Youth Gives Signs Of Long-Term Promise

They like what they see on the horizon.

Simply look at the ages of many of the contributors on the Falcons' defense, and you quickly get a sense of the optimism that head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have for the future of their defense.

When Quinn arrived in Atlanta in February of 2015 he had a clear vision of exactly how he would build his team.

He would create a roster full of relentless competitors who run, hit and flock to the ball.

And after two draft classes with Dimitroff, Quinn is starting to see his vision come to fruition.

The Falcons have the most first and second year defensive players that play at least 50 percent of snaps in the NFL with six, not including Jalen Collins and Ricardo Allen. Outside of Chicago (5), Atlanta doubles the next closest competitor.

For some, building a foundation reliant upon a group of men whose ages range from 21-24 could feel like a gamble, but the Falcons' player evaluation process guarantees two things: In order to be a Falcon, you will be an ultimate Competitor and you will be Tough. In fact, 'CT' is so heavily ingrained in Atlanta's culture that not only do Quinn and Dimitroff give CT scores, players are also asked to grade themselves every week.

For Quinn, if a player has both of those characteristics, it means that player has the opportunity to make an impact from the minute they walk through the doors in Flowery Branch.

That's exactly what has happened in Atlanta.

What's even more impressive about these numbers is Quinn believes this is just the beginning.

"I'm pleased with the progress that their making and I think there's another big jump that we're going to make," Quinn said of the impact the first and second year players are making.

This core group of players has not only put the wheels in motion for what's to come for the foreseeable future, but they're also making a statement now.

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