NFL’s Kirwan says three Falcons poised for breakout season

Linebacker Curtis Lofton is one of three Falcons destined for breakout seasons, according to the NFL's Pat Kirwan.

Linebacker Curtis Lofton is one of three Falcons destined for a breakout season, according to former scout and's Pat Kirwan.

Getting ready to head out to Turner Field for the second game of the Braves-Phillies series. But first, a little something on the Falcons: They’re poised to break out.

Well, that’s sort of the sense you get after reading this story by’s Pat Kirwan. He lists his t0p 20 players primed to have breakout seasons in 2010. So what’s so noteworthy about that? Just that three of the 20 players are on the Falcons’ roster.

Here are the three, followed by Kirwan’s analysis:

Kroy Biermann, defensive end: “The 2008 fifth-round pick from Montana had five sacks a year ago and is capable of a 10-sack campaign with his nonstop motor. Is he headed for a career path like Kyle Vanden Bosch? Oh by the way, he can kickoff when need be.

Thomas DeCoud, safety: “Had a conversation with DeCoud this week and this cool, calm athlete is ready for the big time. In 2009, his first season as a starter, he had 68 tackles, seven passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Still, he feels he has plenty of work to do.”

Curtis Lofton, linebacker: “Curtis has probably been overlooked a bit. He had 94 tackles as a rookie and came back last season with 133. Ask anyone who follows the Falcons and they will tell you he’s already a star.”

All three players were in general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s first draft class in 2008: Lofton in the second round, DeCoud in the third and Biermann in the fifth.

Now, none of this guarantees anything. But I think it’s significant that 17 teams didn’t have even one player on the list — including the Falcons’ three NFC South Division brothers, New Orleans, Carolina and Tampa Bay — and only three other teams had as many as two (Arizona, Miami and Indianapolis). No other team had three.

Kirwan also has some credentials. He coached high school and college football. He was an NFL scout. So he’s not just some hack writing a blog like me. (Beat you to the punch, didn’t I?)

I agree with the three players Kirwan selected. Biermann especially doesn’t get talked about enough. He’s a guy who can really impact the pass rush. One other player that deserved consideration is wide receiver and punt returned Harry Douglas, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. Douglas was singled out by ESPN’s NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas as a potential key to the 2010 season, which was referenced here last week. For more on that, here’s the link.

So, does that make you feel a little better about the 2010 season?

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35 comments Add your comment


June 1st, 2010
3:00 pm


June 1st, 2010
3:04 pm

That bodes well for the defense…but telling that the offense didn’t have one thrown their way. Harry Douglas is a wait and see thing, in my opinion. Who is the kicker this season?


June 1st, 2010
3:14 pm

All that really doesn’t matter because the refs will steal it away again this year just like they stole it from us last year


June 1st, 2010
3:17 pm

I am hoping for a Super Bowl from this bunch within the next 2 years.

Falcons finally have a real coach.


June 1st, 2010
3:31 pm

I agree with all 4 players, I think they could all be in for breakout seasons. If Jerry stays healthy and Corey Peters can contribute while Babs is (most likely) out on suspension, that’ll help all three defensive guys. As for Douglas, I think he was poised for a breakout year last season before the injury.

One person I might add to the list is Lawerence Sidbury. I think he might just be poised for a breakout year as well.

Former starter most poised to be cut by the end of training camp: Jamaal Anderson

The Grinch

June 1st, 2010
3:37 pm

Barring injuries, I’d be genuinely shocked if the Falcons didn’t win at least 10-11 games this year. The inordinate amount of bad luck last year can’t continue, Elam’s gone, the sked is much easier and the team has much more depth. Even 12 wins is not out of the question.


June 1st, 2010
3:47 pm

if you see avery johnson at the ballpark tonight tell him not to get too comfortable in Atlanta .
Biermann i agree should have a breakout year but i have to check my sources first .
Off to the waffle house this time get me out of here Percy


June 1st, 2010
4:37 pm

I want Matt Ryan to have a breakout season. If he has at least a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio and 2,750+ passing, then this team has a real shot to make the NFC title game (barring major injuries). Others are important, but he is THE key to the season in my mind.


June 1st, 2010
4:50 pm

If the defense is there this year, watch out when the offense gets the ball. GO FALCONS-GO SOUTHERN RUSH.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


June 1st, 2010
4:59 pm

All three need to have a big year…..along with Abraham, Roddy, Gonzo, Spoon, Jerry, Turner, and the offensive line.

Ryan can do his part; we others around him to step it up.


June 1st, 2010
5:00 pm

….we need others around him to step it up.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NFL News Updates, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: NFL’s Kirwan says three Falcons poised for breakout season [...]


June 1st, 2010
5:16 pm

Loaded. Just watch this unfold…

Ted Striker

June 1st, 2010
5:35 pm

Jeff, you are a terrible writer. Horrible. I don’t read anything you write. Ever. You are the worst. I only come here because my computer is broken and the AJC sports site is the only working bookmark.

p.s. I’ll give you 30 pesos if you’ll introduce me to your daughter when she’s 21


June 1st, 2010
5:37 pm

falcon4ever said at 3:14 pm: “All that really doesn’t matter because the refs will steal it away again this year just like they stole it from us last year”

I’m guessing all the lack of successes in your life are blamed on others, too, right?


June 1st, 2010
5:38 pm

Jeff – Did you get the email I sent you over the weekend?

alfred jackson

June 1st, 2010
5:41 pm

falcons jets in the super bowl


June 1st, 2010
5:56 pm

Thats all well and good but I sure hope Turner’s legs arn’t going away. You saw what happened last year when he was out.


June 1st, 2010
6:02 pm

I’m sorry to inform you , Rich, that I’m very successful and have been since the age of 21 when i realized my own potential. Perhaps you are projecting your own misery onto me because you are tired of dealing with your own useless existance. An example would be your post after the one directed to me. Any person with any self worth would not ask that question ,especially on a blog. Surely if you sent it, he recieved it but chose not to respond, for obvious reasons.Maybe you are also trying to inflate your own sense of self worth, to no avail, by letting everyone know that you,RICH,have a close and personal relationship with Jeff. I merely stated that we were that we recieved the raw end of the deal a majority of the time last year.Hope you seek professional help for all is not yet lost


June 1st, 2010
7:42 pm

falcon4ever owned rich lmao!!!! but this defense is looking pretty good we have stars on all three levels 2 really good dbs 1 sure star 1 potential one at the linebackers and the same with the line

[...] ♦ NFL’s Kirwan says three Falcons poised for breakout season [...]

[...] ♦ NFL’s Kirwan says three Falcons poised for breakout season [...]


June 2nd, 2010
8:47 am

Ted Striker that is out of bounds! Please go away and never come back.

We will have a very good season. Haters be gone! Poof!

Matt "Choke" Ryan

June 2nd, 2010
2:56 pm

So when can we expect CHOKE to have his breakout season?

Next year?

2, 3 more years?

Matt "Choke" Ryan

June 2nd, 2010
3:02 pm


June 1st, 2010
4:37 pm
I want Matt Ryan to have a breakout season. If he has at least a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio and 2,750+ passing, then this team has a real shot to make the NFC title game (barring major injuries). Others are important, but he is THE key to the season in my mind.


Those are not “Peyton Like” numbers. I thought the Falcons had a hall of famer quarterback. If 2,700 yards is the best he can do with a pro bowl receiving and hall of famer tight end, he is no better than a Kyle Orton and he passed for nearly 4,000 yards.

Should have drafted Flacco, as I have been saying since draft day when he signed that huge 72 million dollar contract and Flacco signed for less than half of that.

Now, Flacco out performed him last season and I know a lot of you still think good defenses helps a quarterback play better………ha ha ha.

Now, Flacco did that without any pro bowl receivers or hall of famer tight ends. He now has that franchise receiver. Watch out Falcons!


June 2nd, 2010
4:53 pm

I’ll have to agree with CHOKE for I’ve not seen any progression in Ryan. Drew Brees said last year that the Saints were gunning for the Superbowl and look what happened. Ryan said this year we’re close to 11-13 wins. Thats not very inspiring to me when the goal is the big dance. I wonder how the rest of the team feels about his insecureties, not that they would ever say!


June 3rd, 2010
8:58 am

Well jeff you tell kirwan everybody wish upon a star sometimes.


June 3rd, 2010
3:52 pm

Don’t know what qualifies as a breakout but add to the list:

Chauncey Davis – Chops is just a hard nosed versatile lineman that shows up every week. Not necessarily a DE or DT, he just makes plays. Doesn’t get alot of sacks but certainly plugs holes and makes life miserable for the offensive line and running backs.

Chris Owens/Brent Grimes – both played well down the stretch, good ball skills – either could be #2 corner. Grimes had 5 interceptions – comparable to Pro Bowlers.

nunna yo biznezz

June 5th, 2010
11:35 pm

Heck Naw!!
T.D. does not know how to draft!!
Lofton,bierman and decoud will all be busts this year
and the world has caught up to matty ice!!

I don’t see how we can celebrate a 8-8 season and say,”wow we finally had back to back winning seasons”!!
And then its spun to say we didn’t have back to back losing seasons..

Well,they suck..And we’re going backwards not forwards..

If T.D.was such a great evaluator of talent,then the pats woulda kept him in they’re front office,right???

They let him go faster than a hooker running out of a church!!

Oregon Falcon

June 6th, 2010
8:47 am

Kroy Biermann, Thomas DeCoud, Curtis Lofton, Matt Ryan, Peria Jerry, William Moore, Lawrence Sidbury, Harry Douglas all up and comers with star potential.

Then we have, John Abraham, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez.

Add in rookies like Witherspoon, and a free agent such as Robinson and look at this short list of Falcons. Falcons!

I’m sorry but I still cannot get used to such competence, potential and excitement, not that I am complaining.

I have been a Falcons fan since 1969 and I watch the team now, read the evaluations and am fully 100% convinced………the Atlanta Falcons are a top organization in the NFL and our team of Dimitroff, Coach Smith, and the rest are building a team that will win Super Bowls and soon.

This season’s schedule is easier, odds are we won’t have as many injuries, and even if Ryan is mediocre, with our defense and Turner, White and Gonzalez we are going to win some games.

This team, this season this staff are terrific and I have never been more excited about our Atlanta Falcons. The only time that comes close is the Leemen Bennett teams of the 1980’s with Bartkowski and William Andrews.

This is going to be fun 4-6 years. I love our offensive scheme, and I would not be surprised at all, if suddenly our defense is in the top five. Speed and hunger for respect, we have it now. Watch out Saints the Falcons are coming.

Thank goodness for football.


June 6th, 2010
10:51 am

Oregon Falcon, I share your optimism. My biggest concern, and I am sure they will address it appropriately, is the place kicker. With all due respect to the career Elam had, he did cost us a couple of games last year. Considering the key injuries we had and the 4th toughest schedule in the NFL that makes the coaching and the players all the more impressive last year than they get credit for. When they get the right place kicker they will be solid.


June 7th, 2010
8:00 am

Are you sure he said breakout and not BRE4AKDOWN?


June 9th, 2010
11:33 pm

contrary to what you guys hear, the super bowl goes through new orleans again. Remember the third game of the season is in the super dome, it will be business as usual, when the super bowl champs put the beat down on your team. What they don’t tell you guys how much improved the saints defense will be this year. We don’t have to say much about the number one offense the last 3 out of 4 years. See you guys in september.


June 11th, 2010
10:34 am

Time will tell,i think the falcons have a good set of LB’S.

Matt "Choke" Ryan

June 12th, 2010
11:53 am

So the Ravens are picked to win the Superbowl – What a shocker :)