The Atlanta Falcons Silent, Soild Signing of Tyler Davison

Atlanta Falcons, Tyeler Davison (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Tyeler Davison (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Just prior to the 2019 Draft, the Atlanta Falcons signed defensive tackle Tyler Davison to a one year deal. The signing did not gather many headlines, but he should prove to be a valuable addition to the Falcons defense.

The Atlanta Falcons surprised many experts and fans by not selecting a tackle, from the deep defensive tackle class of the 2019 Draft. Instead the Falcons elected to fix the offensive line once and for all. The team selected the number one pure guard in the draft, Chris Lindstrom with the number 14 pick in round one. Read all about Lindstrom by clicking here. Atlanta then made a move to trade back into the first round, where they selected offensive tackle Kaleb Mcgary. The scoop on Mcgary can be found in this article.

Instead of looking for a running mate for Grady Jarrett in the draft, the Atlanta Falcons chose to rely on internal options. Deadrin Senat was a third round pick last season and played well in a limited capacity. He will be counted on to take the next step in his development. Ra’Shede Hageman a former second round pick of the Falcons, has resigned with the team after being out of football for two years. He is hungry to prove he still belongs in the NFL. Jack Crawford provides a good interior pass rushing option, after collecting a career best six sacks last season.

A signing that went unnoticed to most, could be the key to the Atlanta Falcons once again boasting a top ten run defense. That is the signing of defensive tackle Tyler Davison. Davison comes over to the Atlanta Falcons from the hated, division rival New Orleans Saints. The run stuffing specialist is built like a tank. He is listed at 6’3, with a weight of 309 pounds. Davison was originally a fifth round pick out of Fresno State University. He signed a one year deal with Atlanta worth $895,000. Will McFadden has the story of the signing in this article.

When first glancing at the stat sheet, the signing of Tyler Davison seems like nothing worth noticing. He had a career high of 31 tackles in 2017, sandwiched between two 23 tackle seasons in 2016 and 2018. Davison has only 3.5 sacks and nine tackles for a loss in the stat books for his four-year career. He has also forced two fumbles and batted down four passes in four years.

What is noticeable is the playing time that Tyler Davison received and his durability. Tyler started only five of the 16 games he played in as a rookie. He became a full-time starter by year two, starting all 15 games he suited up for. In year three, Davison started all 16 regular season games and both playoff games for New Orleans. Last season Tyler started 12 of the 14 regular season games he appeared in, as well as two more playoff games. He anchored the NFL’s number two run defense, from the one-technique defensive tackle position.

A closer look at Tyler Davison, shows that he is more valuable than the standard stats show. Pro Football Focus keeps a stat called stops. A stop is when you stop an opponent for a gain of three yards or less, that does not result in a first down. Davison had 13 such stops last season and an impressive 25 stops the season before. This means that even though he may not make a lot of tackles behind the line of scrimmage, Tyler is using his strength to stop ball carriers in their tracks for a minimal gain. Davison is also a disciplined player, having been flagged for only seven penalties in four seasons.

Tyler Davison had a modest Pro Football Focus overall grade of 64.8 last season. However his 75.7 run defense grade, would have ranked second among the Atlanta Falcons interior defensive linemen, trailing only star defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Davison had a career high overall PFF grade of 75.3 and a personal best run defense grade of 81.5 in 2017. Both grades would have placed him second among Atlanta interior defensive linemen. He graded a full 10.4 points better at defending the run, than Dontari Poe who started along side Jarrett that season.

All Pro defensive end Cam Jordan started next to Tyler Davison for three seasons. He lamented the loss of Davison to the Atlanta Falcons in the following tweet:

Herbie Teope of received a text from Tyler Davison, after he decided to sign with the Atlanta Falcons. Teope shared Davison’s thoughts via Twitter:

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It’s a bit surprising that New Orleans did not make an effort to keep Tyler Davison, but the Saints loss is the Atlanta Falcons gain. Should Davison play up to his 2017 level, he will be the best run stopper that Grady Jarrett has played with here in Atlanta. He will certainly be motived to show his former team that they took him for granted, particularly during the two meetings between the teams. He’ll also be determined to show his new team, that he deserves to he a part of the brotherhood long-term. That motivation could be exactly what the Atlanta Falcons need, for their run defense to return to top ten status.

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