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What does the Terrell McClain signing mean for the Falcons?

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How will the newly acquired defensive tackle benefit Atlanta’s defense?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Terrell McClain is officially reunited with the 4-3 defensive scheme he’s most comfortable in here in Atlanta, we can expect some solid production and some nice, relatively low-pressure development time for Deadrin Senat.

After McClain flourished under Rod Marinelli’s base 4-3 scheme in Dallas, he was signed to the Washington Redskins 3-4 defense in 2017, where he struggled. Although many may make judgements based off of his last season, the odds are that McClain will be a crucial run stopping asset for this defense.

According to PFF, under Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 philosophy from 2014-2016, Terrell McClain’s run stop percentage was 9.2%, whereas in a less McClain-efficient Redskin defense, his run stop percentage was sub 5% at 4.3%. McClain needs to be able to play in a role where he can showcase his athleticism a bit, and I do not doubt he will here.

Additional Benefits of McClain’s Signing

The Falcons are hopefully getting a quality player, but is that the only reason the Falcons signed him?

No. One potential beneficiary is Deadrin Senat. Under a 29 year old veteran in Terrell McClain and a 25 year old young elite presence in Grady Jarrett, Senat should be able to play a reduced number of snaps, learn from quality players, and only play in situations where he’s likely to be productive.

Unlike Quinn’s previous veteran mentor signings, like Dwight Freeney for example, not only can we take McClain’s veteran mentorship as a potential benefit, but there is a serious chance of production. Although his salary is nearly $4 million, there’s a good chance the combination of athleticism between Grady Jarrett and Terrell McClain, plus Jack Crawford and Senat settling into their best roles, will be worth it.

How Does This Affect Our Front-7?

I think fans under estimate how elite our front seven is with McClain at defensive tackle, primarily on the left side, along with Grady at right defensive tackle, Takk McKinley at LDE and Vic at RDE, to say nothing of the rest of the rotation.

I mean, for crying out loud, Takk and Vic combined can put up 20 plus sacks on a season, assuming both are healthy all season. Not only that, but Deion Jones, De’Vondre Campbell and Duke Riley as the three linebackers behind the seven are all very young, which is good, meaning they have lots of potential. However, Campbell may be hard to afford in the future and Riley is not a guaranteed success.

I think McClain will not be a massive downgrade from Dontari Poe, being that Ahtyba Rubin and Courtney Upshaw took some of the run-stopping snaps in relief of Poe, and McClain has a little pass rushing talent.

This may seem like quite an ordinary signing, however, I think $4 million could be a steal, considering how Dontari Poe signed with Carolina for roughly $9 million. With Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey, Ronald Jones, and C.J. Anderson in the division, that run-stopping ability should not be taken lightly. As the year progresses, you will appreciate great run stoppers in the NFL. Trust me.

So, Falcons fans, what do you think about the signing of Terrell McClain and his potential 2018 production? Leave your thoughts below!