Stansly Maponga to Falcons: How Does DE Fit with Atlanta?
Stansly Maponga was the Atlanta Falcons' fifth-round pick and was definitely worth the pick. While Malliciah Goodman is the answer to who can play the left defensive end, Maponga is a better fit for the right defensive end role. Maponga and Goodman will team up together long term and should be able to provide some talented pass-rushing on a line that needs it.
Maponga provides some 3-4 scheme versatility as well. He can line up as a linebacker in a two-point stance and is a smart player that can learn the "amoeba" style looks. He may not be active for many games in the 2013 season and could essentially redshirt for the 2013 season unless Nolan is ready to rotate him in as a pass-rusher.
On the Field
Maponga can help the Falcons on the field in a multitude of ways. He can be used as either a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end. He understands how to set the edge at either position in the run game. He can read the blockers' setup and the way the play is flowing effectively. He also has good hand usage when trying to take on a blocker.
Atlanta will love Maponga's ability to come in as a rotational player and contribute to the pass rush. While he doesn't have the quickest first step off the line, he's a high-motor player who will keep going as long as the play is happening. He isn't afraid to have to try a second or even a third move on a single pass rush to try and slip by a blocker.
On special teams, the Falcons have gotten someone who can contribute right away. Maponga is intelligent and loves to run down field and hit people. He can help out as a kickoff team and punt team guy early on. He isn't afraid to block on a kickoff or punt return team either and will help the Falcons with a goal to be more explosive on special teams while he develops as a defensive end.
Off the Field
Maponga isn't a team leader or a team captain, but he's not someone who will get himself into trouble off the field either. He's one of the hardest working players from the Texas Christian roster and should be a guy that will easily fit into the Falcons locker room. He hasn't shown to be a diva or the kind of guy who doesn't want to fight for a starting spot.
The Falcons have brought in the right kind of guy here with Maponga and should easily be able to work him into the rotation at defensive end. It's the right pick for a team that has needed better pass rush and edge setting against the zone-read, and Maponga has seen a ton of it in the Big XII.
There were some options out there that could have been considered better, but the Falcons decided to go with the pass-rusher and Maponga should make an impact early.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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