Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina: Five Defensive Players That Flew High and Three Low Flyers

Atlanta Falcons defense (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons defense (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Deion Jones (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Deion Jones – Middle Linebacker

Deion Jones returned from the injured reserve list four weeks ago and is quickly rounding back into form. That was certainly evident against the Panthers. Jones had a plethora of tackles, racking up 14 in week 16. Five of those tackles counted as stops for Deion.

Deion Jones did miss one tackle, but it’s hard to complain about that when he made 14. He also forced a fumble in the game. As a pass rusher, he got a hit on quarterback Tyler Heinicke while blitzing.

On the coverage side of things, Jones was thrown at seven times, allowing six catches for 48 yards. Three of those catches and 32 yards were made by Christian McCaffrey, one of the best receiving running backs in the NFL.

The other three catches allowed were when Jones was matched up with wide receivers, something few linebackers are even capable of. Deion Jones is an impact player in every sense of the word. Look for him to return to his pro bowl form next season.

Pro Football Focus Grade: 78.2

ATL All Day Grade: B+

Foyesade Oluokun – Linebacker

Foyesade Oluokun also known as Foye, played the role of third linebacker on the Atlanta Falcons defense against Carolina. He did a good job against the run and amassed five tackles, one for loss against Carolina. Three of the tackles were stops.

In coverage Foye was even better. He was targeted just twice. He allowed catches on both targets, but stopped the pass catchers to the tune of negative one net yards. If Oluokun continues to cover this well, he could steal snaps at nickel linebacker.

Pro Football Focus Grade: 82.0

ATL All Day Grade: B+

Takk McKinley – Defensive End

Second year defensive end Takkarist McKinley was extremely disruptive against Carolina. Takk incredibly had a Falcons’ season high nine quarterback pressures in Carolina. Even though only one of those pressures resulted in a sack, McKinley affected the Panthers’ passing game in a major way.

Takk McKinley hurried Carolina quarterbacks Tyler Heinicke and Kyle Allen four times and hit the quarterback on all four hurries. Overall he had three tackles in the victory. Takk has shown flashes of greatness and has had solid production for the season. However the next step in Takk’s development is becoming more consistently disruptive.

Pro Football Focus Grade: 78.1

ATL All Day Grade: B+