The Atlanta Falcons announced the signing of former Seattle Seahawks defensive end O’Brien Schofield today, after already adding another pass-rusher in Adrian Clayborn. The Falcons may opt to move Schofield to linebacker, listing him as such in their official press release. Schofield’s experience working with new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn in Seattle should help him earn a roster spot.
Schofield, 27, adds depth and versatility to the Falcons defense with the potential to play both outside linebacker and defensive end. The Falcons have already made additions this offseason at both positions, signing linebacker Brooks Reed and Clayborn in the first two days of free agency. Schofield also adds potential value on special teams, having performed well there over his five-year NFL career. He led the Arizona Cardinals with 12 special-teams tackles in 2012. He also had five last year with the Seahawks.
Schofield was originally drafted out of Wisconsin by the Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He may have been drafted higher, but tore his ACL during the week of Senior Bowl practices the preceding January. He started his rookie season on the Non-Football Injury List, but still managed to play in 10 games and tally a pair of sacks. He played in every game in 2011, finishing the year with 25 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He assumed the starting position the following summer at left outside linebacker for the Cardinals. He started the first nine games, totaling 34 tackles and four sacks before going down for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his ankle. He was cut by the Cardinals the following summer and picked up by the Seahawks at the start of 2013, and again played outside linebacker. He played in six games for the Seahawks, totaling seven tackles and a sack. He was signed by the New York Giants to a two-year contract as a free agent in 2014, but the deal was nixed after he failed to a physical due to a problem with his knee. He would later pass a physical with the Tennessee Titans, but would eventually re-sign with the Seahawks. This past season, he managed 15 tackles and two sacks playing defensive end for the Seahawks.