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How did the Falcons get Grady Jarrett in the fifth round?

The stud third-year defensive tackle is having his best campaign yet.

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

There are many mysteries in this universe, but one looms large in my mind today: How the hell did the Falcons get Grady Jarrett in the fifth round?

Jarrett, as you’ll recall, was popularly thought to be a draft steal if he made it to the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the class where Atlanta landed two Clemson studs in Jarrett and Vic Beasley. He was a little short, sure, but many of the most dominant defensive tackles who have come along in the last decade or so have been, and Jarrett had the pedigree (he’s Jessie Tuggle’s son), production (he killed it at Clemson), and physicality necessary to make an impact in the NFL.

Somehow, the Falcons nabbed him in the fifth round, trading up a bit to ensure they got him. It’s still not clear to me why so many teams passed on him, but this post is really intended to marvel at the team’s insane fortune.

Just look at the chart below.

Jarrett is second in the NFL for tackles for loss that are not sacks, and his combined 13 sacks/TFLs puts him eighth overall on this list. That’s a dominant level of performance for Jarrett, one of the only Falcons defenders who has been consistently great against the run in 2017. He intercepted a spiked ball on Sunday against the Jets, and somehow sacked Tom Brady three times in the Super Bowl back in February. I opined at the time that we might have seen him break out in that game, and months later, we’re certainly seeing him produce at a borderline elite level. It’s only a matter of time (and probably a handful of sacks) until we see him land his first Pro Bowl berth, whatever that may be worth.

The Falcons have shown a knack for unearthing some later round gems under Dan Quinn and company, with 2016 fourth rounder De’Vondre Campbell also emerging as a stud here in 2017. If Jarrett can continue to build on his start to the 2017 season, teams are going to be talking about what a mistake they made in passing him up for many years to come.