Falcons landed “one of the best DT in NFL” in free agency, according to Chris Lindstrom

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The Falcons were busy this offseason, swinging trades to acquire Jonnu Smith and Jeff Okudah and spending a ton of money in free agency. Jessie Bates III was the prize of the class, but Calais Campbell and Kaden Elliss are notable additions as well. They also signed one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL in David Onyemata, according to Chris Lindstrom.

There might not be a single person in the NFL who knows David Onyemata better than Chris Lindstrom. The pair have battled for the past several seasons, which would be better described as wars.

Onyemata made a ton of sense, given his ties to Terry Fontenot and Ryan Nielsen from New Orleans. Since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Nigerian native has ascended to the upper echelon of the NFL.

The 6’4″ and 300-pound Onyemata was a monstrous presence up front. He recorded 14 sacks, 54 pressures, and 17 tackles for loss from 2018 to 2020. The Saints handed Onyemata a three-year contract extension after the 2020 campaign, electing to let former first-round pick Sheldon Rankins leave in free agency.

Onyemata was suspended six games by the NFL to start 2021 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He didn’t do as well in that campaign but returned in 2022 stronger.

Over the first seven games, Onyemata had just a half sack, only five QB pressures, and a mere ten tackles. However, the entire Saints defense struggled, allowing nearly 30 points per game in those seven contests. Onyemata and the New Orleans’ defense finished the year strong, though. He logged a sack in three straight games and added another 1.5 over the final three weeks, racking up 33 tackles over that span. Onyemata finished up his seventh season with five sacks and 43 total tackles, including a career-high 25 solo tackles.

It may not have been his best individual performance, but his skill set is highly desirable for a Falcons defense that has struggled to stop the run and pressure opposing quarterbacks. David Onyemata is a quality player in both facets of the game and will provide immense value for an ascending team in Atlanta.

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

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