Atlanta’s got a proud history of quality defensive tackles, but not necessarily huge pass rushing seasons for those defensive tackles. The best single season in terms of sacks for DTs in the last decade came in 2009, when Jonathan Babineaux had six. Interior pressure is a killer, however, so I’m hopeful this year will prove to be a productive one for Atlanta’s defensive tackle rotation.
The Falcons got 7.5 sacks out of their defensive tackles in 2017, with Grady Jarrett (4), Dontari Poe (2.5), and Courtney Upshaw (1) accounting for all of those. In 2018, the Falcons don’t have Poe or Upshaw, meaning that Jarrett is the only pure interior lineman left who had a sack a year ago. What can we expect this year?
The good news is that the team’s current personnel can exceed that total. Jarrett is capable of getting more than four sacks, Jack Crawford had at least two sacks in each of his last three full NFL seasons, and Deadrin Senat and Terrell McClain should be capable of getting one or two each, with Senat having a bit more upside than that. Sacks don’t tell the whole story, and nobody next to Jarrett is going to be as good as Poe this year, but I think this group will be capable of some solid pass rushing production.
So I’ll put Jarrett down for five, Crawford down for three, and Senat and McClain down for one apiece. How about you?