Before the 2015 season began, there was a lot of hope among Atlanta Falcons fans that rookie defensive end Vic Beasley Jr. would quickly step up and be the pass rusher off the end that the franchise has desperately needed. Heck, I’ll readily admit that I was part of that hope and, yes, hype.
Football Betting Center set the preseason odds at 7/1 that Beasley would be named the Defensive Rookie of the Year, essentially making him one of the front-runners. So it makes me feel a little better to learn that even the experts were duped.
Beasley’s numbers were mediocre at best. He played all 16 games for the Falcons – to be fair, he was playing through injuries in a few of those – and recorded just four sacks. Remember, the Falcons had a lot of hope that he’d be the guy who got to the quarterback after so many had failed in recent seasons.
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A year after the Falcons finished No. 30 in sacks with 22, they finished the 2015 campaign with only 19 sacks. That’s bad enough for dead-last in the league, proving Beasley has yet to prove himself as a difference-maker for Atlanta’s defense.
Having said all that, Falcons fans shouldn’t give up on Beasley yet. Many of the league’s great pass-rushers weren’t superstars from the moment they turned pro. In his rookie season with the Houston Texans, J.J. Watt had just 5.5 sacks. It doesn’t always happen overnight.
But if the Falcons’ defense is going to be feared, instead of the joke it’s been the last few years, it needs great pass-rushers. In 2015, Beasley just wasn’t ready.
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