Three newly acquired Falcons have chosen their jersey numbers, and so the next logical question is, whose jerseys are they going to have to fill to live up to the number? A quick check of the historical archives at atlantafalcons.com answers that question:
QB TJ Yates — No. 8. Yates was traded to the Falcons from the Texans a few weeks ago, and while Matt Ryan probably feels pretty confident in his current position at QB, Yates is most likely the solid backup to Matty Ice. Should Matt Ryan go down, Yates would be compared to five No. 8s in Falcons history: Tommy McDonald (1967); Kenny Vinyard (1970); Bob Holly (1984-1985); Matt Schaub (2004-2006) and Chris Redman (2007-2011). Should something happen to Ryan (please no please no please no), it won’t take a Bledsoe-Brady event to make Yates the owner of No. 8.
WR Courtney Roby — No. 14. Most recently a Saint, the addition of Roby serves as an important reminder to all Falcons fans — Erik Kramer and Ty Detmer were both Falcons at one point in time. Those who have donned 14 for Atlanta: Steve Sloan (1966–67); Terry Nofsinger (1967); June Jones (1977–79); Jeff Komlo (1982); Turk Schonert (1986); Erik Kramer (1987); Bob Gagliano (1993); Wally Richardson (1999); Ty Detmer (2004–05); Eric Weems (2007-11).
LB Tim Dobbins — No. 52. The eight-year NFLer was signed in June, and has assumed the number most recently worn by Akeem Dent, who was traded for Yates. Previous 52s have not been a who’s who of household names. Perhaps the most well known name is Ken Tippens, who played LB from 1990-1995, but that’s because he is also known by his prison number, having been sentenced to prison for cocaine in 2009. Others who have donned 52 include Marion Rushing (1966–68); Ron Acks (1968-1971); Ken Mitchell (1973–74); Dewey McClain; (1976–80); Lyman White (1981–82); John Harper (1983); Craig Sutter (1997); Rydell Malancon (1984); Vinson Smith (1988); Craig Sauer (1996–99); Matt Stewart (2001–04); Jordan Beck (2006); Travis Williams (2007); Coy Wire (2008-2010).
The rookies have their numbers, and here they are below, with the Falcon who I think most represents that number.
- OT Jake Matthews – 70 — Biggest jersey to fill — Bob Whitfield
- DE Ra’Shede Hageman – 77 — Biggest jersey to fill — Tyson Clabo
- S Dezmen Southward – 41– Biggest jersey to fill — Erric Pegram/Eugene Robinson
- RB Devonta Freeman – 33 — Biggest jersey to fill — Michael Turner
- LB Prince Shembo – 53 — Biggest jersey to fill — Paul Ryczek
- CB Ricardo Allen – 37 — Biggest jersey to fill — Elbert Shelley
- LB Marquis Spruill – 51 — Biggest jersey to fill — Demorrio Williams
- LB Yawin Smallwood – 54 — Biggest jersey to fill — Fulton Kuykendall
- LB Tyler Starr – 49 — Biggest jersey to fill — Really not a lot to choose from here. Tyler, have at it.
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