The Falcons boast an impressive crop of young talent. Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and AJ Terrell were just recognized on PFF’s 25 under 25 list, which Chris Lindstrom appeared on last year and Bijan Robinson will be featured next year. However, there is also a steady diet of reliable veterans.
Grady Jarrett and Jake Matthews are Falcons stalwarts, but it’s Calais Campbell who appeared on PFF’s list of top 30 players over the age of 30.
25. DI CALAIS CAMPBELL, ATLANTA FALCONS
An ageless wonder, Campbell will be 37 years old by Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season, and he’s not graded below 71.4 since 2010. With incredible consistency and a high level of play for over a decade, Campbell has provided value to three different teams and is about to join his fourth. With another strong season, Campbell could crack 100 career sacks in 2023.
It’s pretty unusual for a 37-year-old headed for the Hall of Fame to sign with a franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs in five years, let alone actually competing for a Super Bowl. Most assumed Campbell’s decision would revolve around his chances at a ring. Joining the Falcons at this stage in his career was shocking.
The 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year chose Atlanta over a bevy of other Super Bowl contenders, but several things sold him. Most importantly, the Falcons’ ethos vibes with Campbell’s.
Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot did an excellent job conveying that, as well as elaborating on his exact role, which will be a true defensive end, something he’s only done once in his career. With the Jaguars, he put up 31.5 sacks in three seasons in that role, including 14.5 sacks in one campaign.
Moreover, Arthur Blank’s role in recruiting Campbell was the off-the-field persuasion, giving the veteran a chance to impact the community. Another facet of the pitch involved the coaches sitting down and watching film of Desmond Ridder with Campbell.
It’s still shocking in the present that he chose the Falcons over the Jets, Jaguars, Ravens, etc., but it’s becoming clear Atlanta is a serious free agent destination.
Despite his age, Calais Campbell is going to be a significant addition to the defense and team.
Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire
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