We're going to be drilling in to every position on the roster, and even every player, so this is not intended to be an exhaustive review of the linebacker position. It's just intended to be an acknowledgement that the position is going to look very different in 2016.
The Falcons went into this year with Justin Durant, Brooks Reed, and Paul Worrilow as their nominal starters. Worrilow was ineffective outside of a few (very brilliant) bright spots, Durant was hurt too often and ineffective off and on, and Reed never looked to be fully healthy. Their key backups at the position were a better-than-expected Nate Stupar, who figures to return, and street free agent Philip Wheeler. The Falcons, in other words, cobbled together a unit out of incumbents, special teamers, and free agent signings, and they were rewarded with some very mediocre play.
That's what makes me think that this position will change more than any other in 2016. Durant and/or Worrilow could be gone, Stupar will return to a primarily backup role, and Tyler Starr may actually get his long-awaited shot to contribute at linebacker. Throw in the fact that the Falcons will want to spend at least one pick on getting younger and more athletic at linebacker, and that many of us expect them to do so in the first round, and you could legitimately be looking at a Falcons team with Brooks Reed as the only familiar starter in 2016. That's a little wild, but it tells you how unsettled and at times inept the position was.
I welcome a big change at linebacker, especially considering this was once a team strength that has fallen completely by the wayside. How do you think linebacker will change in 2016?