The Falcons‘ formula for building the roster is pretty simple. A majority of first- and second-year players make up a bulk of the roster, and then it is supplemented with veterans on short-term, team-friendly deals. The Falcons are playing a ton of young players significant snaps, and they don’t really have a choice. The salary cap hasn’t been kind, and Atlanta is carrying more dead cap than any other team in the league.
However, those younger guys are up for the challenge. Richie Grant, Kyle Pitts, Drew Dalman, Ta’Quon Graham, Drake London, and others are playing instrumental roles for the Falcons. And Arnold Ebiketie is quickly joining the ranks of impressive rookies around the league.
Arnold Ebiketie is going to be stupid good. The box score stats will match the tape eventually.
He's third among all rookies in pressures (14) and closing fast despite having 30-50 fewer snaps than number one and number two on the list (Karlaftis with 17 and Hutchinson with 15). pic.twitter.com/t5RihTjOZf
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) October 17, 2022
As Kollman notes, among all rookies in pressure, Ebiketie ranks third behind the No. 2 overall pick and George Karlaftis, who are out-snapping the Falcons rookie by more than 30-50 reps.
The Falcons traded up in the second round to acquire the Penn State product, and it looks like it was a wise decision. On the team, Ebiketie ranks third in sacks and quarterback hits, with Grady Jarrett leading the Falcons in both categories.
Ebiketie was always the more refined pass rusher coming out of college, but his draft classmate DeAngelo Malone is flashing, too, just not as regularly as Ebiketie. The Falcons are quickly stacking successful draft classes on top of one another, and before long, Atlanta will have a regular flow of talented players.
He might not become Von Miller, but Ebiketie has flashed some next-level stuff as a pass rusher. Once he diversifies his arsenal and improves his consistency, the Falcons will have a reliable edge rusher.
Photographer: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire