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Who is the Falcons DPOY for the first half of the season?

Again, the candidates seem pretty obvious.

Atlanta Falcons v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Today, we turn our baleful eyes to Defensive Player of the Year, an award that would feature very limited options if we had to give it out at the midpoint of the season. That’s both a function of injuries to key players and a function of how bad this defense has been to this point, both in the first five games (chronically allowing bonkers point totals) and against Detroit (surrendering the easiest last second drive you’ll ever see).

For all that, there are still standouts. Who did our staff roundtable like for this honor at the midway point?

Foye Oluokun

Look, I know it’s Grady Jarrett. He’s clearly the best defender we have and it’s probably not even close. I’ll let the other guys rehash what he means to the team. For me, I need to highlight Foye for the incredible elevation to his game this year. I openly wondered if the Falcons may need to look for a linebacker early in 2021 under the guise that Oluokun would be a decent rotational player but nothing more. He has proved me wrong thus far. He’s been good in coverage, a beast against the run and has arguably been our second best defender all year. If this continues, the next GM and head coach will have one less position to worry about when they take over. I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong. - David Walker

Foye Olukun

If Grady Jarrett is the MVP, as he was for me, then Foye Oluokun is the easy choice for Defensive Player of the Year at the halfway mark. Deion Jones and Keanu Neal have more highlight reel plays, perhaps, but they also have more mishaps. Olukun has very simply been the team’s best, most consistent non-Jarrett defender, a player with a knack for disrupting run plays, adding to pressure on the quarterback, making big tackles when necessary, and doing a strong job in coverage. I expected him to take a step forward this year but I never expected it to be this large, and I hope he can continue to build on this and get recognition as a genuine star. - Dave Choate

Grady Jarrett

I am going to go against the grain here a bit and name someone that has been a staple in the Falcons locker room for a few years. Jarrett is starting to get the well-deserved reputation of being a superb interior defensive lineman. He is tied for the team lead in sacks and has registered 12 quarterback hits, also most on the team by a large margin. The Falcons are also sixth in rushing defense and a big part of that reason is because of Jarrett’s quickness and ability to be unblockable at times by opposing blockers. - Eric Robinson