In the offensive-driven NFL, teams often try to maximize their quarterback’s talent, surrounding him with as many skilled players as possible. But this offseason, the Atlanta Falcons seem to have installed the same philosophy on defense with Grady Jarrett.
In Jarrett, the Falcons have one of the most underrated defensive talents in the entire league. He remains underrated, though, because he’s been tasked with doing too much on a defense without any other star power.
That, though, could begin to change in 2023. While talking to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jarrett shared he’s excited about that possibility.
“It’s been a heck of a transformation,” Grady Jarrett said about the team’s defensive signings in free agency. “It’s been something that I’ve been super excited about having veterans come in, guys who are ready to roll.”
The Falcons signed defensive end Calais Campbell and edge rusher Bud Dupree to put more pressure on the quarterback.
General manager Terry Fontenot also signed linebacker Kaden Elliss and defensive tackle David Onyemata from the New Orleans Saints. All four players should take blockers away from Jarrett, who could be due for his best NFL season yet in 2023.
During 2022, Jarrett had 6 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hits. That was his most in each category since at least 2020.
But the arrival of Campbell, Dupree, Elliss and Onyemata won’t just have an impact on the field.
“It does take a load off my plate from a leadership standpoint and productivity standpoint,” Jarrett told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s going to make everybody better.”
Campbell and Dupree aren’t long-term solutions. But hopefully, what the Falcons will establish in 2023 is a defensive unit that is more than just Jarrett.