Falcons’ Monster DT Cracks Top 10 in Latest Ranking

Grady Jarrett

Getty Grady Jarrett #97 of the Atlanta Falcons.

Oftentimes, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett has been overlooked, but not in Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar’s top 11 interior defensive linemen rankings.

Of course, coming in at No. 1 is Los Angeles Rams’ beast Aaron Donald, but Farrar showed Jarrett some respect by putting him at No. 6 on the list.

Jarrett lasted until the 137th pick in the fifth round of the 2015 draft because he was allegedly too small to make an impact at the NFL level, and he’s been making people pay for it ever since. Nobody remembers the three-sack performance in Super Bowl LI due to Jarrett’s Falcons blowing a certain 28-3 lead, but Jarrett had a legit shot at MVP in that game had Atlanta held on, and Jarrett has been an absolute force throughout his NFL career. 2020 showed more of the same, as Jarrett totaled four sacks, 17 quarterback hits, 35 quarterback hurries, and 26 stops with very little help alongside him. Jarrett is able to win consistently inside the guards because he’s freakishly strong for his 6-foot-0, 305-pound frame, but he also brings a formidable quickness to his pass rush. 

For the second straight year, Jarrett was named to the Pro Bowl in 2020, finishing with 52 combined tackles, four sacks and 30 QB pressures.

Farrar added some footage of Jarretts’ speed for the full effect.

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Falcons DC Compared Jarrett to Five-Time Pro Bowler

Once the Falcons hired Arthur Smith as their new head coach, Smith went on a search for his new defensive coordinator. He ended up convincing Dean Pees to come out of retirement and join him on his new coaching journey.

Smith and Pees coach at Tennessee together from 2018-2019.

Pees, who won two Super Bowls with two separate teams (2005 Patriots and 2013 Ravens), has his hands full in Atlanta with a defense that has struggled over the past four seasons. While he will have a lot of work to do on that side of the ball, one player he will be able to count on is Jarrett.

Jarrett, 28, has plenty of juice in the tank and Pees plans to unleash him at his full potential.

“I’ll tell you what, if you watched Tennessee and watched Jurrell Casey, watch Grady Jarrett. He doesn’t need to be a 3-technique getting double-teamed all the time,” Pees said during an appearance on 92.9 The Game. “Grady is a great player and it’s my job to put him in situations where he can win. We can’t be so stubborn as a staff, our job is to find what you do best and put you in situations where you can do those things.”

Casey, a former Titans defensive tackle, earned himself five straight Pro Bowls with his two most recent invites happening under Pees.


Farrar’s Top 11 Defensive Lineman

Below is Farrar’s full list of top 11 interior (and outside) d-lineman:

1. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
2. Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Chris Jones, Kansas City Chief
4. DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts
5. Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers
6. Grady Jarrett, Atlanta Falcons
7. Vita Vea, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Stephon Tuitt, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Jonathan Allen, Washington Football Team
10. Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles
11. Akiem Hicks, Chicago Bears

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