Now that the roster has been assembled, we’ve ranked the top three players on the team going into the 2023 season. Plus, we’ve added a few honorable mentions at the end.
It’s hard to argue against Jarrett, who’s been a staple on the Falcons defense since being drafted in the fifth round back in 2015. However, Jarrett has also been on some of the worst defenses in football over the last eight seasons. This isn’t a knock on Jarrett but it just shows that he can’t do it alone. It’s relatively easy for opposing offenses to scheme a defensive player out of the action if there’s nobody else that they fear.
The former Clemson standout has accumulated 336 quarterback pressures, with 39 sacks. Jarrett posted a career-high eight sacks in 2019, and turned in another quality season in 2023.
He may not have had the season fans hoped for in 2022, but there’s no denying that Pitts is the best player the Falcons have on offense. As a rookie, Pitts eclipsed Mike Ditka’s rookie record for a tight end with 1,026 receiving yards in 2021. His touchdown totals are relatively pedestrian, but there are other factors that have hindered Pitts’ lack of red-zone production. The third-year tight end’s size and speed still create matchup problems for any opposing defense.
If the Falcons offense can take that step forward that many think they will, then Pitts should be a key playmaker this season.
Any conversation involving the best players on this Falcons squad has to involve Chris Lindstrom. In fact, the team made Lindstrom the highest-paid guard in NFL history this offseason by giving him a 5-year, $100 million extension. Lindstrom was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded guard last season, and he has seen year-by-year improvement since joining the league in 2019. The future looks bright with Lindstrom and right tackle Kaleb McGary under contract for the foreseeable future.
While Bates signed a big-money deal to come to the Falcons this offseason, it doesn’t mean he will have big-money production. He’s undoubtedly talented, but Bates needs to prove he can be a difference-maker in Atlanta before we can put him in the top three.
Terrell had a stellar 2021 campaign, but his production dropped off a bit in 2022. After only giving up 200 yards on 66 targets in 2021, he then allowed 430 yards on 68 receptions last season. Additionally, he gave up six more touchdowns in 2022 than he did in 2021.
While Matthews has been a quality player for the duration of his time in Atlanta, giving him top-three status feels a little too high. His veteran status may make him a top-three locker room guy, but he’s been surpassed by Lindstrom as the team’s stop offensive lineman.
While 2021 was fun, it’s very unlikely we see that Patterson again. He’s getting up there in age and his snap totals could take another hit after the Falcons took Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 pick in the draft.
He needs one more season of production before he’s considered a top-three player.