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Falcons sign DL Zach Harrison to rookie deal

Atlanta selected the Ohio State edge rusher in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons have signed defensive lineman Zach Harrison to his rookie deal, the organization announced on Tuesday. Atlanta drafted the Ohio State edge rusher with the No. 75 overall pick in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Harrison's rookie contract is estimated to have a total value of $5.56 million, while carrying a cap hit of $1.01 million in 2023. These estimations are according to


Harrison is coming off a 2022 season that was his most productive for the Buckeyes. He was named to the Second-Team All-Big Ten after notching 34 tackles (eight for a loss) and 3.5 sacks. Though there were those who looked at the 3.5 sacks a knock against him, those same people failed to look at the fact that it was Harrison who led the team in total pressure with 33 alone in 2022. That's enough to show the Falcons there's more to be tapped into in regards to Harrison's potential. He's a player who's best days - the Falcons believe - are in front of him.

"Zach is another guy we were able to work out at Ohio State when we went up there," head coach Arthur Smith said after Harrison was drafted. "(He has) length, clearly, and he was a big recruit coming into Ohio State. Obviously, (he's still) kind of coming into his own. Still pretty young, but there's not the pressure on him right away."

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Zach Harrison #96 during the 2023 Rookie Minicamp at the Atlanta Falcons headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Friday, May 12, 2023. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Smith said this because the Falcons feel confident in the defensive front they have built up this offseason. Unlike the edge rushers drafted before him, guys like Arnold Ebiketie, Ade Ogundeji and DeAngelo Malone, Harrison doesn't come into a situation where he'll have to be "ready" Week 1.

The Falcons have a solid core of veterans all around him who will be expected to perform early. Think guys like Lorenzo Carter (who the Falcons re-signed at the start of the new league year), Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree (two players the Falcons picked up in free agency). There's the aforementioned Ebiketie and Ogundeji, too. So, the need for Harrison to be a game-changer for the Falcons in his first months in the league or even his first year isn't as pressing of an issue as it would have been if he were drafted prior to 2023.

Atlanta has the opportunity to give Harrison time to grow into the player they believe he's capable of being.

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