Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett is the football equivalent of a brick wall. He was almost named Super Bowl MVP in 2017; then Kyle Shanahan happened. In 2017 he earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 87.1, 14th among interior defensive linemen. (That makes him “high quality,” according to their metrics, one step down from “elite” and one step up from “above-average.”) He also racked up 39 QB pressure, 15th best in the league. PFF named him the NFL’s 84th best player. In short, he’s a beast.
And yet three years ago Jarrett was just an “undersized” NFL prospect. He had to hear 136 names called before his in the 2015 NFL Draft. Now, as he heads into his fourth offseason as a professional, Jarrett has earned his keep. As I perused Twitter this week, I came across this interesting nugget:
Jadeveon Clowney led the NFL in run tackles for no gain or a loss! pic.twitter.com/3Caf386Ai5— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 15, 2018
Jarrett could be a free agent around this time next year if the Falcons don’t extend him. I’d imagine that’s on the front office’s to do list. How much will it take to keep Jarrett in Atlanta? That’s a little unclear. Given that his role has only increased since his rookie year (he played 25 percent of the defensive snaps in 2015, 57 percent in 2016, and 76 percent in 2017), he won’t come cheap. It’s one of many difficult decisions the front office will need to make in the next 2-3 years.