The Falcons were able to keep pass-rusher Adrian Clayborn and it could very well be one of the most important signings they made in free agency this year.
In his first year in Atlanta, Clayborn made an immediate impact and his numbers prove it. He led the team in quarterback hits with 15, three sacks, 15 combined tackles, four tackles for losses and a fumble recovery.
Following the 2015 season, Coach Quinn said he and GM Thomas Dimitroff would focus on bolstering their roster through the trenches, and keeping Clayborn was key for the Falcons as he reportedly generated a significant amount of attention from other clubs.
Clayborn's versatility is a big reason for his success in Quinn's defense. Atlanta used him primarily on the edge as a defensive end, but also moved him inside to play tackle, mostly on passing downs. The former first-round draft pick shined when he lined up outside, and that's where he will stay in the upcoming season.
Quinn confirmed in an interview from the NFL owners meetings that Clayborn will solely be used as a defensive end for the Falcons in the future. He believes that's where Clayborn is best suited to succeed and what's best for his defense.
"We are going to change his spot and feature him more as a defensive end," Quinn said of Clayborn. "I love his toughness and the attitude he brings. Now that we are going to feature him back at defensive end, I'm excited to see him do that. He's played a bunch of end for us, and he's played a little bit of tackle for us as well. This was really the first year that he's played defensive tackle. I'm putting him back out on the defensive end to let him do his thing."