Falcons 2012 fifth-round pick Jonathan Massaquoi didn't have the kind of senior season he expected. After a junior year that turned some heads and a ranking of ninth in the country with 13.5 sacks, his production slipped a little last season. He still earned first-team honors in his conference and recorded six sacks.
Many felt Massaquoi's dip was due to added weight as he entered his senior season. On Saturday, Smith confirmed that the 6-foot-2, 264-pound end was in fact heavier for his senior year, but he's entered camp with a new appearance.
"We felt looking at him as a junior and then as a senior, he looked to be heavier as a senior," Smith said. "He played a little lighter as a junior when he had more production. His weight is down and he looks a lot leaner than he did in the season."
Smith sees an explosive player and thinks the version of Massaquoi that he's getting is closer to the junior year Massaquoi.
Ultimately all Smith wants from his young defensive end is pass-rushing production. He doesn't think weight is important as long as the production occurs.
"The skill set we liked about Jonathan when he was going through this draft process was that he could rush the passer," Smith said. "That was a trait he had. He's got very good speed around the corner. Weight is not as important when you start talking about guys rushing the passer. There are a lot of guys that have gotten a lot of sacks in this league that are 260 pounds."
Massaquoi's 20.5 tackles for loss during the 2010 season tied the Troy school record for second most ever. In 25 starts at the university, he recorded 128 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, 12 QB pressures, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, three pass deflections and one blocked kick.