Atlanta Falcons: Top 10 All-Time Draft Classes – #5
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. 5.
You can find the full list of “Falcons 50” posts here.
We have now reached the halfway point of our countdown of the top 10 Falcons draft classes. Here at No. 5, we have a class that was large in number but low on players who made a significant contribution.
Yet, the Atlanta Falcons landed a pillar along their offensive line for years and a high motor defender who also carved out a respectable career as a Falcon. Let’s dive in.
5. 1992 – Notable names: Bob Whitfield, Chuck Smith
1. Bob Whitfield, OT
2. Tony Smith, RB
2. Chuck Smith, DE
3. Howard Dinkins, LB
4. Frankie Smith, DB
6. Terry Ray, DB
7. Tim Paulk, LB
8. Derrick Moore, RB
8. Reggie Dwight, TE
9. Keith Alex, G
10. Darryl Hardy, LB
11. Robin Jones, DE
As you can tell, the 1992 class was packed. The class had a few guys who never played a down for the Falcons but it also produced a couple of solid players who had respectable career.
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Drafted eighth overall, Bob Whitfield traded in his Stanford jersey for a Falcons one. Whitfield gave the Falcons twelve years of career and seven straight seasons of starting all 16 games. He started 167 of a possible 178 games.
Whifield was also voted to one Pro Bowl in 1998 and was a second-team All-Pro in 1996. He helped protect quarterbacks such as Chris Miller, Chris Chandler and Michael Vick.
In the second round, the Falcons called on defensive end Chuck Smith, former Tennessee Volunteer, to give them a little hand.
Smith’s first two seasons saw him rack up on 5.5 sacks. The 1994 season proved to be his “coming out” party as he posted eleven sacks and two fumble recoveries. He didn’t get another double digit sack season until 1997 as he brought down the quarterback twelve times and was also voted as an All-Pro selection.
Smith also posted ten sacks in his last season with a Falcons in 1999. During his entire eight seasons as a Falcon, he totaled 58.5 sacks.
Which class will be ranked at No. 4? Here’s a clue – it involved a risky trade which paid off in a big way.