Falcons linebacking unit ranked unbelievably low by PFF

The trio of Kaden Elliss, Nate Landman, and Troy Andersen figures to be one of the best in the league.
Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Expectations going into last year were that the Atlanta Falcons linebacking position would be headed by the talented Troy Andersen and the newcomer Kaden Elliss.

Early on, Andersen went down with an injury, putting undrafted free agent Nate Landman in the spotlight. He took that opportunity and ran with it as he became one of the best in the league for a resurgent Falcons defense.

The team will now go into the 2024 season with a trio of linebackers who are fully capable of becoming one of the best groups in the league—at least, in our minds...

Pro Football Focus put together their linebacker rankings and were very bearish on the Dirty Birds' unit.

Falcons land near the bottom in PFF's linebacker unit rankings

If the Atlanta Falcons defense cracks in 2024, it won't be because of their linebackers. They have three good options who are perfectly capable of being starters and a rookie in JD Bertrand who has the potential to develop into a good player.

Nevertheless, Pro Football Focus sees them as a bottom-ten unit, ranking them 24th out of the 32 teams.

In their reasoning, they mention Kaden Elliss being limited in coverage and the importance of Troy Andersen taking a step forward, but they fail to even mention Nate Landman—a player who earned a solid 72 overall grade last year.

"Kaden Elliss is somewhat limited in coverage, but he has proven himself to be a solid run defender and a useful blitzer. A positive step forward from third-year linebacker Troy Andersen would be significant for this unit, with the 2022 second-round draft pick out of Montana State earning just a 40.2 PFF overall grade as a rookie before missing all but two games in 2023."

PFF does a lot of great work and they have the most comprehensive accessible assessment system but it is hard to agree with their rankings here.

Kaden Elliss and Nate Landman earned good grades from them, while Troy Andersen is one of the most talented players in the league. The upside of this unit is high because of Andersen and their floor is high because of the other two.

It is hard to believe that half of the teams in the league have a better unit, let alone, 23 teams.

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