For the past two decades, the Falcons have lined up one stout defensive tackle after another. From Travis Hall to Jonathan Babineaux and now Grady Jarrett. They’ve been very fortunate to have a strong anchor holding down the middle of the defensive line. But which one is the best of the bunch? All of them were drafted by the team and had excellent careers. While Jarrett is entering his prime he has been stout up to this point.
However, being forced to pick one as the best, Hall gets the nod. He played 10 seasons in Atlanta lining up at both tackle and end. He was a sixth-round draft pick out of Bringham Young in 1995.
At 6-feet-5, and 295 pounds, Hall exceeded the limited expectations of a sixth-round pick. He played in 134 games with the Falcons recording 41.5 sacks, and 435 tackles with 335 of those being solo tackles. Hall also forced four fumbles during his Falcons tenure. He went to play one season in San Francisco before retiring in 2005.
Hall’s best season came in 1997 when he recorded 10.5 sacks, 78 tackles and recovered a fumble. Despite the numbers that year he wasn’t selected to the pro bowl he was never selected to a pro bowl or all-pro team.
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Babineaux came in at a close second to Hall for the best defensive tackle that the Falcons have drafted. He was the 59th pick in the 2005 draft out of Iowa. The former Hawkeye played in 185 games during his career all with the Falcons. His numbers aren’t gaudy but he made an impact recording 27 career sacks along with 394 tackles and 10 forced fumbles. The most surprising stat from his maybe his four career interceptions, and one career touchdown, which came on a fumble recovery. He played all along the line at defensive tackle and defensive end.
Babineaux’s best season came in 2009 a career-high six sacks,47 tackles and forced two fumbles. He was fortunate enough to get contract extensions from the Falcons. The first came in 2008 when he signed a 5-year deal with 25 million dollars. The second came in 2014 when he inked a 3 year deal with nine million.
The 12-year vet found a way to make a difference on the team until the end when he retired after the 2016 run to the Super Bowl. Similar to Hall, despite having great individual seasons neither was selected to a pro bowl or an all-pro team.
Jarrett currently sits in third behind these two but if he keeps on his current pace it won’t be long before he passes one if not both of the two names previous names stated. He was selected in the fifth round out of Clemson. In just five seasons he’s recorded 21.5 sacks, including a career-high and team-high 7.5 this past season. In addition to the sacks, he’s recorded 248 tackles and 43 tackles for loss.
It is safe to say that the Falcons are very good at finding the diamonds in the rough at defensive tackle.