Crawford signing- Defensive End/Defensive Tackle Jack Crawford signed a 3 year, $10.3 million deal with the Falcons. The former Penn State Alumni was drafted by the Raiders in the 5th round of the 2012 draft, and spent 2 years in Oakland and 3 years in Dallas. Crawford only played 19 games for Oakland, but played every game for Dallas in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. However, Crawford’s 2014 season was limited in Dallas due to a broken thumb. In the two seasons he played full, Crawford finished with mediocre stats, recording 7.5 sacks and 27 tackles. To put that in comparison, Vic Beasley has recorded 19.5 sacks and 52 tackles through his first two years in Atlanta. It may seem as though Crawford’s stats aren’t high enough that he could make an impact on the Falcon’s pass rush, but a reliable addition to the defensive-line is all Atlanta can ask for at this point in the offseason. Crawford fits perfectly in that slot as the 5-year vet has shown the consistency Atlanta needs. After Atlanta finished its deal with Crawford, Crawford expressed that he was quite pleased with the signing. “Just watching the Falcons on tape, I think their system and their philosophy on defense is very similar to how we were taught in Dallas. I love watching their defense.” A pass rush from Atlanta that needs much improvement took one leap forward with the signing of 28-year-old Crawford who can now counter Vic Beasley and be a possible second threat offenses must look out for.
A look into the Falcon’s Defensive Line- There is no official ranking of where the Falcon’s Overall D-line stands compared to other NFL teams. Many experts have ranked based off opinion, and the Falcons aren’t even considered in the top 20. That’s a reputation Atlanta has long been trying to get rid of. The biggest and most successful step taken in making the D-line more prominent was the selection of Vic Beasley in the 1st round of the 2015 draft. Vic led the league in sacks last year, but as far as stopping the run game goes, Atlanta was still weak. There is an official ranking of where the rushing defense ranked last year, and it was 17th. Unless the stellar offense stays exactly where it left off from last year, that ranking is most likely going to have to be top 10 for Atlanta to make another Super Bowl appearance. Defense wins championships, and improving the defensive-line is the aspect of defense Atlanta most needs to rebuild to have a successful season come 2018. Crawford was most likely signed to create pass rush to go along with Beasley, and the Falcons may look to the draft to solve the problem of stopping the rushing game. Caleb Brantley, the 295 pound defensive linemen out of Florida is projected to go to the Falcons as the 31st pick of the draft. Brantley was a standout recording 80 total tackles through 3 years at Florida. Brantley, along with many others will be watched closely this offseason by the Falcons, and we’ll be keeping you updated on any moves Atlanta makes in the future.
Information gathered from: http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/233102/jack-crawford-eager-to-help-elite-vic-beasley-falcons
Pictures retrieved from: http://cdn1.sbnation.com/imported_assets/489518/large_crawford22_medium.jpg