Atlanta Falcons: Top 10 all-time draft classes – #7


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. 7.

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

Working our way down the countdown of the top Atlanta Falcons draft classes of all-time, we find ourselves at lucky number #7. A class that features a cornerstone linebacker and a special teams ace who not only gave the Falcons quality play but turned out to be a vital piece in arguably the biggest acquisition in franchise history.

7. 1998 – Notable names: Keith Brooking, Tim Dwight

1. Keith Brooking, LB
2. Bob Hallen, C/G
3. Jammi German, WR
4. Omar Brown, S
4. Tim Dwight, WR/KR
6. Elijah Williams, CB
7. Ephraim Salaam, T
7. Ken Oxendine, RB
7. Henry Slay, DT

Selected 12th overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, linebacker Keith Brooking brought stability to the position. Stability that lasted eleven seasons in a Falcons uniform. Brooking hit his stride in his second season by tallying 73 solo tackles and two sacks. He really took off in 2001 has he racked up 100 solo tackles, 3.5 sacks, and two INTs as it turned out to be the first of five Pro Bowl seasons.

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Brooking totaled 100+ tackles on two other occasions with 110 solo tackles in 2002 and a whopping 126 solo tackles in 2003.

Not only did he bring solid play on the field, he also provided the team with the vocal leadership for the team over the years.

Brooking also brought versatility to the Falcons as he played all three linebacker positions and was productive in all three. After eleven years on the job, he left the Falcons and signed with Dallas as a free agent.

Wide receiver and returner Tim Dwight only spent three seasons in Atlanta, however the fourth-rounder out of Iowa proved to be a valuable piece to the puzzle.

Dwight did not provide much from his receiver position during his rookie season but he did bring a spark to special teams as he totaled 973 kick return yards (27.0 yd average) and a touchdown.

He posted 944 kick return yards, 220 punt return yards and a score in 1999. That same season, Dwight displayed his receiving ability with 32 catches, 669 yards, and seven TDs.

During the 2000 season, Dwight’s last as a Falcon, he gave the team 26 catches, 406 yards, and three TDs while also posting 309 punt return yards and a TD and also having 680 kick return yards.

Three seasons showed Dwight’s value as a playmaker and he also proved to be a vital piece in the trade to San Diego before the 2001 season which landed Michael Vick in Atlanta.

Stay tuned as we reveal No. 6 tomorrow.

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