What Jackson and Soliai Signings Mean For The Falcons Defense


Dec. 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai (96) during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is far from over, but the Atlanta Falcons added some key players today that will be involved a revamped defensive line.  Despite the base 4-3 look that we saw in 2013, it appears as though the Falcons will be featuring more of a 3-4 this next season.

Corey Peters was resigned last week, and Babineaux was signed literally minutes before free agency began.  This gave off the vibe that Dimitroff and Nolan would keep running the defense in a 4-3, but that wasn’t the case, as Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai were signed shortly after 4:00 pm EST.

Dec 22, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Tyson Jackson (94) celebrates after a tackle in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium. The Colts won 23-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson ($25 million, 5 years) is a phenomenal run defender, but his 7 career sacks leaves much to be desired in terms of rushing the passer.  As a 3-4 DE, however, he isn’t exactly asked to put a whole lot of pressure on the quarterback.

Soliali ($33 million, 5 years) is a behemoth 3-4 NT that has anchored a Dolphin’s line for quite some time, and has seen the franchise tag and a pro bowl appearance.  This signing just shows that the Falcons plan to seriously show multiple fronts next year, and now they have the personnel to do so.

If Atlanta signs someone like Demarcus Ware, or drafts someone like Khalil Mack, the majority of the pass rush would then be generated from our outside linebackers.  This is quite a different look for the Falcons defense, but it could prove to be beneficial for us to stay at No.6, and take Mack instead of trading up for Jadeveon Clowney.  That’s not to say that Clowney wouldn’t excel in Atlanta’s defense (because we will still see many 4-3 looks), but Mack fits better on the Falcons defense considering the players that would now be around him.