Atlanta Falcons true all-time sack leaders revealed

If there is one position in the Atlanta Falcons history that they have routinely suffered with, it is pass rushers.

When you think about the best pass rushers in Atlanta Falcons history, you usually think of guys like Claude Humphrey, Patrick Kerney, John Abraham, and Chuck Smith. Past that, there has not been much worth noting.

One issue that the NFL has, is that prior to 1982, sacks were not an official stat. They counted the quarterback getting sacked but never kept track of by whom.

That means that a guy like Claude Humphrey did not get his deserved recognition in the Atlanta Falcons history books. Instead, you see Vic Beasley’s name but not Humphrey’s.

Pro Football Reference has now updated their NFL record books by adding in sack numbers before 1982.

Atlanta Falcons all-time sack leaders would look a lot different

Again, the Atlanta Falcons have seemingly always struggled to find a consistently dominant rusher off the edge. Thus the record books looked very dim. Because Pro Football Reference added 99 percent of sacks before 1982, the history looks a bit better for the Falcons.

No longer is Vic Beasley top five on the list, instead he has moved down two spots to the seventh spot on the list.

Still even looking at the lists you have major drop-offs between players in the top five.

Here is a before and after look with the Atlanta Falcons franchise sack leaders.

Before:

  1. John Abraham (68.5)
  2. Chuck Smith (58.5)
  3. Patrick Kerney (58)
  4. Travis Hall (41.5)
  5. Vic Beasley (37.5)
  6. Brady Smith (32)
  7. Lester Archambeau (31)
  8. Roderick Coleman (30)
  9. Rick Bryan (29)
  10. Jonathan Babineaux (25.5)

Now:

  1. Claude Humphrey (99.5)
  2. John Abraham (68.5)
  3. John Zook (61)
  4. Chuck Smith (58.5)
  5. Patrick Kerney (58)
  6. Travis Hall (41.5)
  7. Vic Beasley (37.5)
  8. Jeff Merrow (37.5)
  9. Don Smith (37.5)
  10. Brady Smith (32)

Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey has the number one spot by a landslide, while John Zook, Jeff Merrow, and Dong Smith were able to get into the top ten. This at the cost of Lester Archambeau, Roderick Coleman, Rick Bryan, and Jonathan Babineaux no longer holding a top ten spot.

Current Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett can move into this top ten list this upcoming year. He currently sits at 16th on the list, with 25.5 sacks in his career. With seven sacks in 2021, he will join the top ten.

When looking at this from a more broad-spectrum, the update to the record books has also changed many records around the entire NFL. Most notably is that Michael Strahan no longer holds the single-season sack record. It is now held by former Detroit Lion, Al Baker with 23 sacks in 1978.