Jump to content

Falcoholic Roundtable: Who Will Be Falcons 2015 Breakout Star?


Recommended Posts

Falcoholic roundtable: Who will be 2015's breakout star?

By Dave Choate

Considering who is most likely to break out for the Falcons this coming season.

At The Falcoholic, we love a good writer's roundtable like a lobster loves drawn butter, so we're back at it again.

Today's burning question concerns the man taking a huge leap forward in 2015. We hope there will be many Falcons who achieve stardom, yes, but we're trying to identify the guy who will arrive on the scene this year with an unexpected strong performance.

Surprisingly, we didn't all vote in lockstep. Check out our choices below and share yours with us.

Matthew Chambers: Jacob Tamme

One of Atlanta's underrated free agency signings, Tamme has the opportunity he has rarely had in his career: zero competition for the starting position.

Kyle Shanahan's offense is notoriously tight end friendly, and Tamme has decent athletic ability and catching prowess. He is unlikely to make you think he is one of the best in the league, but considering he has averaged under 150 yards per season the last two years, Tamme should breakout and will have no trouble producing the best season of his career even at age 30.

Dave Choate: Ra'Shede Hageman

It's obvious, isn't it? He's too big to be mediocre.

Hageman should be given every opportunity to start with an aging Jonathan Babineaux and situationally-useful Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson standing in his way, and he has all the necessary tools to become a fearsome interior presence. I think he'll be a terrific player this season, and if he is, look for the entire defense to fare better around him.

Alec Shirkey: Justin Hardy

I already felt pretty good about Hardy's chances to contribute on offense immediately, and reports out of minicamp have only reinforced that optimism. This is a player who made 121 catches for 1,494 yards and 10 TDs as a senior in East Carolina's pass-heavy offense. Over 70 percent of his catches went for first downs, and he caught 12 for 140 against UCF's 21st-ranked passing defense. Hardy's reliable hands give him the potential to rack up tons of short-yardage receptions as a slot receiver, making him a clear breakout candidate in my mind.

Jake Bennett: Paul Worrilow

This past season, I was one to criticize Worrilow's performance in a wacky scheme and inability to defend the pass. And while some of his mistakes are his fault, he can only get better from here on with "the best offseason he's ever had" and a scheme more fit to help the MLB.

Worrilow certainly has the physical tools to succeed, and it all lies on his ability to put it all together into a solid season under a new regime. In 2015, I expect his play to elevate above his Freshman and Sophomore campaigns with the help of Dan Quinn and added talent around him.

Caleb Rutherford: Devonta Freeman

Make no mistake, Tevin Coleman could very well steal my thunder here, but I saw enough of Freeman last year to see what makes him so special. His ability to almost "predict the future" when he's in space is incredible. Go back and watch his TD against the Saints (the one where he does that sideways jump). Watch it a few times. Freeman sees the DB come up to make a tackle but positions himself and times his jump in such a way that the DB never had a chance at him.

It's plays like that and a few others that have me excited to see what he can do in Shanahan's zone blocking scheme. He's in a prime position to succeed here, as well. He leads a young RB group and has a fantastic attitude. We might have drafted Coleman to log significant snaps, but don't expect Freeman to give those snaps up so easily.

The DW: Jake Matthews

Given the woeful state of affairs on the Falcons offensive line recently, you'd be forgiven if you weren't willing to put faith into any particular offensive lineman. However, I truly believe Matthews is going to bounce back in a big way and have a breakout season. Jake really hit a perfect storm last year: rookie year, spent the entire off-season preparing at right tackle only to be thrust into starting on the left, then he had his ankle stepped on in the first game and was never really given the time to heal properly. It all added up to a very rough year for the rookie.

However, the reality is that Jake was a top-10 consensus pick for a reason. He has the size, athleticism and most importantly - technique - to be a top left tackle in this league for many years. Under Shanahan, his athleticism will be used better in the running game which should help ease the concerns in pass protection. I still believe Matthews has the ability to be a pro-bowl caliber tackle in this league, and this will be the year he begins living up to it.

Allen Strk: Ryan Schraeder

It tends to go unnoticed that Schraeder had a promising sophomore season. After replacing the overwhelmed Gabe Carimi in week eight, an obvious upgrade had become quite evident. The running game had more success through the right side of the offensive line. Besides the dreadful home loss to Carolina, Schraeder proved to be an asset at right tackle. Atlanta hasn't had a competent right tackle, since releasing Tyson Clabo in 2013. Through being an excellent pass blocker and adequate run blocker, Schraeder has become an asset on a shaky offensive line.

Can his high-level of play be sustained for a sixteen game period? The undrafted free agent from Valdosta State will be opening training camp as the starting right tackle. It will certainly be his job to lose, especially with Lamar Holmes being out for an extensive period of time. With his strengths pertaining towards footwork and movement, Schraeder is an ideal fit for the zone blocking scheme. The third-year breakout label can apply here, as I'm expecting the right side of the offensive line to be one of Atlanta's biggest strengths this year.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the Hageman pick, personally.

He started looking pretty good towards the end of last year, and that was with zero outside pressure. Now that Quinn has placed such an emphasis on improving the edge rush, that should make life MUCH easier for the interior lineman. I could see Hage getting 8 or 9 sacks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a good sign that the pool of potential stars is so diverse. The more options there are, the better the chance that a few of them will float to the top.









Tuggle 2



and Ricardo Allen are all potential stars.

Round and round we go. Who'll step up, nobody knows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I think through the list of guys I expect big seasons from, I realize the list is quite longer than previous years

I agree, as there are several more Falcons that might have breakout seasons. I would include defensive FA signings Clayborn, Reed, Durant, and Schofield as possible breakout candidates to the aforementioned list. I would also include rookie Vic Beasley as a possible breakout candidate even in his very first NFL season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to go with Trufant although he is not on this list. He is now starting to be recognized as one of the leagues next top shut-down corners. He is only going to get better.

I would imagine that the Falcoholic writers probably thought that Trufant has already "broken-out".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tevin Coleman 1,000+ yards, 10+ TDs, 5+ Big Play TDs (40 yards or more)

Teams are going to gear up to stop the pass, giving Coleman the ability to get to the second level. If you've seen film on TC, you'll know that if he gets to the second level - HE GONE!

If he stays healthy - Coleman will be a beast. Mark it down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hoping for Ricardo "Big Balls" Allen

Well Ricardo Allen has probably been the biggest "Surprise" thus far. To go from Practice Squad to potential "Starter" in one year would be quite an achievement. But to go from Starter to "Star" would be even a bigger jump. If Allen does become the starting FS, I just hope at this point, that he will be a capable starter and not a weak link in the defense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could see Star getting his name in the mix for rotational Leo. He will have to show a lot to get on the roster though.

My pick for breakout player would be Rocky on defense, and Hardy on offense. If I had to choose. I don't really see the RBs as "breakout" players just because I expect them all to be good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...