Atlanta Falcons Keepers Defense
Defensive Tackle: Grady Jarrett
Grady Jarrett is one of a few bright spots on a bad Atlanta Falcons defense. The former fifth-round pick has been one of the team’s best draft picks in recent years.
Grady Jarrett currently ranks as the number five defensive tackle in the NFL. That makes him one of only three Atlanta Falcons players to grade in the top ten at their position.
Jarrett currently is fourth on the team in tackles which is impressive for an interior lineman. Even more impressive when you consider how often he is double-teamed. His play makes the fact that edge rushers Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley have struggled so mightily, even more mind-boggling.
Grady Jarrett also has five tackles for a loss and two sacks on the 2019 campaign. His stellar play led to the team signing him to a four-year, 68 million dollar contract prior to the season. Jarrett is the man the Atlanta Falcons should build their defensive line around. He’s not going anywhere.
Inside Linebacker: Deion Jones
Deion Jones is the other Atlanta Falcons defender who ranks in the top ten of his position, grading number seven in the NFL among interior linebackers. Jones is second on the team in tackles and is outstanding in coverage. He continued to play well against the Rams, notching 11 tackles, with three of them being tackles for a loss.
The 24-year-old Deion Jones signed a four-year 57 million dollar deal just prior to the season. He is definitely a building block for this team and should be retained.
Free Safety: Damontae Kazee
Many fans will wonder why Damontae Kazee on this list, because he has not played well at all this season. Kazee ranks as the number 107 cornerback in the NFL this season.
The reason Damontae Kazee makes our list of keepers is he is currently playing out of position. Just last season he played free safety and tied for the NFL interception lead with 7 passes picked off.
Inexplicably the team moved Damontae Kazee to cornerback after Ricardo Allen returned from an Achilles injury. Allen has struggled this season, often being late as the last line of defense against explosive pass plays.
While Rico Allen is definitely a smart player, he is not nearly the ball hog Damontae Kazee is. In fact, Kazee had the same amount of interceptions (seven) last season, as Allen has in his entire NFL career.
Moving Kazee away from the middle of the field, was a clear mistake by Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons defensive staff. The sad thing is, the team doesn’t have the cornerback depth to correct the mishap this season.