The Falcons have agreed to terms with LB Justin Durant, who was selected by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2007 draft and has played in Jacksonville, Detroit and Dallas.
1. Star Performer: Justin Durant arrives in Atlanta after at two-year stay with the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to suffering a biceps injury in Week 8 last season, he was thriving for the team, described as "in the top three or four performers we've had on the defense this year," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. Durant recorded 49 tackles (31 solo), four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one interception in six games in 2014.
2. Versatility at Linebacker: Known for loving versatile players, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn adds another with Durant, who has spent time at middle and outside linebacker in his eight-year career. "We basically cross-train at each position," Durant said of his time with the Cowboys. "I could come in one day, and coach could say, 'Hey, play outside today,' and I'll be ready for that. … We all cross-train and make sure we know each position." Durant's versatility will be put to full use in Quinn's system.
3. Size Adaptability: Quinn like players of all sizes and remains focused on their effort, attitude and skill. Durant's stature has stayed pretty much the same in the league, playing between 232 to 237 pounds. He'll likely embrace any changes the Falcons coaching staff may ask of him in 2015 and beyond, adding size when necessary.
4. Position Experience Matters: The Falcons are sure to capitalize on Durant's experience at different linebacker spots, serving on the outside with the Detroit Lions, middle linebacker in Jacksonville and playing both positions at various times with the Cowboys.
Durant will likely do his homework in Atlanta the same way he told DallasCowboys.com he prepared for the various positions he was asked to play, recalling his earlier years in the league.
"I can try to go back and just think about some of the reads that I had," Durant said. "I'm definitely going to try to dig into my mental index and see what I had in there and what I still had left. The experience that I had there (at each spot) is definitely going to help."
5. Veteran Leadership: The Falcons locker room will get another strong dose of veteran leadership as Durant arrives in Atlanta for his ninth year in the league. The experiences he's had during each of his three NFL stops will serve to benefit the younger Falcons linebackers and the rest of his teammates as each looks to succeed in the competitive industry of the NFL.