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Don't Sleep on Malliciah Goodman as a Starter this Season

Fact: If Malliciah Goodman were to punch you in the face, you'd have to fight off the urge to thank him.

Todd Kirkland

It won't be the popular point of view, and it's a lofty prediction, but there's a chance Malliciah Goodman starts this season. The Clemson product was widely criticized for a lack of effort as a prospect. He's considered an underachiever with ideal size; a player that can become a solid pro somewhere "down the road."

For some Falcons fans, relying on Goodman wouldn't be ideal. Kroy Biermann is the favorite to start opposite Osi Umenyiora, but Mike Nolan might have other plans. Nolan doesn't have a wealth of linebacking depth, and he's already shown an affinity for making Biermann play a hybrid-type position. In year two of Nolan's defense, it's entirely possible that Biermann sees much more time with his hand off the ground. The question is who gets those snaps.

Let's consider the possibilities. Jonathan Massaquoi and Cliff Matthews have played under Nolan before, but neither has much game experience. Stansley Maponga hasn't been healthy since the draft, meaning he's already playing catch up. Massaquoi, Matthews, and Maponga all have ability, but none of them have Goodman's size. His long arms and strong hands may very well mask technical inadequacies, an advantage he's hoping will distinguish him going forward.

Again, this all assumes Biermann plays standing up more often than not. If that happens, I believe Goodman has a real shot at starting as rookie. Your thoughts?