Falcons 2020 Year End Review: Defensive Tackle

Sep 13, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is sacked by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

2020, from start to finish, wasn’t the year any of us wanted. In purely NFL terms, the Atlanta Falcons had as poor a year as they’ve had in recent history. The players fell flat on their face immediately after leaving the starting gate, the long time General Manager and Head Coach duo were unceremoniously moved on mid-season, and the team ended the season with their highest draft pick since 2008. It was a mess.

With the season over, it’s time to dissect that mess. As we face an uncertain new future, let’s take one last look back at the season, so see if there’s anything positive we can take into the new regime. So, join me as we sift through the awful to, hopefully, find little nuggets of good.

Grady Jarrett – A
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner – B-
Tyeler Davison – C
Marlon Davidson – N/A
Deadrin Senat – N/A

Unlike their colleagues off the edge, the defensive line’s interior was actually pretty good. The Falcons defense was a top ten unit against the run, and that is, in large part, thanks to the efforts of that defensive tackle group. Grady Jarrett, of course, led the way with another excellent campaign. Jarrett ended the season with 4 sacks, 20 QB hits, and 8 tackles for loss. He is one of only 2 Falcons voted into the Pro Bowl, and his continued success will be vital for the Falcons as they aspire to return to the top.

Alongside him, snaps were shared by Tuioti-Mariner and Tyeler Davison, both of whom fared reasonably well. I’m reluctant to peg either has the long term partner for Jarrett at defensive tackle, but both proved more than solid in rotation, with Tuioti-Mariner being named the NFC defensive player of the week in week 12. 

While hopes were high for Marlon Davidson heading into 2020, being the sides 2nd round draft pick. A number of injuries plagued his ability to get on the field and, when he made it, he was unable to really show what he was capable of. He remains an interesting prospect, nevertheless, and it’ll be interesting to see what he is capable of given a run of good health. Deadrin Senat was, again, completely underused in 2020. He looked good in the few snaps he took, but was never given the opportunity to make the role his. In the final year of his rookie contract, he’ll need to break out in a big way in 2021 in order to justify an extension.

Featured Image Credit: Dale Zanine – USA Today Sports

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