The defensive tackle position is loaded this year in free agency, which is fantastic news for the Falcons who won’t have to look very hard to find a player who can patch up their hole on the interior defensive line. Previously, I outlined some of the headline names at the position that are set to get paid this offseason. Here are the players that could be flying under the radar a bit.
Irving burst onto the scene in 2016 for the Cowboys, starting in only two games but recorded four sacks and four forced fumbles. He proved it was more than just a flash in the pan the next year by coming up with seven sacks in only eight games because of a suspension and a concussion. Unfortunately for him, injury limited Irving to two games last season, but that could be a good thing for a team looking to land him in free agency. His price tag won’t be nearly as high as it could have been. Still 26 years old, and a freak of nature physically (6’7″, 290 pounds), Irving could be an ideal fit on the defensive line next to Grady Jarrett.
Anderson showed something this season he has not been known for – a pass rush. The four-year veteran had seven sacks in a rotational role for the New York Jets. In the three years before that with the Colts, Anderson had just three sacks combined. But this past season was the first time he played all sixteen games. His previous career-high was eleven. Wherever he goes, he will provide quality defense against the run. Anything he adds as a pass-rusher is icing on the cake.
Urban is another physical freak, standing at 6’7″, 300 pounds. He doesn’t bring much as a pass rusher like Irving does but is extremely stout against the run. He started in all sixteen games for the Ravens last year but has had significant injury issues over his five-year career.
Hunt didn’t play in the NFL until he was 26. He didn’t start a game until two seasons ago as a thirty-year-old. Finally, he became a full-time starter last year as a member of the Colts, showcasing his elite run-stopping skills along with an unexpected pass rush at times, leading to five sacks. His age will probably prevent teams from investing much in him, which makes him an intriguing option for the Falcons.
At 6’1″, 311 pounds, Mebane has been elite against the run and started in 163 games over his twelve-year career. He’s going to be 34 this year, so he’s not a long-term option, and there will be regression in the near future, but he hasn’t shown much of that yet. His experience with Dan Quinn in Seattle is also a plus, making him a legit option to come to Atlanta on a short-term deal.
Bailey is an eight-year veteran for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s a versatile player that can play on the inside or outside, a pretty good plugger against the run, and sprinkles in a pass rush here and there. He had six sacks and ten QB hits last year, but those were both career-highs for him and shouldn’t be what teams expect during his next contract.
Logan has been an excellent run-stuffer and full-time starter his entire career. That is, until last year with the Tennessee Titans where he had trouble seeing the field. Logan didn’t start a single game and only recorded fourteen combined tackles. It’s not known why things didn’t work out in Tennesee, but perhaps he could have a bounce-back season elsewhere in 2019.