Look, the 2018 Falcons defense was a disaster. However, a plethora of injuries and the unfortunate regression of a few players ultimately set this unit back to being one of the worst in the league.
Yet, there’s still some optimism that with Dan Quinn calling the defense and several young guys coming back, this is a unit that can be far better in 2019. With that, here are some players who could be making the Pro Bowl in 2019 if that comes to fruition.
Deion Jones - the fourth-year linebacker is one of the best up and coming middle linebackers in the league. He’s easily one of the best coverage LBs and he’s already made the Pro Bowl once before in 2017. If he stays healthy this year, he could easily make his second visit.
Keanu Neal - All signs indicate that Neal’s ACL recovery is going well. If he can come back in 2019 at 100%, there’s no reason to think he can’t be recognized as one of the best strong safeties in the league. His visit in 2017 showed he has the ability to do it again.
Grady Jarrett - He may not be Aaron Donald, but Jarrett has become one of the best interior pass rushers in the league. While he hasn’t made the Pro Bowl yet, his continued improvement year over year and his recognition at the national level gives him a good shot of making it in 2019, so long as he continues to dominate like he has been.
Takk McKinley - I want this more than anyone and I still think Takk has the ability to do it. This is the third year for this young player, which is generally the year when pass rushers begin to put it together in the NFL. I’m not going to count on it, but McKinley is definitely someone I think has the potential to make it happen.
Damontae Kazee - One of the few bright spots on the defense in 2018 was the ball hawk that replaced Ricardo Allen when he was lost for the season. His league-leading seven interceptions put this second-year player on the map. If he can continue that level of improvement, he’s going to get recognition on the national level too.
Desmond Trufant - Don’t write off Tru just yet. He’s still under 30, has the elite measurables you want in a corner and he’s one of the best in the league when he’s playing to his potential. If he can bounce back to form and play at his best level all year, he could make his first Pro Bowl since 2015.
Well, basically everyone else. I’ve all but given up on Vic Beasley turning the corner, though I hope he proves us all wrong. De’Vondre Campbell is great, but there are so many other linebackers in the league who will overshadow him. Ricardo Allen’s health remains a mystery while Isaiah Oliver has long-term potential, but I’m not sure his second year is going to be Pro Bowl worthy either.
What are your thoughts on which Falcons defensive players could make the Pro Bowl this season?