The Atlanta Falcons announced on Friday they hired Ryan Nielsen to be their new defensive coordinator. Nielsen joins the Falcons from the New Orleans Saints after having served as co-defensive coordinator under Dennis Allen last year.
Allen was also the defensive line coach for the Saints and got a good parting recommendation from long-time Falcons tormentor Cam Jordan.
“Ryan to Dc job was inevitable,” wrote Jordon on Twitter. “Top tier DL coach in terms of developing pass rush and emphasizing technique on run and gap integrity. 😔 wish him the semi-best as he willingly went to the Failcons… happy-ish for him”
Jordan plays his role as Falcons villain well, but it’s a teammate of his that should be more interesting to the Falcons.
Saints’ defensive end Marcus Davenport played opposite Jordan and is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season. The former first-round pick struggled last season, but he had 9.5 sacks in 2021.
At 6’6 and 265 pounds, Davenport has more size and length than any of the current Falcons edge rushers including Lorenzo Carter who is listed at 6’5 and 255 pounds.
Davenport was graded 76.8 by Pro Football Focus last season, which put him 26th among edge rushers in the NFL. For comparison the highest rated Falcons edge rusher was rookie Arnold Ebiketie at 64.5.
Davenport wore 92 for the Saints last year. Ade Ogundeji wears No. 92 for the Falcons, and he graded 43.8, 117th out of 120 edge rushers 120 in the NFL.
Ogundeji has worked hard, but the 2021 fifth-round pick was a liability last season, and Davenport could be the ideal upgrade at the position.
Davenport made just over $10 million last season, and the Falcons should be able to entice him to Atlanta with a pay raise without breaking the bank.
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