A.J Schulte of Pro Football Network recently broke down the top 20 interior defensive linemen in the NFL, and it should come as no surprise that the Falcons own Grady Jarrett made the list. In fact, he made it into the top 10, landing at #7 — in front of studs like Geno Atkins of the Bengals and Jurrell Casey of the Broncos and behind Cameron Heyward, Akiem Hicks, DeForest Buckner, Chris Jones, Fletcher Cox, and Aaron Donald, putting him in some elite company.
Here’s what Schulte specifically had to say about Atlanta’s star defensive tackle:
The 2015 NFL Draft was only my second year scouting formally, and I thought I was going crazy when I saw Jarrett drop all the way to the fifth round. I learned later that it was because the NFL didn’t like his size, despite it helping him dominate on tape. Jarrett’s six-foot frame helps give him natural leverage working against offensive linemen, and Jarrett uses that to his complete advantage.
His elite quickness and hand usage make him one of the game’s best pass-rushers on the interior, as Jarrett won 22% of his pass-rushes last season. He’s produced 13.5 sacks and 54 pressures the last two seasons alone. Jarrett looks like one of the biggest steals of the decade.
Although it was long overdue, Jarrett was finally selected to his first Pro-Bowl last season and named a Second Team All-Pro after recording 69 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and 16 QB hits. He’s progressed enormously as a pass rusher in the past two seasons, and he’ll tell you the best is yet to come. The Falcons should be praying to the heavens, giving their thanks that they were able to lock him up to a reasonable four-year deal last offseason just before the deadline, or he would have been in line for a payday worth around $100 million this offseason.
Now, Atlanta has Jarrett under contract for three more seasons, and he’s only just beginning to hit his prime. He turned 27 in late April, and I expect him to climb up this list as he continues his career. Schulte nails it perfectly when he says, “Jarrett looks like one of the biggest steals of the decade.” He will probably go down as Thomas Dimitroff’s best draft selection as the Falcons GM.
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