive end has been a mysterious position of late for these Atlanta Falcons.

Jamaal Anderson was a talented enigma who never put it together. Ray Edwards was a moody headcase who seems to have taken up boxing full-time. And no one was a bigger mystery than Lawrence Sidbury, who flashed great potential but couldn't get on the field, perhaps because of his insulting comment toward the Duchess of York at a snooty dinner party.

Jonathan Massaquoi is at home with mystery. The 2012 fifth-round pick was the first draft pick in recent memory I actually predicted correctly, and he was chosen to add to the pass rush. After a 2012 spent mostly on the bench, Massaquoi comes into 2013 with the potential to seize a larger role. The problem is that we have absolutely no idea if he can do that.

Massaquoi's strengths are his speed, which is excellent for a potential 4-3 end and very good for a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has good instincts and agility, and that combination has made some players quite successful rushing off the edge. On the lflip side, he was clearly not ready for primetime this year, didn't have a lot of great pass rushing moves and wasn't known for overpowering strength.

On the plus side, Massaquoi will be just 25 years old this year, and on a team that isn't exactly brimming with quality pass-rushing options. Massaquoi is enough of a tweener in terms of size that he could probably take on a linebacker or defensive end role this year, depending on what the coaching staff wanted from him. if the talent is there—and I think it is—he should be able to find playing time in 2013.

Let's debate. What kind of role do you think Massaquoi can carve out?