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A brief history of drafted DTs under the current Falcons regime

Things have gone better here than they did at DT.

Atlanta Falcons v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Let’s roll into the next logical spot for Falcons draft history: Defensive tackle.

The Falcons are in need of a bit of re-tooling along the line, thanks to attrition and some players the team simply doesn’t want back. While defensive tackle is less of an urgent need thanks to Grady Jarrett, Jacob Tuitoi-Mariner, Deadrin Senat and perhaps John Cominsky, it’s still a position group that could use more talent.

Can the Falcons snag that talent in the draft? Let’s take a closer look.

Draft history

2009: Peria Jerry, 1st round

2009: Vance Walker, 7th round

2010: Corey Peters, 3rd round

2012: Travian Robertson, 7th round

2014: Ra’Shede Hageman, 2nd round

2015: Grady Jarrett, 5th round

2018: Deadrin Senat, 3rd round

The Falcons drafted 9 defensive ends in 12 years, with a spotty history of production between them and not one top-shelf, long-term starter in the group. Defensive tackle has been selected 7 times in 12 years, meanwhile, and the track record is equally mixed but a lot better overall.

Jerry is one of the great what-ifs in team history, a supremely talented slashing defensive tackle who had his career ruined by a major injury almost immediately. He was followed by Walker, a capable reserve and rotational guy for multiple teams; Peters, a capable starter and good guy who should’ve been with Atlanta longer; Robertson, who didn’t really work out; Hageman, who had talent but never put it all together, and then Jarrett and Senat, the latter of whom is a still-promising run stopper in search of playing time.

It’s a mixed history, but there are multiple capable players in the list. And then, of course, there’s Jarrett, one of the 3-5 best draft picks of the Thomas Dimitroff era. He’s gone from looking very good early into his career on to borderline dominance in the last couple of seasons, and should have elite years to follow.

The team’s draft history at the position is good enough to advocate for them to dip back into that well again in 2020, especially if it means finding a high-end complement to Jarrett. History suggests the Jerry pick made them gunshy about taking DTs in the first round, but wherever they decide to add one, the Falcons have shown they can at minimum find useful pieces. Let’s hope they try again.