Courtney Upshaw is now a Falcon, and we all want to know more about him. To that end, I turned to our friends at Baltimore Beatdown, and head honcho Kyle Barber was kind enough to give us a brief scouting report on Upshaw, a player he liked a great deal.
Kyle Barber: Preface: I have been a big fan of Courtney Upshaw since the beginning.
Courtney Upshaw is a run-stopping edge setter. If you're expecting a pass rusher, you will be possibly the most dissapointed fan in the NFL. He was bottom of the league in pass rushing, according to PFF, for 3-4 OLB's. There are two reasons for that:
1. Courtney Upshaw doesn't possess the skill and speed necessary to attack the quarterback. It never developed, and if he cannot develop under the Baltimore Ravens school of linebackers, I don't know who can train him.
2. He wasn't used as a pass rush weapon. Courtney was rolled out specifically on first and second down, because he is a tenacious edge setting run stopper with great power. He is a hulking man, no doubt, at 6'2" and 271 lbs. When you're a man named Courtney you gotta be that big. Here is a (terrible but awesome) commercial about Courtney Upshaw.
Courtney was a big piece to the Ravens systems in years past. He was in rotation with Paul Kruger when Kruger was relevant. Upshaw run stuffing on 1st and 2nd downs. Kruger would pin the ears back and attack the QB.
In recent years Upshaw did the same exact dirty work, but Elvis Dumervil was the edge weapon for pass heavy downs. Keeping Dumervil fresh for 17 sacks in the 2014 season.
Courtney seemed to acquire two coverage sacks a season, one seemingly against the Steelers a season. Very satisfying, and one of the hardest hits Ben Roethlisberger would admit to receiving.
This is about what we expected to hear about Upshaw. He could very well end up starting, but he's likely a two down player at linebacker who could potentially kick to end on some third downs. It's possible there's some pass rushing potential that has lain dormant all these years, sure, but as Barber notes above, we probably would've seen more of it by now. Upshaw is a worthy addition to this team, but it's fair to say the Falcons are still going to be looking elsewhere for cover linebackers and pass rushers.