Grady Jarrett is finally starting to earn a little bit of respect.
Like every other Atlanta Falcons player in the league, Grady Jarrett is finding it hard to get the respect that he has earned over his first five seasons in the league outside of Atlanta.
Entering 2019, Jarrett was not on the radar outside anyone in Atlanta. Sure, the franchise had just given him a boatload of money and made him one of the higher paid defensive tackles, but he barely blipped on anyone’s radar.
In 2019, Grady finished the season with 69 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, and a selection to his first-ever Pro-Bowl.
As NFL.com does this time every year, they are releasing their top 100 players in the league, allegedly voted on by the players themselves. They release 10 players every night leading up to training camp. We say “allegedly” because plenty of players have admitted to never voting on this list during their careers and instead of every player, it is whoever was in the locker room at the time the ballot came out.
After not appearing on the list at all in 2019, Grady Jarrett was among the first to hear his name called in 2020. The sixth-year Falcons defensive tackle came in at number 91 for 2020.
While many are happy that he actually made the list, the first question that should come to mind is “how many defensive tackles are ahead of him on the list?”
Yes, make no mistake in a league with more than 1,500 active players, to be mentioned among the top 100 is great and makes you among the elites in the game – which Grady undoubtedly is. But is he going to get the respect that he has earned over the last five complete seasons?
Grady Jarrett is among the best in the game.
The initial guess is no. Players 71-100 have all been revealed and both Fletcher Cox and Cameron Heyward are listed ahead of Grady Jarrett from a defensive tackle position. Sure, both are great players but at this point in their careers are not better than Grady Jarrett.
There is a legitimate argument to be made that Grady is the fifth or sixth best defensive tackle in the game today. Aaron Donald, Kenny Clark, DeForest Buckner, and Chris Jones are all better (slightly) than Grady but after that, the rankings become very muddy.
Cameron Heyward, Fletcher Cox, and Geno Atkins have all been around longer and have had borderline Hall of Fame careers but in 2020, they are not better than Grady Jarrett and to say otherwise is nonsensical.
Yes, it is great that Grady is considered among the top 10 at his position but when you have played and showed you are among the top five, you should be given that respect, and it’s okay to unhappy with the recognition.