Falcons’ Star LB Top-Rated in NFL Three Years Straight

Deion Jones

Getty Deion Jones #45 of the Atlanta Falcons.

Pro Football Focus has rated Atlanta Falcons‘ elite linebacker, Deion Jones, in the top five since 2017.

The 25-year old is coming off of an unbelievable 2019 season after playing a big role in the Falcons 6–2 finish last season.

Jones stands strong at No. 4 with a grade of 88.3.

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Jones’ Contribution

The Falcons selected Jones in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft. He was the eighth linebacker selected in the 2016 class. The 24-year-old became a starter as a rookie.

A playmaking linebacker, Jones helped the Falcons win the NFC title as a rookie before they fell to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Yes, they blew a 28-3 lead.

Jones followed that up with a breakout season in 2017. He was a Pro Bowl selection and recorded 138 tackles, 10 for loss, and three interceptions. That year, Jones ranked fourth in the NFL with his 138 tackles.

Jones’ 2018 was shortened to only six games due to a foot injury suffered in the Falcons’ season-opener against Philadelphia. He was placed on the injured reserve and didn’t return to the field until Week 13 against the Ravens.

In those six games that Jones appeared in, he racked up 53 tackles (34 solo) and two interceptions and one pick-six.

In just three seasons as a Falcons, Jones has recorded a total of 299 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and eight interceptions, three of which returned for touchdowns.  

A Long-Term Linebacker

The Falcons signed linebacker Jones to a four-year, $57 million extension with $34 million guaranteed back in July of 2019. Clearly, the Falcons were thinking about the future on the defensive side of the ball and locking in Jones.

Jones’ new contract has the second-highest annual value among all NFL inside linebackers. Over the next four seasons, he’s set to earn $57 million, with an $18.8 million signing bonus and a total of $34 million guaranteed.

ESPN stated Jones’ contract extension was important for the Falcons in the long haul.

“Deion Jones is tough, smart, fast, instinctive, a sure-tackler, a leader, team captain and arguably the best coverage linebacker in the NFL,” ESPN’s Field Yates added after Adam Schefter broke the news of Jones’ contract extension. “He’s the ideal fit for what the Falcons want to do defensively. Hard to overstate how important this extension is to this franchise.”

Falcons 2020 Defense Outlook

The Falcons 2020 defense should look a lot different than last year. Atlanta made it a point to stack up the defense early in free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. They added promising players such as Dante Fowler, A.J. Terrell, Marlon Davidson, and Mykal Walker.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn made it clear to ESPN that he is thrilled to see all the pieces coming together on defense.

“It’s the whole package,” coach Quinn told ESPN’s, Vaughn McClure. “Starting all the way back into the winter and adding a guy like Fowler on the first piece of it. And then you take the next step and you go through the draft, so adding a guy like A.J. who has outside stuff, and Marlon who has inside stuff.

Jones’ role at middle linebacker will be crucial when it comes to the sideline-to-sideline plays and the rest will fall into place.

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