We continue our “Falcons 50” countdown with a look at the Atlanta Falcons’ top 10 first-round draft picks. Falcons football is just 33 days away. You can follow along with the full countdown here.
Many didn’t understand the selection. Coming out of a small program that wasn’t on the same level as a Michigan, a Texas, Miami, or Alabama, it was obvious that many didn’t know much about the player or what he may have accomplished at the collegiate level. Eh. Just etch his name as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards.
After getting selected 27th overall, his lasting imprint on the Atlanta Falcons franchise was enough to place him this high as one of the most prolific first rounders in Falcons history. So here is the #3 selection on the countdown of the top 10 first rounders in Atlanta Falcons history:
3. WR Roddy White – 1st Round, 27th Overall, 2005 NFL Draft
Coming out of Alabama-Birmingham, White was taken without much fan fare and his first two seasons in the league didn’t really spark fireworks as well. To be fair, the wide receiver position is easily one of the toughest positions to learn outside of quarterback. White showed promise the first two seasons but it wasn’t enough for many. Then the 2007 season arrived and everything changed.
The Vick scandal and former head coach Bobby Petrino hitching town were large enough issues to cover up White’s impressive 2007 season. His first season as a full-time starter. With Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich as his passers, White totaled 83 catches, 1,202 yards and six touchdowns that season.
Again, outstanding of a season for White with the surrounding circumstances. The next season, White hauled in 88 receptions for 1, 382 yards with seven touchdowns, under the inaugural season of the Matt Ryan era.
The 2008 season was the first of four straight Pro Bowl selections. In 2009, Roddy hit a career-high in touchdown receptions with 11 while he also caught 85 catches for 1,153 yards. The elite wide receiver took an even bigger step in 2010 as he caught a career-high in receptions with115 which totaled 1, 389 yards and 10 scores. That season stood out a little more than the rest based on his selection as first team All-Pro.
The selection of Julio Jones in the 2011 NFL Draft gave Roddy an elite sidekick but the veteran wide out posted another 100 catches for 1,296 yards, eight touchdowns and another Pro Bowl season.
White only totaled another 1,000 yard season in 2012, which so happened to be his last and came close once again in 2014 with 921 yards and 80 receptions for seven touchdowns.
This past offseason, White was released after 11 seasons of work in the NFL as an Atlanta Falcon. At times during his career, he was an athlete who inconsistently displayed a filter in the media. Despite that, Roddy is very well one of the most beloved Falcons to ever wear the uniform. White is the Falcons all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns and will always be one of the most appreciated players in Falcons history.