In his first season with the Atlanta Falcons, Courtney Upshaw started five games, played in 13 and amassed 14 tackles with a 1/2 sack. That output was down considerably his first four seasons in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens.

There are a few reasons why.

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Upshaw spoke with Jake Weaver of Touchdown Alabama, who pulled some information out of the former Alabama star about his position change with the Falcons.

“They actually flipped me to defensive tackle. I came in, and my weight was a little defensive tackle-ish,” Upshaw told Weaver. “I played defensive tackle, (defensive) end, and a little linebacker toward the end as guys got hurt.”

Not only did Upshaw come in a little heavy, his shift inside brought with it sort of a learning curve. Then when injuries occurred, Upshaw moved to places to fill in. There seemed little continuity to Upshaw’s season with the Falcons.

But with a season on the interior of the defensive line under his belt, Upshaw should grow more into his role in 2017. He’s also in line for more playing time, which led to him re-signing with the Falcons.

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“I’ll be playing D-Tackle and D-End this season as well,” said Upshaw. “They were talking about more playing time at both positions, so that’s why I decided to sign back again this year.”

Atlanta’s defensive line is stacked with more depth now than it’s had in recent memory. There should be two legit edge rushers on the outside with Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley and a slew of interior cast members that can wreak havoc (remember Grady Jarrett’s Super Bowl bonanza) in whatever head coach Dan Quinn has in store.

Upshaw now seems ready to take that next step with the Falcons.


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