The Atlanta Falcons have been known for their failure at drafting and developing good defensive linemen. We have seen plenty of attempts at finding that big-time pass rusher and it has largely been underwhelming, minus Grady Jarrett.
Everyone has been hoping to see fortunes change under a new regime but it has largely been the same. However, things appear to be changing as their rookie third-round pick Zach Harrison is coming into his own as he caps his rookie season.
Zach Harrison is developing into a star for the Atlanta Falcons
Whenever a player registers three sacks in two weeks, you should write their name down, especially when they are the first three sacks of his career. The Atlanta Falcons drafted Harrison out of Ohio State hoping they could develop his talent that was never fully realized in college.
The former five-star prospect was a great run defender but struggled to put up stats as a pass rusher. For much of his rookie season, the same was true, but that has changed these past couple of games.
His impact early in the dominant win over the Colts was evident. He had a tackle for loss, pressure, and nearly blocked a punt in the first quarter. He was then able to take down Gardner Minshew twice.
This is huge for the future of the Atlanta Falcons because they may have to replace Calais Campbell next year. While we shouldn't expect Harrison to be Campbell, he can potentially help limit to loss of the veteran.
Harrison is finally learning how to channel his strength and length. His first pressure in week 16 was a lot of fun to watch. He was able to leverage and rip the left tackle with such ease. It gets you excited for what is to come.
The other fun thing to watch with him is his ability to tackle from a distance. His size allows him to grab running backs trying to find a hole and shut a play down. He makes plays that are impossible for someone who isn't his size
The future is bright for Zach Harrison. Hopefully, he will get to learn under Ryan Nielsen and Calais Campbell for another year, at least. He is well on his way to dominating the NFL.