Grady Jarrett: Not your average fifth-rounder

Grady Jarrett inked his first NFL contract on Friday, officially making him a part of the Atlanta Falcons franchise. The $2.5 million dollar deal signifies Jarrett is ready to begin his career and hit the ground running on the defensive side of the ball. It has been a whirlwind of emotions for the former Clemson defensive tackle. Last Friday, Jarrett’s family house in Conyers, Ga. caught fire the day before he was selected by the Falcons. With the recent ups and downs, Jarrett is relieved that the deal is done.

“It’s really comforting to have that done,” said Jarrett. “But at this moment I’m just focused on trying to become a better football player.”

A successful collegiate career alongside Vic Beasley Jr. saw the 6-foot wrecking ball record 207 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and 37 quarterback pressures. The All-ACC selection had the resume to be selected higher in the draft, but his height detracted from his stock. Jarrett subsequently fell to the fifth round and was the 137th overall pick, making him arguably the steal of the draft according to most. revealed its list of the biggest draft steals, and by no surprise, Jarrett topped that list. PFF’s statistical breakdown showed that Jarrett was in the Top 5 in both Run Stop Percentage and Pass Rushing Productivity when lined against Power 5 opponents; the only player to rank that highly in both categories.

Jarrett understands that even though many expect him to make a big impact, he still has work to do to prove that he can contribute quickly.

“I’m just happy to be here in Atlanta. The draft is just a thing of the past,” Jarrett explained. “You can only control what you control. What I control is what I do out here and I’m just trying to be a better player and help this team win.”

Day 2 of rookie mini-camp went well with the tempo of the practice being upbeat according to Jarrett, “We want to play fast here in Atlanta, so that’s how we are going to practice. Everybody is getting in shape at the same time.”

Grady is no stranger to practicing in the Georgia heat as both he and Clemson teammate Vic Beasley Jr. both played their high school ball in Georgia. Jarrett is eager to continue his journey with his long time teammate. “It’s definitely good having Vic here with me. Me and him both are really excited to be a part of this organization, both being from Georgia.”

The familiarity between defensive line coach Bryan Cox and Jarrett has also made the transition from college to the pros that much easier in the opening days. “I love coach Cox. I had an opportunity to work with him a little bit before the draft in my local workout and then to come here and to actually have him coach me every day is good. He demands the best and he gets it out of us every day.”

Coach Quinn’s thoughts on the defense during Day 2 reiterated the idea that coach Cox and the rest of the defensive coaches are already pushing their players to get the most out of them. Quinn stated, “Defensively, I thought the effort was better. The speed to the ball, we were really emphasizing that this morning in our meetings; how quickly we can go and break and I thought that really came through on the field today.”

Jarrett felt that today went better than Friday’s opening practice, but Quinn thought the defensive tackle did well both days.

“Ironically, I thought he was one of the guys that showed up even yesterday, so for him, no surprise he put two back-to-back days together.”

Just two days into his Falcons career, Jarrett has already turned heads with his positive play and hunger to get better every day. With a strong work ethic, it should come to no surprise if he ends up being a steal just like his father Jessie Tuggle was for Atlanta two decades ago.


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