The Falcons are a much-improved team from last year, but it still lacks the top 1% talent that some rosters have. Outside of Chris Lindstrom, who plays a traditionally valueless position, there aren’t any players in Atlanta that rival for the best player at their position. However, with all the talent now on the roster, the elite players have a real chance to establish themselves among the best in football.
Some of those names include Kyle Pitts, A.J. Terrell, and Grady Jarrett, who was mentioned in ESPN’s’ execs, coaches, and scouts’ rankings of the NFL’s top 10 defensive tackles for 2023 (subscription required). Below is the full list, including those who received votes and honorable mentions.
- Aaron Donald
- Chris Jones
- Jeffery Simmons
- Quinnen Williams
- Javon Hargrave
- Dexter Lawrence
- DeForest Buckner
- Daron Payne
- Cam Heyward
- Jonathan Allen
That’s some great company, but Jarrett can elevate himself into the top 10 interior defenders this season because I believe he’s in for a career year. After primarily being a one-man wrecking crew since coming to Atlanta, he has by far the best supporting cast of his career.
Jarrett’s best statistical campaign came in 2019 when he totaled 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss en route to second-team All-Pro honors. That defensive front featured Vic Beasley, Takkarist McKinley, Tyeler Davison, Adrian Clayborn, John Cominsky, and Jack Crawford — not exactly menacing.
Now, Jarrett will be surrounded on either side by David Onyemata and Calais Campbell while Ta’Quon Graham and Eddie Goldman provide depth. Lorenzo Carter, Bud Dupree, Arnold Ebiketie, and DeAngelo Malone will assume edge duties.
Grady Jarrett logged 6.0 sacks and 12 tackles for loss last year with a fraction of the talent he’ll be surrounded by in 2023; some of his success can be attributed to Graham, who broke out in his second season out of Texas.
In 11 weeks, Graham only logged six quarterback pressures, but Jarrett notched 5.5 of his 6.0 sacks and 10 of his 12 tackles for loss in that period, recording only 0.5 sacks and two tackles for loss over the final six games after Graham went down with a season-ending injury.
Grady Jarrett shouldn’t have been included in the top 10 ranking this year, but I am willing to bet he will next year.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire