How does Grady Jarrett fit into the Atlanta Falcons’ defense?

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Nov 15, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (50)in action against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons, fresh off a phenomenal draft, still have a long way to go this offseason. The staff will spend the next few months teaching the veterans the new schemes and preparing the rookies for the NFL season. When Dan Quinn became head coach, he said that one of his primary objectives was to put his players in a position to succeed.

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Quinn will have the opportunity to do that with a draft class that features five potential day one contributors. Atlanta certainly has big plans for Vic Beasley, Jalen Collins and Tevin Coleman. Justin Hardy is the favorite to become the starting slot receiver. But what about the Falcons’ fifth-round pick, the player that many analysts considered the steal of the draft, Grady Jarrett?

Jarrett is an intriguing pickup for the Falcons, who also took a defensive lineman in the second round last year (Ra’Shede Hageman). Defensive line was not one of the Falcons’ top needs, so why would the team pass up on a left guard or free safety prospect to take Jarrett?

For one, the Falcons defensive line rotation took a big hit with the loss of Corey Peters in free agency. Peters was a versatile interior lineman that provided both solid run support and pass rushing abilities. Also, Jarrett was unbelievable value at his draft position, and was simply too good to pass up.

Grady Jarrett could become even better than Corey Peters. He’s significantly cheaper and younger, too.

Jarrett is actually similar to Peters in several ways. Both are penetrating interior linemen that can play both the 3-technique and the 1-technique shade-nose tackle. Both have good skill sets against the run and pass. Jarrett (6’1, 290) is a bit smaller than Peters (6’3, 305), but both use superior leverage and solid technique to disrupt the play.

Peters was an excellent pickup for Atlanta, and will surely be missed in the Falcons’ rotation. But I’m here to tell you that Jarrett could become even better than Peters. It also helps that he’s significantly cheaper and younger, too.

Next: Jarrett's Game