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The Falcoholic midseason awards: Defensive MVP

The Falcons defense hasn’t been great, but some players have been.

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

We are officially midway through the 2021 regular season, as the Atlanta Falcons are at .500 with a 4-4 record. This week at The Falcoholic we will be reviewing the halfway point, looking at the contributions of certain players and some predictions for the remainder of the season.

Now we’re on to the Falcoholic Defensive MVP, which is given to the player who has been the most valuable to the defense in 2021. As you’d imagine, this list is a little thin, but there are some deserving candidates, and as was the case with the offense we have a couple of clear front-runners.


A.J. Terrell

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Over 8 games, Terrell has allowed 13 catches on 28 attempts for a whopping ... 74 yards? Not only is that the best in the league, he’s ahead of the next best corner on the list (Casey Hayward) by 48 yards. That is a paltry 5.7 yards per reception and that’s on top of only allows 46.4% of those targets to be caught. He has 6 pass break ups and is allowing a passer rating of just 65.2. If those numbers look great, it’s because they are. Terrell has been our best defender and it’s not even close. Grady Jarrett always deserves consideration, but the second year corner is turning into the top-tier player we hoped he would be. - David Walker

I am hopping on this Terrell bandwagon. I am not a draft guru, but I do recall being concerned after hearing scouts dish on Terrell. A year and a half later, those insider takes are embarrassing. Terrell has been an absolute menace in a baaaaad defense. He has almost no help, he is playing one of the league’s toughest positions, and he is absolutely dominating. As noted by David Walker above, his stats barely even make sense. Terrell is on pace to be one of the top defenders in the league after kicking off the first half of the season as defensive MVP. - Matt Chambers

It’s noticeable that when A.J. Terrell is on the field, the Falcons defense is better. Terrell has been one of the few bright spots for the Falcons in 2021 and should be a building block for the defense as they look to improve over the next several years. In coverage this season, Terrell has only allowed one touchdown, which came in Week 9 against the Saints and wasn’t necessarily his fault. Outside of that, Terrell has allowed 30 or fewer receiving yards in every game and no more than 3 catches allowed per game. Grady Jarrett is definitely deserving as well, but it’s been welcoming to see Terrell take the next step in becoming a true No. 1 corner for the Falcons. – Evan Birchfield

Honestly, I can’t find myself making an argument for anyone other than Terrell. He has been everything the Falcons could have hope in year 2 and more. DW laid out all of the numbers in his paragraph earlier in this roundtable — the sophomore out of Clemson has been shut down in every sense of the word. He is currently PFF’s second-highest graded CB in coverage behind only Jalen Ramsey and looks to be a foundational piece in the secondary. I can’t wait to see how stifling Atlanta’s passing defense gets when they pair him with another good cornerback. - Adnan Ikic

Grady Jarrett

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

There will come a day where you ask me who the most valuable player on the defense is and the first name that comes to mind isn’t Grady Jarrett, but that day is not today.

He’s the better player, but Jarrett will always remind me a bit of former excellent Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who also quietly did so many essential things b that didn’t necessarily show up in the box score. Jarrett harasses quarterbacks, puts stress on plays by destroying his blocker, routinely is disruptive against the run and is basically always commanding attention from opposing offenses. The best way to put it might be that Jarrett stresses everyone he comes in contact with—at least on the football field, he seems like a great guy off the field—and as one of the very few Falcons defenders doing that, he winds up being responsible in one way or another for most of the big plays Atlanta does put together. That’s been true this year, as well, and it’s why he’s my defensive MVP through eight games. -Dave Choate

Poll

Who is the Defensive Midseason MVP for the Falcons?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    A.J. Terrell
    (300 votes)
  • 16%
    Grady Jarrett
    (59 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (specify in comments)
    (3 votes)
362 votes total Vote Now