Jonathan Massaquoi is making good first impression on Falcons

Atlanta lineman Jonathan Massaquoi, a fifth-round draft pick, had 19½ sacks in two seasons at Troy. He has dropped 16 pounds since his college career ended.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — In his 2010 season at Troy, Jonathan Massaquoi weighed about 260 pounds when he led the Sun Belt Conference with 13½ sacks.


Last season, Massaquoi was up to 275 pounds, and he had only six sacks.

Coach Mike Smith said Saturday the Atlanta Falcons were looking for the lighter version of Massaquoi when they selected the defensive end in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft.

“We felt that looking at him as a junior and then looking at his senior tape he looked to be heavier as a senior,” Smith said after Saturday’s practice. “He played a little bit lighter as a junior when he had more production. His weight is down and he looks a lot leaner than he did as a senior.”

Massaquoi, listed at 6-foot-2, said he’s back at about 259 pounds and he looked lean and quick as he went through drills during Saturday’s second day of the Falcons’ three-day rookie minicamp.

He is trying to show Smith’s staff he can join starting defensive ends John Abraham and Ray Edwards as top pass rushers.

The Falcons also have Kroy Biermann, Lawrence Sidbury and 2011 seventh-round pick Cliff Matthews as returning defensive ends.

Atlanta ranked 19th in the league with 33 sacks last season and is looking to put more pressure on quarterbacks. Abraham led the team with 9½ sacks; Edwards had only 3½.

Smith said he’s not concerned Massaquoi will be too light.

“The skill set that we liked about Jonathan when we went through this draft process was that he could rush the passer,” Smith said. “That was a trait that he had and very good speed around the corner. Weight is not as important when you start talking about a guy rushing the passer. There are a lot of guys who have gotten sacks in this league who are under 260 pounds.”



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