Atlanta Falcons: Devonta Freeman rises in Top 100 to Number 41
Devonta Freeman is the first Atlanta Falcon to make the NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2017” list. He was a key figure in Atlanta’s success this season.
It’s been a long wait, but the Atlanta Falcons finally have their first representative on this year’s edition of the NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players” list. Running back Devonta Freeman checks in at number 41.
Freeman makes his second ever appearance on the list, both coming in the past two consecutive years. In last year’s edition, he was voted the 50th best player in the NFL.
The Florida State alum was a key member of Atlanta’s success in 2016, totaling 1,541 yards from scrimmage (1,079 rushing, 462 receiving) and 13 total touchdowns this season (11 rushing, 2 receiving). Considering the fact that he split touches with Tevin Coleman, these stats become even more impressive.
Freeman is the only player in the NFL to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.
While his raw stats took a small hit because of Tevin Coleman’s presence (yards from scrimmage were down from 1,634 in 2015, total touchdowns was down from 14 in 2015), Devonta Freeman was much more efficient. His yards per carry increased a good deal from 4.0 to 4.8, and his catch percentage increased from 75.3 to 83.1. He also had just one fumble in 2016 compared to three in 2015.
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Freeman had 330 yards from scrimmage in Atlanta’s three playoff games, and three total touchdowns.
The players who presented the Atlanta running in this year’s list were Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay linebackerss LaVonte David and Kwon Alexander, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Calais Campbell, and teammate Vic Beasley.
The play Beasley highlighted in Freeman’s season was his 75-yard touchdown run in the week 17 win against the New Orleans Saints, which really showcased the fourth year man’s breakaway speed.
Next: Robert Alford: Improvement in 2017?
Among players already revealed on the list, Freeman is the fourth running back out of 60 top 100 players so far — joining Adrian Peterson (98), LeGarrette Blount (80) and Jay Ajayi (69). He is also, of course, the first Falcon to make an appearance. Center Alex Mack, linebacker Vic Bealsey, wie receiver Julio Jones, and MVP quarterback Matt Ryan are the other Falcons expected to make an appearance on the list, within the top 40.