Now that free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft draft are (mostly) behind us, it’s time to take a closer look at the Atlanta Falcons’ roster heading in to the summer. Outside of a few additions and subtractions here and there in the course of training camp and the preseason, this is the roster Atlanta will be working with during the 2022 season.
We’ll kick things off with a look at the projected starters and players competing for those spots. Next up is defensive tackle. This unit has undergone few changes this offseason, with Pro Bowl veteran Grady Jarrett, ascending nose tackle Anthony Rush, former second-rounder Marlon Davidson, and 2021 fifth-rounder Ta’Quon Graham all returning for 2022.
Next up, 2021 fifth-rounder Ta’Quon Graham.
DT Ta’Quon Graham
Age: 23 (24 during 2022 season)
Contract: $912K cap hit in 2022, rookie contract through 2024
Career Production: 13 games played, 5 games started | 15 total tackles, 8 solo, 2.0 TFL, 11.8% MTR | 2 total pressures | 47.3 overall PFF grade
2021 Production: Same as above
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 5th Round (149th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2021-present)
I’ve talked a lot about the Falcons inability to find a running mate for Grady Jarrett under Thomas Dimitroff, so we won’t rehash it again here. Suffice it to say, Atlanta needed to find help for Jarrett immediately. While the team hasn’t made any impact additions, Terry Fontenot did take a swing on a mid-Day 3 developmental prospect in Ta’Quon Graham in the 2021 NFL Draft.
On paper, Graham certainly looks like a worthy selection. He’s an elite athlete, with excellent speed, agility, and explosiveness. Graham also possesses tremendous length with 35” arms and massive 10.6” hands. He’s got the body type and athletic profile to be an impact 3-4 DE—the questions had to do with his technique and ability to impact the passing game at a higher level of competition. In college, Graham was a consistent disruptor against the run (17.5 TFL over the 2019-2020 seasons) but a non-factor against the pass (6.0 career sacks).
The Falcons actually gave Graham early playing time as a reserve, before making him inactive for several weeks. He steadily earned more playing time late in the season, and became a significant rotational piece from Week 14 on, playing at least 40% of the snaps in every game. Graham wasn’t an impact player in his rookie season, but his contributions against the run improved steadily throughout the year. The hope is that those contributions—and his ability as a pass rusher—continue to trend upwards in Year 2.
Projection: Ta’Quon Graham grew into a significant rotational role late in his rookie season, and will likely be called upon to increase his snap count even more in 2022. His flashes against the run and upside as a pass rusher should make him close to a roster lock.