How does Grady Jarrett fit into the Atlanta Falcons’ defense?
Nov 6, 2014; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (50) sacks Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback John Wolford (10) during the second quarter at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Grady Jarrett was primarily used as a 1-tech shade-nose tackle for Clemson. He also spent some time lined up at the 3-tech and looked good in both spots on the defensive line. Jarrett showed explosiveness, excellent hand usage, and a great understanding of how to win with leverage.
Watch Jarrett (#50, purple square) in the clip below. This is a perfect illustration of his game: he is a penetrator that wins with technique and leverage. On the first snap of the game, Jarrett is playing NT lined up directly across from the center. He explodes off the snap, beats a double team by the guard and tackle, gets into the backfield and makes the tackle on the RB for a loss.
If the GIFs don’t display properly (zoomed in weird, not playing), try double-clicking on them.
For reference, the tackle Jarrett absolutely embarrassed on that play was Daryl Williams, who the Carolina Panthers traded up to take in the fourth round to be their RT of the future. I like that matchup going forward.
Here is another example of Jarrett’s explosion off the snap. On the following play, he is lined up at the 1-tech across from the right guard. The play call is an outside zone run and Jarrett decides to cut inside, blowing past the left guard. He’s so quick that he is able to hit the RB before he can finish securing the ball, causing a fumble that is subsequently recovered by Clemson.
There is one more clip that I found particularly impressive. Below, you’ll see Jarrett against Georgia. He’s once again lined up at the 1-tech on the inside shoulder of the right guard. The play is a short pass to RB Todd Gurley that essentially functions like an outside zone run.
At first Jarrett is doubled on the play and blocked successfully by the right guard. The right guard then disengages to move on to his next assignment, which is to block on the outside. However, Jarrett displays his quickness by maintaining his balance and running step-for-step with Gurley. Jarrett slows down Gurley just enough for his teammate to finish the tackle for a loss.
How many DTs do you know who can run step-for-step with Gurley in the backfield? Not many, I’d wager.
Next: How does Garrett stack up with top draft prospects?