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Falcons Coach Arthur Smith Excited to Work With 'Hard-Charging' DL Pickup


HASHBROWN3
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The Atlanta Falcons entered training camp with a bevy of players on the defensive line, but after injuries and roster cuts, found themselves in need of more big bodies up front.

Enter Matt Dickerson, who more than fits the bill at 6-5, 292 pounds.

Dickerson, 26, went undrafted after playing in 44 games across four seasons at UCLA. He signed with the Tennessee Titans and made the roster out of camp, seeing action in three games during his rookie campaign.

 

Dickerson returned to Tennessee for his second season, where he was waived and re-signed twice but ultimately ended up making five regular season appearances, posting two tackles, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. 

He also made enough of an impression to earn his way onto the active roster during the playoffs, receiving snaps in each of Tennessee's three postseason contests.

Looking to carry his strong finish to 2019 with him into 2020, Dickerson found the early stages of the season to be difficult, making just three appearances through the first nine games. However, the flip quickly switched, as he played in each of the final eight games.

The stretch also featured two notable firsts for Dickerson: his first start and sack, both of which came in a postseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

 

The game proved to be Dickerson's last in Tennessee, as he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in March looking to continue his upward trajectory. However, things didn't work out, as he was cut before the start of the regular season and remained unsigned into November, when the Arizona Cardinals added him to their practice squad.

Dickerson signed a contract with Arizona following the season but was let go at the start of training camp. That set off an eventful month for the UCLA graduate, as he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs just over a week later.

He instantly made an impact for the Chiefs in the preseason, totaling three solo tackles against the Chicago Bears in the opener and deflecting a pass against the Washington Commanders the week after.

 

However, Dickerson's efforts weren't enough, as the Chiefs waived him during the final round of cuts. He didn't remain unemployed for long, as the Falcons claimed him off waivers the following day.

While Dickerson is new to Atlanta, he should feel right at home with the Falcons' coaching staff. His tenure with the Titans coincided with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, who was the tight end's coach in Dickerson's first year and the offensive coordinator in the final two, and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who held the same position in Tennessee during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Smith offered an assessment of Dickerson after Atlanta picked him up, noting that his game is on an upward climb.

"Hard-charging guy," Smith said. "A guy who has improved. Like what we've seen on tape and we'll take a look at Matt and see what he looks like when he gets here."

 

With his build, Dickerson fits the prototype of a 4i or 5-technique defensive lineman, the same role Atlanta has Ta'Quon Graham, Marlon Davidson and Abdullah Anderson for, but with Davidson on injured reserve, there was a spot open.

How much Dickerson plays remains to be seen, but his size and familiarity with the scheme should give him a chance to succeed early, starting with the season opener against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 11.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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This article first appeared on FanNation Falcon Report and was syndicated with permission.

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1 hour ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

His tenure with the Titans coincided with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, who was the tight end's coach in Dickerson's first year and the offensive coordinator in the final two, and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who held the same position in Tennessee during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Looking up!

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