Post Draft Position Analysis - Defensive Line

Grady Jarrett will be an interesting rookie to watch in 2015.

The Falcons decided to make another addition on the defensive line in the draft with the selection of Grady Jarrett, the fifth round pick from Clemson.

Jarrett will be reunited with Vic Beasley, who was Atlanta’s first round pick from Clemson. But Jarrett may have a little more trouble getting playing time compared to Beasley, at least early on in his career.

The Falcons envision Jarrett lining up at a very crowded defensive tackle position. Going into to training camp, Paul Soliai and Ra’Shede Hageman look to be the starters at the two tackle positions. But then, it gets very crowded.

Jonathan Babineaux is still around, as is Tyson Jackson. Those are two veterans that really need to find a new role in Dan Quinn’s defense. The Falcons also brought back Cliff Matthews for depth.

So where does Jarrett fit in? Well, with Quinn reportedly liking smaller tackles, Jarrett fits the bill at only 6-foot-1. He is the one-gap player the Falcons want to have in Quinn’s defense.

Plus, the Falcons can afford to develop Jarrett a bit and allow him to grow in Quinn’s system. If the veterans do get more playing time, it might not be a negative reflection on Jarrett. They may just be developing him for the future at their own pace.

Jarrett has a tremendous background due to his bloodlines, as he is the son of Falcons legend Jessie Tuggle. He also grew up around Ray Lewis, Baltimore’s legendary linebacker. So this kid has been around football all of his life. There’s something to that. Plus, he knows what Falcons football is all about, growing up east of Atlanta.

Jarrett also found out what it means to be in the Falcons family. When his house burned down on the night before he was drafted, the Falcons, particularly owner Arthur Blank, reached out and helped. That had to mean a lot to the young man who lost so much in the fire.

This is going to be one of the more intriguing players to watch in training camp. Jarrett has potential. It was a steal for the Falcons to get him in the 5th round, and they may have a player that can really help in the future on the defensive line.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and email him at

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