Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot did a great job addressing many areas of need before, during, and after the draft. However, the defensive line still remains a huge issue.
Other than the Super Bowl debacle, one of the more disappointing areas of former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was his ability to address the depressing output of the defensive line – which was supposed to be his specialty.
However, other than 2016 when former Falcons first-round pick Vic Beasley led the NFL in sacks, the defensive line has been nothing short of abysmal as a group. Yes, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett has been amazing but he has gotten zero help.
The Atlanta Falcons defensive line has to improve in 2021
New Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees is known for creating pressure from every spot on the field and that is going to have to continue in Atlanta if this defensive unit is going to improve. Being able to generate pressure will also help Jarrett a ton as offenses won’t be able to key in on him as they will have to account for everyone.
When you look to compare the current roster of defensive linemen, it isn’t all that different from last year’s unit that horrid. Of course, there are a couple new names and faces that will replace Allen Bailey and Charles Harris but the majority of the line remains intact.
Adding Ta’Quon Graham and Adetokunbo Ogundeji in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft doesn’t exactly change the trajectory of the defensive line or their ability to get after the quarterback. Both will have a tough time making the roster and if they do, they will more than likely not be active on a weekly basis.
Currently, the remaining free agents that the Atlanta Falcons could sign include Geno Atkins, Kawann Short, Jurrell Casey, Sheldon Richardson, and Jack Crawford. At 33 Atkins may be worth kicking the tires on but the Falcons have to free up more cap space in order to do so.
Whatever the roster looks like as we head toward camp, one thing is for sure – the Atlanta Falcons aren’t going to be good on the defensive line and Dean Pees is going to have to work wonders to get production out someone not named Grady Jarrett.