Pro Football Focus: Falcons’ roster is now the NFL’s best

He’s No. 2. His team’s No. 1. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Two years ago, Pro Football Focus ranked the Atlanta Falcons’ roster the NFL’s 31st-best. (Or, put another way, the second-worst.) Which goes to show that things can and do change. The same Pro Football Focus now ranks the Falcons’ roster the NFL’s best. (Or, put another way, the 32nd-worst.)

This latest appraisal, offered on ESPN Insider, ranks only two Falcons starters as either “below average” or “poor.” The two: Tight end Austin Hooper and outside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Three Falcons are graded as “elite.” (How I hate that word, especially as invoked by anyone associated with ESPN, but never mind.) Two you can guess. The third is center Alex Mack.

Now for the audience-participation part of our program. Try naming the player adjudged by PFF as the fourth-best on this newly glittering roster. No, not Devonta Freeman, who fancies himself the real MVP of Super Bowl LI. Not Desmond Trufant, who’s coming off an injury. Not Vic Beasley Jr., now a double-digit sack man. Not Keanu Neal, the new Kam Chancellor.

Give up? It’s right tackle Ryan Schraeder, long a PFF favorite. (PFF’s stock in trade is watching and grading what every single NFL player does on every single NFL snap.)

From the Falcons’ abrupt rise, we can deduce that somebody in Flowery Branch has done a lot of wise acquiring in two years’ time, although it should be noted that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and Freeman and Trufant and Beasley (then a rookie) and Schraeder were on the roster deemed 31st-best in 2015. We can also surmise that on-field results matter. The better your players play, the more games you win. Who’d have thunk it?

Oh, and since you asked: Who’s PFF’s No. 2? The New England Patriots. I believe the Falcons played them not long ago. Can’t recall how that game turned out.

Reader Comments 0

18 comments
rorexu
rorexu

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Eric_C
Eric_C

That 31st ranked roster two years ago started 5-0 and was just a couple of close losses from the playoffs.  There is so much parity.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

These roster rankings are pointless. Injuries can change a roster in an instant. But for fun, we are stacked. Anything other than a return trip would be a disappointment, and thats the way it should be. 

Mandingo
Mandingo

The Falcons will have to win back to back Superbowls before I would every get back on the bandwagon. They have let me down too many times for too many decades.

c130a
c130a

@GaJack1 @Mandingo  I had faith in '98 and last year.  Those buffoons couldn't have disappointed me more than that fiasco last Super Bowl. I wish them well but am no fan any longer.

cbbartley
cbbartley

Good...don't need a fan like you anyway

loel
loel

@Mandingo I believe they can get along without you and several others on the this "bandwagon thingy".  That's what is really meaningless.

RangeRover
RangeRover

"Talent" doesn't blow a 25 point lead in the second half.

DaeguCraig
DaeguCraig

@RangeRover It does when there are only 2 healthy linebackers and they are gassed from running the entire 1st half.  And when the offensive coordinator has such a large ego that he insists on trying to air it out simply to put up more points against Belichick than to play smart football.

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

This being gassed thing kind of bothers me given that, when you play in the super bowl, you are in effect, coming off of a bye week.....they shouldn't have been that gassed!

FalconsPeach
FalconsPeach

@Harlemdawg The defense played 50% more worth of snaps than in a normal game.  Bye week or not, players get tired.  

BPeabody
BPeabody

I'm not sure the strength of the Falcon's roster is important.  The  Birds have been able to do less, with more, than most anybody in the NFL.

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

Typical ... no love from major sports media for Atlanta teams. We need a ring to get us over the hump and into legitimacy. We have the talent, we just need to put it all together.