Pair of Falcons rookie pass rushers impressing Arthur Smith

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There hasn’t been a more disappointing area of the Falcons than their pass rushers, which have long been a non-factor. Honestly, disappointing is probably the wrong word because they’ve performed exactly to their skill level. The team just hasn’t had a consistently impactful pass rusher since John Abraham. But that could change with a pair of rookies who are impressing Arthur Smith.

“Very pleased with the effort of a lot of those young outside linebackers, our rush players,” Smith said. “I thought Jalen Dalton did a nice job, (Ebiketie), DeAngelo, Quinton (Bell). We’ll just continue to try to improve these guys and continue to work, but I’m pleased with what AK did.”

Atlanta went out and at least tried to bolster the position, signing Norcross native Lorenzo Carter while plucking Ebiketie and Malone from the 2022 NFL Draft. Carter ended last season’s campaign hot, notching five sacks in the final four contests for the Giants. He’ll surely look to prove that wasn’t a fluke, but he isn’t the future at the position.

Ebiketie and Malone are two exciting edge defenders and the future of the Falcons pass rushers. The former is probably one of the most promising prospects the Falcons have acquired in years. The Penn State product will have no shortage of opportunities to pressure opposing quarterbacks because of how few options the Falcons have at their disposal.

During their first live action game in the NFL, Ebiketie and Malone flashed their potential but also had rookie moments. The former struggled against the run on the opening drive as the Lions marched right down the field, but he did total a few QB pressures on three series, while the latter tallied three stops. However, those rookie moments are to be expected; their play was encouraging nonetheless.

“Some of the jobs we’re asking him to do, they’re foreign to him; that’s why I don’t make snap judgments,” Smith said. “I’ve got a lot of faith in DeAngelo.”

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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