Falcons 2020 Year End Review: Linebackers

Oct 11, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foyesade Oluokun (54) during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2020, from start to finish, wasn’t the year any of us wanted. In purely NFL terms, the Atlanta Falcons had as poor a year as they’ve had in recent history. The players fell flat on their face immediately after leaving the starting gate, the long time General Manager and Head Coach duo were unceremoniously moved on mid-season, and the team ended the season with their highest draft pick since 2008. It was a mess.

With the season over, it’s time to dissect that mess. As we face an uncertain new future, let’s take one last look back at the season, so see if there’s anything positive we can take into the new regime. So, join me as we sift through the awful to, hopefully, find little nuggets of good.

Deion Jones – B-
Foyesade Oluokun – A
Mykal Walker – C+
Edmond Robinson – N/A
LaRoy Reynolds – N/A

Heading into 2020, the linebacking corps looked to be a problem area. Credit where it’s due, then, because this group stepped up. Deion Jones led the league in sacks, which is a depressing statistic in itself. He got involved with 2 interceptions, and even returned one for a touchdown. It was a good season for a very good player. He was shown up a bit in coverage, but, on the whole, he was very good. Long may it continue.

The star of the show, mind, was Foyesade Oluokun. Oluokun was named the FalconsUK Man of the Match in week eight, and was genuinely really, really good. 4 forced fumbles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 78(!) solo tackles. Oluokun stepped into the hole left by DeVondre Campbell, and made it his own. He is one of the team’s stars going into 2021.

Mykal Walker is an interesting case. He only started 6 games of 16 in his rookie season, but looked more than capable of handling the challenges that come with the role. He created one forced fumble in that time, which isn’t bad going, and passed the eye test with the flying colours. He’s in line to take a big step forward in 2021.

Neither Edmond Robinson and LaRoy Reynolds played significant snaps in 2020, and were fine in the few they did. Neither are on the books in 2021, and it would be hard to really justify either returning for more than a very team friendly contract.

Featured Image Credit: Dale Zanine – USA TODAY Sports

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