Despite having more than 100 career sacks, I get the feeling that John Abraham is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the history of the National Football League. 2012 will be his 13th season in the league and seventh overall with the Atlanta Falcons. As he has gotten older, he has continued to be a threat to opposing quarterbacks and looks to help guide the Falcons to their first Super Bowl title. How has his career fared thus far and what can Atlanta fans expect from him in 2012?
The New York Jets selected the defensive end out of South Carolina with the 13th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft. He recorded 23.5 sacks during his career as a Gamecock, despite not having much football experience in high school.
New York Jets
As a rookie, Abraham appeared in just six games, but still found a way to record 4.5 sacks. In his second season, he earned 13 sacks in 16 games, which turned out to be the best season he would have in New York. He also set a career high for forced fumbles and scored the only touchdown of his career that season. In six seasons with the Jets, he recorded 53.5 sacks, 219 tackles and forced 19 fumbles.
The Falcons brought Abraham to the team in 2006 via trade and after looking at his inability to stay on the field in his first season there, the pickup was being considered a bust. He appeared in just eight games with four sacks, but bounced back in his next two seasons, starting all 32 games and recording 26.5 sacks. Throughout the early portion of his career with the team, Abraham was often matched against the best offensive linemen because Jamaal Anderson - who lined up on opposite side of defensive line - was one of the biggest draft busts in team history.
Abraham has 58.5 sacks during his time with the Falcons and will look to keep that number going up this season. The team has one of their better defensive lines since he arrived in the dirty south which means Abraham should be able to improve on the 9.5 sacks he had a year ago.
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Hobson Lopes is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons, thanks to Deion Sanders and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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