2010 was a spectacular year for Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons. He broke the franchise record for most receptions in a season, and also led the NFC in receiving yards.
Undoubtedly, he is one of the top receivers in the league. But success did not happen overnight for White. Instead, he had to fall down, only to learn how to get back up again.
White was drafted by Atlanta with the 27th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Just a year earlier, the Falcons selected WR Michael Jenkins with the 29th pick in the draft.
In White’s first two seasons with the Falcons, he played with little heart and practiced with even less effort, mimicking Jenkins. White caught only 59 balls those first two years for only 952 yards.
In 2007, the Falcons brought in veteran receiver Joe Horn to try and help their young receivers blossom into elite receivers. Jenkins maintained his less than stellar work ethic, ignoring the glaring holes in his game such as his route running abilities; White changed.
Learning how to be a professional, White had a breakout season in 2007. He caught 83 passes for 1,202 yards, becoming the first Falcon receiver since 1999 to have over 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
White has maintained this level of great play the past three seasons as well, earning a Pro Bowl selection each year. He has always had the talent to be among the NFL’s elite, but it took a veteran’s advice and mentoring to help White realize his potential.
With his success, the Falcons are the top seed in the NFC and primed for a run at the Super Bowl.