A lot of fans were expecting the Falcons to spend the majority of their money in the offseason on the defensive side of the ball. They opted not to overpay for the premium pass rushers and added one of the best centers in the league in Alex Mack. But in a lesser, but equally important move, Atlanta inked Derrick Shelby to a four-year deal.
Shelby is a 6 foot 2, 270 pound pass rusher out of Utah. He was undrafted out of college but eventually worked his way onto the Miami Dolphins in 2012. While with the Dolphins, Shelby spent most of his time as a reserve. He was a rotational lineman playing in the shadows of guys like Cameron Wake. However, Shelby has improved every season and got an opportunity to start in 2015.
Shelby is a proven force against the run and will immediately be an upgrade to the Falcons defensive line. His pass rushing is not spectacular, but he is much improved in that area of his game. While Vic Beasley showed promise in his rookie campaign, the Falcons are still desperate needs of guys who can get after the passer. Shelby will play a much larger role for the Falcons than he did in Miami, and it will be interesting to see if he can become a serious pass rushing threat.
This is the first official move the Falcons have made addressing the defensive line that only totaled 19 sacks the entire 2015 season. Shelby is a great add at a good price and the Falcons will continue to add a number of players this offseason to help get after the quarterback.