The phrase "size matters" applies to the nine Atlanta Falcons defensive ends currently listed on the roster. From the returning players to the veteran additions, as well as the rookies like Ra’Shede Hageman, Falcons fans can’t help but to be excited for a noticeably bigger and stronger DE group for the 2014 season.
Biermann is coming off an Achilles injury that claimed most of his 2013 season. Known for his versatility at DE and LB, his role on the Falcons defense can’t be overstated. He’s worked vigorously to return in 2014, with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan anxiously awaiting the opportunity to maximize every one of Biermann’s many abilities.
Umenyiora is coming off of a 2013 season, his first with the team, that included 16 games (13 starts), 47 tackles, 7.5 sacks, three PBUs, one pick-six and three forced fumbles. He may see more one-on-one matchups to exploit in 2014, especially with the extra size and strength the team added to this year’s defensive line.
Goodman enters his second year with the Falcons, following a rookie campaign that included 14 games (one start), eight tackles and two fumble recoveries. You won’t find many people with hands the size of Goodman’s (11 inches), which, combined with his long arms (36 & 3/8’’), help him create a ton of separation against opposing blockers.
Maponga enters his second season with the Falcons. The pass-rush specialist is extremely quick off the edge and shows great versatility, able to play DE and LB. Maponga expects to make more strides in 2014, following his rookie year that included 12 games and five tackles.
Massaquoi had a breakout season in 2013, including 16 games (four starts), 46 tackles, four sacks and one PBU. He figures pretty heavily in the starting rotation in 2014.
Matthews enters his fourth season with the Falcons, following a 2013 season that included 15 games and 13 tackles. He’s listed as a defensive end, but has played a lot inside, cross training as a DT.
Jackson signed with the Falcons in the offseason, following a five-year campaign with the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s been better than advertised in the offseason and while not being asked to be a stat guy, the linebackers behind him will appreciate all that Jackson brings to the field in 2014 and beyond.
Eguae joins the Falcons after a four-year career at Auburn, where he started 43 games and totaled 105 tackles (65 solo), with 21 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He was a key defensive cog for the Tigers, helping them advance to the BCS title game in 2013.
Hageman enters his rookie season with huge expectations. He played defensive tackle at the University of Minnesota and will move to defensive end, likely behind Jackson. The rookie has already had an impressive offseason, showcasing his strength and toughness up-front. The sky is truly the limit for the 6-6, 318-pound Hageman.