Second-year linebacker Paul Worrilow just looks physically bigger. There's no denying it. He wasn't exactly small when he first started to make a name for himself in last year's training camp, but the undrafted Delaware product lived in the weight room and on the practice field this offseason and the results have turned a lot of heads among media members and fans.
Those results are all just a part of a larger goal for the whole team: Become bigger, faster and stronger for 2014.
Speaking to Alex Marvez and Bill Polian on SiriusXM NFL's "Late Hits" on Monday night, Worrilow gave a little insight into just how the Falcons have accomplished that, particularly how he's set himself up to take a big step in Year 2.
Falcons rookie linebacker Paul Worrilow has had a dominating first season in the NFL, years after donating stem cells in the hope of curing a woman he's never met of leukemia
"One new thing is we've got some bigger guys up front, which I think is an improvement from sheer size and physicality," Worrilow said. "A lot of us have put on weight in the offseason. We've gotten bigger, stronger, faster, which was a goal of ours."
Worrilow told Marvez and Polian that he's added 10 pounds of muscle this offseason, maybe more, which means he could be playing right around 245 in 2014. That's a significant change from his listed 232 playing weight in 2013.
But if you're worried about how all that extra bulk will affect Worrilow's sideline-to-sideline speed, fear not.
"I feel better. I feel more powerful, a lot quicker," Worrilow said. "It wasn't like I was just in the weight room pumping iron every single day. I was on the field probably just as much as I was in the weight room. The big thing with putting the weight on was just a change in diet. When you're a professional, you have access to a greater income for food shopping and groceries that you can really focus in on your diet. I attribute that more to my weight change and my physical body difference than it was the workouts."
Worrilow had a lot of things to learn in a very short period of time last year, notably the playbook and the differences when jumping from the Colonial Athletic Association to the NFL. While Worrilow was a film room rat, affectionately termed, of course, he also spent a significant amount of time working with the Falcons' Athletic Performance staff to get his diet right.
At Delaware, when money was tight, Worrilow often had to make tough choices, as most college students do when it comes to budgeting. He said that affected how he was able to build his body there.
"Sometimes you'll be choosing from gas money or the chicken breast you're going to buy. A lot of times you go to the cafeteria and you have limited options," Worrilow said. "Now, you can sit down with people who know way more than you do. In the NFL, you have access to all these guys that can help you tremendously that I've been able to sit down with. They write up diets and everything based on your weight and your goals — it's incredible. If you don't take advantage of it, I feel that you're really shorting yourself."
Clearly, Worrilow has tapped into all the resources around him as a professional, which could set him up well for his sophomore effort with the Falcons.