Yesterday the Falcons announced they were hosting Courtney Upshaw for an official visit. It has now officially been announced that the Falcons have agreed to terms with the former Alabama Crimson Tide star. The move adds more defensive help to a linebacking core that really struggled last season. Upshaw was drafted in the second round by the Baltimore Ravens and spent four seasons with the team. In his rookie season, Upshaw proved to be a force. He recorded 60 tackles and forced two fumbles while playing in all 16 games for the Ravens. His numbers saw a drop off in years two and three, as he only recored 72 tackles combined in the two seasons. However, Upshaw had a nice season last year forcing two fumbles and combining for 51 tackles.
Upshaw is a 6 foot 2, 272 pound linebacker that is a force against the run. He has not and will not ever prove to be much of a pass rusher, but will bring more toughness to a defensive front that made strides last year. For the second consecutive season, Dan Quinn has not gone after many big name pass rushers. Instead he has chosen to take shots on numerous under the radar players who resemble the physical nature that Quinn wants to bring to Atlanta. The Falcons moved up seven spots last year against the run, and moves like signing Upshaw will only make it harder to run against the Falcons. The Seahawks led the league in rushing defense in both seasons with Quinn as the defensive coordinator, so its clear he wants to establish that same kind of dominance in the trenches here in Atlanta.
Upshaw played in all 64 games for the Ravens and has started in 29 of the last 32. This is a solid move, but it still does not address the pass rushing problem. Look for Atlanta to spend most of its picks in the draft trying to find guys who can rush the quarterback.