1. Nate Landman got better with every down last year at linebacker
Nate Landman quickly became one of my favorite players on last year's defense. Of course, guys like Calais Campbell, Bud Dupree, Grady Jarrett, A.J. Terrell and Jessie Bates III were known commodities, but Landman certainly made the most out of his opportunity. Once Troy Andersen got hurt, it was Landman who had to step up playing alongside Kaden Elliss in the middle of the linebacking corps.
While I think there is a very good chance Landman follows Ryan Nielsen to Jacksonville this offseason, I would be hard-pressed to see Terry Fontenot punt on one of his better front-office investments over the last three seasons. Landman was undrafted out of Colorado and quickly became one of the most instinctive players I have seen in the middle of Atlanta defense in years.
Because he is an early restricted free agent, I would venture to guess that the Falcons will put a decent-sized tender on him in the hopes that he would be retained. I don't know what grade he will get, but he did not even make $1 million in salary last year. As the season progressed, he was tasked with making plays in critical spots on Nielsen's defense and he delivered time and time again for him.
No matter where he ends up, Atlanta or elsewhere, Landman has earned his huge bump up in pay.