In a division that could end up being the most wide-open across the league, the Atlanta Falcons have an opportunity ahead of them. The opportunity is fairly simple: shock and surprise.
The NFC South is anything but locked down. There is not one single team that should run away with the division this year, and plenty of question marks across the board for all four teams.
For the Falcons, they'll depend on some key additions as well as some players who return after a strong performance in 2022. These three players are some sneaky, underrated names who had much better years, last season, than you might have originally thought.
Kaden Ellis, OLB
How is this for a mind-blowing, under-the-radar type of fact? Had Kaden Ellis played for the Falcons last year, he would have been the highest-graded Atlanta defender by Pro Football Focus. Ellis ended last year with a strong grade of 81.5.
Some Falcons fans probably hadn't even heard of him prior to the team signing him away from the New Orleans Saints this offseason. But, the fact is, Ellis is a phenomenal outside linebacker with a pass rush specialty.
The former seventh-round pick out of Idaho has carved out quite the career over his first four years in the league, and finally broke out in Year 4 last year. Ellis ended last season with 7.0 sacks in 17 games, starting 11 of them.
Ellis is excellent against the run and a stout pass rusher when called upon in that realm, too. He'll provide the Falcons with a severely-underrated presence at the position, and might be a reason why Atlanta's defense could surprise this year.