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Upshaw Sees More Versatile Role in Atlanta

Most Falcons fans are familiar with Courtney Upshaw due to his days at the University of Alabama, where he was a physical presence on one of the nation's top defenses.

His ability to control the line of scrimmage made him a second-round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2012.

While with the Ravens he was primarily used to stop the run and he was successful doing so.

Upshaw will continue to be a big part Atlanta's run defense, but he will also be used in a different way.

Part of the reason Upshaw decided to sign with the Falcons after visiting with the New York Jets was the new opportunities he will be given to add to his overall game.

"My strengths are playing a physical game and dominating the line of scrimmage," Upshaw said. "I know a lot of people question if I can get after the passer. I feel like being a part of this team I would get a chance to showcase that part of my game. But my strength is being able to knock people around. Once they see me out there on the field on gameday, they will see I am one of the most physical guys on the field."

In addition to a more versatile role, Upshaw liked the idea of being closer to his home in Alabama. Coach Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith also played major factors in his decision to join the Falcons.

"Meeting with the coaches and the guys it just felt like the place I needed to be," Upshaw said. "It is close to home, close to family, but the vibe I got from Coach Quinn and Coach Smith [were important]. We sat down and watched film and I liked the way the whole meeting was set up. I felt like it was the place I needed to be."

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