Two months ago, Pat Schiller faced virtually no competition for a backup linebacker spot. The Falcons were dangerously thin at the position, and Robert James was not exactly the strongest contender in the world.
Fast forward to the present day and there's considerably more competition. Brian Banks is in town, looking to win a job after having ten years of his life stolen from him. The Falcons drafted Zeke Motta, who could get real snaps at linebacker. And they brought in a few intriguing UDFA options, in particular Joplo Bartu, Nick Clancy and Paul Worrilow.
Schiller has a year under his belt on the practice squad as a 2012 UDFA, so he'd have to be considered an early favorite for a roster spot, but there are no guarantees. This story from the Official Site tells you he knows it's not going to be easy for him to get in:
"Being on the practice squad, I’ll have a chance to go out there and fill a spot at linebacker on the active roster," Schiller said. "On the other side, I could also get cut, so I have to work harder than anybody."
Competition will get you stronger players. Whoever wins the backup spots will hopefully offer upgrades over what the Falcons have had over the last couple of seasons, and at least one of the UDFAs will likely stick as a member of the practice squad in 2013.
If I had to guess, I'd give Banks and Schiller two backup jobs, with the possibility of one of Clancy, Bartu and Worrilow cracking the active roster if the Falcons decide to carry six pure linebackers. There's some real talent here, even if that talent might need seasoning.
Who do you think will make the roster?