We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today, I’ll be discussing DT Deadrin Senat—a former third-round pick who got very little playing time in 2019 and whose roster spot may be in jeopardy.
DT Deadrin Senat
Contract: $954K cap hit in 2020, rookie contract through 2021 ($897K APY)
Career Production: 17 games played, 2 games started | 30 total tackles, 2.0 TFL, 6.3% missed tackle rate, 5 total pressures | 62.0 overall PFF grade
2019 Production: 2 games played | No stats | 57.8 overall PFF grade
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 3rd round (#90 overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2018-present)
Ever since Dan Quinn came to Atlanta, the Falcons haven’t prioritized the DT position in the draft. Atlanta got extremely lucky by finding a star in Grady Jarrett in the fifth round of Quinn’s inaugural season, but have since invested just two picks in the position. This led to a DT rotation almost entirely manned by free agents—names like Paul Soliai, Dontari Poe, Jack Crawford, and Tyeler Davison have been short-term fixtures alongside Jarrett. It’s surprising, then, that Senat—a 2018 third-round pick—has gotten so few chances to see the field thus far in his career.
Senat was a strange draft pick for the Falcons. For one, he doesn’t seem to match up with Atlanta’s athletic thresholds—outside of bench reps, Senat tested out as a below average athlete in every single measure. However, Senat was known for tremendous work ethic, competitiveness, and excellent strength, along with a strong understanding of how to use leverage owing to his more compact build. It was expected that Senat would fill a role as a base-package NT who could stop the run and provide a little bit of pass rush as a bull rusher.
In 2018, Senat appeared in 15 games and started 2. He actually played quite well in his rotational role: 30 total tackles, 2.0 TFL, and 5 pressures in just 34% of the defensive snaps—all impressive numbers for a nose tackle. PFF apparently agreed, giving Senat a 66.2 grade—approximately a solid starter. It was all the more surprising, then, that the Falcons elected to sign a different starter at NT in free agency (Tyeler Davison) heading into the 2019 season. We expected that this meant a slightly different role for Senat, but instead it meant that Senat would essentially be a gameday inactive. He appeared in only 2 games during the 2019 season and played just 24 snaps, failing to log a single statistic. Even when injuries struck the DT position, the Falcons elected to activate players like Justin Zimmer and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner instead of Senat.
There’s clearly something going on here with Senat. It’s unusual to keep your third-round pick off the field in general, especially for Thomas Dimitroff—remember Dezmen Southward? It’s even more unusual when said third-round pick had an encouraging rookie year performance that seemed to imply more snaps were warranted. I can’t tell you what exactly is preventing the Falcons from giving Senat on-field opportunities, but I believe he deserves a chance to play—and it would be a big disappointment if the team didn’t find a way to make that happen, or worse, cut ties with Senat before the season.
Projection: Deadrin Senat appears to have the unenviable role of being the backup NT behind an established veteran starter in Tyeler Davison. We’ve seen that Senat can be a solid starter when given opportunities on the field, which makes Atlanta’s reluctance to play him all the more confusing. With an even bigger logjam at DT this season, Senat may once again spend the majority of the year as a gameday inactive.