Highest graded Falcons thus far in 2022 season, per PFF

jarrett grady

The Falcons sit at 3-3 and in first place in the NFC South after every other team in the division lost in Week 6. Atlanta will travel to Cincinnati this Sunday to take on the Bengals as nearly touchdown underdogs. But that has been the story of the season for the Dirty Birds. The team has come into every matchup as an underdog, regardless of who they’ve played and where. Yet, they continue to remain competitive in every game, which is a testament to Arthur Smith’s coaching and the cultural shift.

The Falcons have won games in some unorthodox ways this year. Instead of throwing the ball all over the yard like the Chiefs and Bills, Atlanta methodically drives the ball down the field by running the ball with well-time play action passes supplemented off the run. The roster comprises mostly of first-, second- or third-year players, with inexpensive veterans filling out the rest of the team. It’s honestly an island of misfit toys, but there are still some elite players.

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PFF’s three highest-graded Falcons through the 2022 season are (in order) Chris Lindstrom (85.3), Drake London (82.5), and Grady Jarrett (77.0). Lindstrom and Jarrett shouldn’t surprise anyone. The latter has been one of the most disruptive interior defenders in football, leading the team in sacks, quarterback hits, and tackles for loss. Jarrett is maybe having the best season of his career thus far, which couldn’t have come at a better time after signing a lucrative extension this offseason.

Lindstrom, on the other hand, might be playing even better than Jarrett at his respective position. After having his fifth-year option picked up this past offseason, Lindstrom has taken his play to another level, grading out as the third-best offensive lineman in all of football. Arthur Smith loves running the ball to the right side of the line because Lindstrom (and Kaleb McGary) dominate in that area. The Boston College product will likely be a contract extension candidate this offseason because he’s set to hit free agency following the 2023 season, and you don’t let someone like him leave.

Drake London being one of the highest-graded Falcons might surprise some people. Despite leading the team in receptions (25) and yards (306), the numbers don’t exactly pop off the page. However, he’s doing all of the little things right, which is probably why the Falcons went with the USC product instead of Garrett Wilson or any other prospect.

London is willing to do the dirty work, including blocking. He’s been incredibly reliable for the Falcons and Marcus Mariota. He’s the highest-graded offensive rookie, has the most catches of 15+ yards, and the most first-down catches. Moreover, London is the fourth-highest-graded receiver in all of football, behind Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, and Cooper Kupp.

The Falcons are getting contributions from up and down the roster. And these three players are big reasons why the team currently sits at .500 with the playoffs in sight.

Photographer: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire

 

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