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Courtney Upshaw signs with Falcons, will compete to start

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The former Raven should be a strong run defender for Atlanta.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons have added their second linebacker in two days, inking former Raven and generally big dude Courtney Upshaw.

Upshaw isn't going to wow you with his pass rushing ability, but the team seems to think he'll be an asset when the team is pursuing the quarterback, and we know he's going to be an asset against the run. He's a good-sized linebacker at 272 pounds, will man the strong side for Atlanta, and could very well be penciled in as the starter there this fall. He's not going to be all that useful in coverage, more than likely, and he's not a world-beater in general, but his toughness and run-stopping ability mean he's a logical fit for this team's defense. It's not bad for a signing that is coming a couple of weeks into free agency.

I don't personally think he's going to play defensive end full-time for Atlanta, to address the rumor that's already kicking up, though obviously someone of his size could move to the front four when required.

Upshaw's signing may move to Brooks Reed either to middle linebacker, where some of us believed he should have been slotted a year ago, or to a reserve role. Ideally, the Falcons would upgrade on the weak side during the draft, start Reed in the middle and Upshaw on the strong side, and have Philip Wheeler, Paul Worrilow, Sean Weatherspoon, and LaRoy Reynolds available as backups. That certainly looks like a stronger group than it did a week ago, to put it mildly.

We're not sure what the contract is yet, but it's unlikely to be prohibitively expensive, and there's a chance Upshaw is a legitimate upgrade as SLB for Atlanta. What are your thoughts about the signing?