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James Laurinaitis to visit Falcons

If James Laurinaitis is added to the Falcons' roster, he likely would step into a starting spot at middle linebacker. AP Photo/Billy Hurst

Veteran linebacker James Laurinaitis, recently released by the Los Angeles Rams, is scheduled to visit the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, according to ESPN Insider Adam Schefter.

The Falcons need help at linebacker, and Laurinaitis' resume includes seven straight seasons of 100-plus tackles. The former second-round draft pick out of Ohio State started 112 consecutive games and has 852 career tackles, 16.5 sacks and 10 interceptions.

Laurinaitis has other suitors, including a recent visit to the New Orleans Saints. His consecutive-game streak would speak to his durability, but he also has a lot of mileage on him after averaging 99 percent of the defensive snaps during his time with the Rams.

If Laurinaitis is added to the Falcons' roster, he likely would step into a starting spot at middle linebacker, a spot currently occupied by Paul Worrilow. Although the Falcons like Worrilow and are expected to extend a restricted free agent tender to him on Monday, even Worrilow figured the team would add competition at the position. He was the team's leading tackler the last three seasons.

The question is, how much of an upgrade would the 29-year-old Laurinaitis be? Falcons coach Dan Quinn has talked all offseason about adding speed at linebacker. Laurinaitis isn't exactly a speed guy, and getting beat in coverage is something the Falcons have to shore up with their linebackers get matched in such situations.

Of course, Laurinaitis' production speaks volumes about his ability to be a defensive leader from the middle linebacker spot. But we'll see if he views Atlanta as the perfect fit -- and the right money -- to continue his playing career.

The Falcons have a hole at weakside linebacker as well after releasing starter Justin Durant as a result of injury concerns.

Denver's Danny Trevathan and Indianapolis' Jerrell Freeman are other linebackers bound for free agency expected to be on the Falcons' radar.