Atlanta Falcons: Top 10 all-time draft classes – #9


Today, we continue our “Falcons 50” countdown. Staff writer Eric Robinson has been counting down the Atlanta Falcons’ best ever draft classes, and now moves onto No. 9.

You can find the full list of “Falcons 50” posts here.

We continue on our “Falcons 50” countdown and the Falcons’ top 10 draft classes at #9.

A draft class that included a solid RB and a productive WR out of San Jose St. The class itself was 12 players deep, however it only produced a couple of players who made a significant enough impact for the Falcons.

9. 1982 – Notable names: Gerald Riggs, Stacey Bailey

1. Gerald Riggs, RB
2. Doug Rogers, DE
3. Stacey Bailey, WR
4. Reggie Brown, RB
5. Von Mansfield, DB
6. Mike Kelley, QB
7. David Toloumu, RB
8. Ricky Eberhart, DB
9. Mike Horan, P
10. Curtis Stowers, LB
11. Jeff Keller, WR
12. Dave Levenick, LB

The 1981 season for the Atlanta Falcons was not all that kind. The Falcons went 7-9 in 1981 and landed the ninth overall pick. That pick was used to draft a player who would eventually become the Falcons all time leading rusher.

Running back Gerald Riggs was drafted out of Arizona St. Riggs was a key contributor to the Falcons 5-4 record during the 1982 strike-shortened season.

After rushing for 299 yards and five scores his rookie season, Riggs eventually hit his stride in 1984, rushing for 1,486 yards and 13 touchdowns while adding another 277 receiving yards. After that outstanding season, Riggs topped it in 1985, rushing for 1,719 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He continued his stellar play in 1986 when he rushed for 1,327 yards and another nine scores. Riggs managed to turn those three outstanding seasons into Pro Bowl honors.

In his seven years as a Falcon, he put up 6,631 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns.

Dec 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons mascot Freddie Falcon waves the Falcons flag before their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Georgia Dome. The Steelers won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Another notable name from the 1982 draft was wide receiver Stacey Bailey out of San Jose St.

Bailey’s 1982 season wasn’t much to get excited about as he only contributed two catches for 24 yards and a touchdown.

In the 1983 season, however, Bailey took a big step and provided better play to the team to the tune of 55 receptions, 881 yards and six touchdowns.

Bailey countered that season with his first and only 1,000 yard season of his career as he posted 67 catches, 1,138 yards, and six touchdowns.

Bailey’s entire career was in a Falcons uniform and ended his career with 3,422 career receiving yards and 18 scores.

What do you think of this class, Falcons fans? Do you have any fond memories?

Stay tuned for the Falcons’ eighth best draft class in the next edition of “Falcons 50”.