Welcome to our projection series for the 2014 season. We'll bring in the big hitters after the NFL Draft, but for now, let's project some 2013 rookies.
Paul Worrilow, ILB, #55
2013 stats: 127 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 pass deflections
Paul Worrilow was one of the stars of the 2013 season. Pressed into action as a rookie UDFA linebacker, Worrilow piled up tackles and stabilized a linebacking corps ravaged by injuries and ineffectiveness. It was one of the coolest seasons in recent memory for a UDFA, and Worrilow heads into 2014 with an enormous amount of promise and a clear path to a job.
Look beyond the surface and there's more reason for caution. Worrilow graded out poorly via Pro Football Focus's metrics, and watching him for an entire game, you clearly understood why he was a UDFA in the first place. While he's a solid tackler and a terrific athlete, he was quite frequently out of position. It's not like he was alone in that, and it would be unfair to place all of that on his shoulders given the state of the defense, but there's work ahead for Worrilow if he's going to be the best UDFA Falcon linebacker since Jessie Tuggle.
On balance, it was a fine rookie season for Worrilow. If he can address some of his weaknesses and the Falcons can find the right role for him in their hybrid fronts, there's no reason to bet against #55.
With that in mind, project Worrilow. You can use stats or just give us a sense of his role on the team and how he'll fare within that role, whichever you prefer.