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Atlanta Falcons roster review: Paul Worrilow

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The polarizing linebacker should be back, but will what his role be?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Worrilow's third season with the Falcons showed just what his ceiling is within the NFL. Unfortunately, that ceiling isn't high enough for Worrilow to be a long-term solution for the Falcons defensive leader at middle linebacker. He's shown competence within the scheme but hasn't shown that he's an exceptional talent the way that Bobby Wagner did in Seattle. Atlanta could easily upgrade from Worrilow in 2016.

2015 Season in Review

Atlanta got some of the best production out of Worrilow in 2015 than they did in either 2013 or 2014. Despite his 95 tackles being a career low, the Falcons defense also played nearly 200 less snaps in 2015 and he missed a full game. Worrilow also recovered his first fumble of his career and also added on his first pair of interceptions. He also posted career highs in tackles for loss (5) and pass deflections (4).

Unfortunately, he was out of position too often in coverage and didn't seem to fit the scheme ideally in the run game. Worrilow definitely deserves a spot on the roster, and honestly, his play might be best suited for strong-side linebacker within the scheme. He'd have limited coverage responsibilities and could primarily focus on the running game and pass rush. Worrilow is talented, but at this point, he's not an ideal fit for the middle linebacker for Atlanta.

Contract Breakdown

Worrilow is currently a restricted free agent. The Falcons should look into a second-round tender only because it would be relatively inexpensive for a linebacker who can start within the defense for under $2.5 million. Should a team sign Worrilow away, a second-round pick could easily take his spot in the lineup and be an upgrade. Should he stick with the Falcons, the $2.5 million salary wouldn't be a hindrance at all.

2016 Projection

Worrilow won't start in 2016 if the Falcons do what they should do for the new scheme under Dan Quinn and actually sign a linebacker in free agency with some speed and instincts. Worrilow's ideal role for the Falcons is as a depth linebacker who can contribute on special teams and with his leadership. Despite some flashes shown in the scheme in 2015, Worrilow had way more bad plays than good and should be a backup.