Former Falcons executive comments on drafting Grady Jarrett

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 04 North Carolina State at Clemson

A lot of the time, it’s the intangibles that separate NFL careers. Sure, there are those examples where players are the 1% of the 1% physically and are going to dominate no matter what, but that’s rarely the case. Tom Brady was picked 199th in his draft but turned into arguably the best player of all time.

Brady’s desire to be great enabled him to squeeze every bit out of his ability, while others with more potential never realized it all because of mental shortcomings. Though he’s not in the same conversation as Brady, Grady Jarrett is cut from a similar cloth.

During an appearance on Good Morning Football, Scott Pioli, a former Falcons executive, reflected on the 2015 NFL Draft. He highlighted the strategic moves made by himself and Thomas Dimitroff’s front office that led to securing the Clemson product in the fifth round. Pioli credited Jarrett’s psychological profile as a key factor in Atlanta’s decision to trade up for him.

“Grady Jarrett will set the example for the team for hard work, commitment, and excellence. He will not be satisfied with relying on natural ability. Jarrett’s warrior attitude and mental and physical toughness consistently stands out. His ability to focus is a part of his good mental quickness, which will provide a significant edge for him in terms of making reads quickly and execute.”

When Jarrett was coming out of the draft, pundits and scouts slammed Jarrett for his physical shortcomings, but the Falcons saw what nobody else saw — a desire to be great. Sometimes, it’s not always the biggest, fastest, strongest guys that turn into franchise greats. Just look at Vic Beasley.

Pioli, funny enough, mentions how he got a chance to see Jarrett in person at Clemson while scouting Beasley. Obviously, the club drafted the freak of nature with the 8th overall pick, who was confirmed to have significant concerns about his love for football. It’s the perfect example of what I referred to at the beginning of this piece.

Grady Jarrett has never played with a defensive front as talented and deep as he will in 2023. It shouldn’t surprise anyone when he puts up career numbers, and he deserves another shot at a Super Bowl because nobody works harder.

Photographer: Doug Buffington/Icon Sportswire
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