Though Falcons fans aren’t feeling too great about the team, there have been a lot of things to be excited about.
Defensively is where most of the bright spots lie. Nearly every offseason acquisition has worked out in a different capacity. David Onyemata, Jessie Bates III, and Jeff Okudah have come as advertised, and maybe even more. Calais Campbell, Bud Dupree, and Kaden Elliss have also delivered.
The Falcons offense hasn’t had many inspiring moments, but there have been stellar individual performances like Chris Lindstrom, Drew Dalman, Jonnu Smith, Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts.
As I said, there have been some encouraging moments, and PFF recognized three of them in the site’s midseason All-Pro Team — Jessie Bates was a first-team candidate while Bradley Pinion and Chris Lindstrom earned second-team honors.
Bates is proving to be a fantastic free-agent addition. He has the fourth-best PFF coverage grade and the fifth-best PFF run-defense grade among safeties. A complete player and playmaker, he has forced a pair of fumbles and recorded a combined five interceptions and pass breakups through nine games.
Bates could be the best free agent signing of the offseason and has been an absolute home run of an acquisition for Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith. He’s been the exact kind of player the team needed. Bates’ production is obvious, but the impact off the field has been maybe even more valuable, setting the tone and ethos for the rest of the club.
Lindstrom has struggled at times, especially with penalties, which is uncharacteristic, but he’s still playing like one of the best guards in all of football. Some Falcons fans had unrealistic expectations of who he was as a player when he was handed the most lucrative contract for his position in NFL history. He’s not close to a Zack Martin-type player, but he’s still a hell of a player for the Falcons and deserves recognition.
I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these guys wind up on the AP All-Pro teams at the end of the year.
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