Welcome to Forgotten Falcons, a 2019 offseason series where we remember some quality players who have been largely forgotten by the fanbase over the years. Today, we’ll continue our series with another defensive lineman who isn’t discussed much today, former defensive end Brady Smith.
Time in Atlanta: 2000-2005
Stats: 262 tackles, 32 sacks, 10 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, 1 defensive touchdown
Why you should remember him
John Abraham overshadowed a lot of defensive ends in Atlanta, and he, Chuck Smith, Patrick Kerney, and then the busts tend to stand out in the memory of fans over time. That means that some quietly good players were overshadowed by guys either much better or much worse than them, and the first name that comes to mind on any list you assemble is one Brady Smith.
By dint of playing for the Atlanta Falcons, a team with an embarrassing history of pass rushers in the modern era where they actually tracked sacks, is actually fifth all-time for the franchise with 32. He’s also in the neighborhood of fifth all-time for pass deflections by a defensive lineman, which is exactly the kind of random statistic these profiles were made for.
Like the last man on this list, Jumpy Geathers, Smith was a Saint before he was a Falcon. He signed as a free agent in the 2000 offseason after four solid but unspectacular years in New Orleans, including a promising 1999 where he put up six sacks and played all 16 games. As it turns out, solid but unspectacular would be his calling card in Atlanta, too, but I don’t mean that to be disparaging.
Smith put up at least six sacks in three of his six seasons in Atlanta, grabbing eight in a very productive 2001 for a lousy Falcons team. He bridged the gap between the Dan Reeves era and the Jim Mora era, to say nothing of the Chris Chandler/grab bag and Michael Vick era, and was a full-time starter at defensive end for five of those seasons. He was a also a solid run defender back when that was something that genuinely mattered a lot, and he and Kerney were one of the better tandems the Falcons have managed to put on the field over the last two decades.
Perhaps Smith’s best play ever was his brutal soul snatch against Marc Bulger, when he took down the former Rams quarterback in his own end zone, forced a fumble, and recovered it for a touchdown. That’s fun and efficient, and Smith was a key cog in an underrated line filled with players who probably come more readily to mind for Falcons fans.
It’s a particularly good time to remember the stability and quality play Smith gave the Falcons for six seasons, given that they face an extremely unsettled offseason at the position in the months ahead. If you have a favorite Smith memory, share it here!