In the recently released Pro Football Focus Top 101 Players list, the Atlanta Falcons had five players claim spots on the list.
Pro Football Focus is an analytic group that analyzes each player in the NFL, releasing player game grades, rankings, in-depth analysis and other fountains of information.
Recently, PFF released their list of the Top 101 players from the 2017 NFL season.
Among the 101 players were five Atlanta Falcons, including two players under the age of 25. Atlanta tied for the third-most selections, trailing Philadelphia with seven and Kansas City with six.
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84. Grady Jarrett
Jarrett earned a career-best 87.1 PFF grade, ranking 14th among defensive interior players. Jarrett’s 16 run tackles for loss or no gain helped earn him the high grade. Also, his ability to rush the passer showed throughout the year. He totalled a career-best four sacks and also had 39 quarterback pressures.
58. Matt Ryan
Coming off a MVP campaign and one of the best passing seasons ever, the bar was set very high for Ryan. Although he couldn’t duplicate his success from 2016, Ryan still posted the second-highest PFF quarterback rating (88.6), earning his sixth selection to the PFF Top 101.
Ryan did, however, throw 12 picks despite a league-low turnover-worthy throw percentage (0.9%). Ryan had several unlucky tips and dropped balls that led to picks throughout the year. If his luck changes for the better this year, he should return to single-digit turnovers and climb even higher on this list with a strong 2018 season.
49. Alex Mack
The anchor of the Falcons’ offensive line checks in at 49th on PFF’s list, marking his third career selection. Since his arrival in 2016, Mack has turned the center position, which had been one of the roster’s worst spots, into one of Atlanta’s strengths.
Mack earned a 88.9 PFF rating, the third-best center rating in the NFL. Mack was tasked with facing the tough defensive tackles of the NFC South, such as Kawann Short, Gerald McCoy, Sheldon Rankins. He held his own, as the Falcons offensive line allowed just 24 sacks all year. Mack is an elite center that will hopefully continue his high play for the foreseeable future.
35. Deion Jones
The second year linebacker out of LSU has proved to be one of the NFL’s best emerging young stars. Jones racked up the fourth-most tackles in the league (138), helping him earn a PFF grade of 89.6. His speed and athleticism sets him apart from most linebackers, allowing him to stay in coverage with running backs. Jones’ athleticism also helps him create turnovers, as he has six interceptions and two pick-sixes already.
Jones will be a staple for the Atlanta defense for years to come. Expect him to make plenty of appearances on this list.
15. Julio Jones
Fan-favorite Julio Jones found himself as the highest ranked Falcon on PFF’s list, ranking 15th overall and the third-highest receiver behind Antonio Brown and Michael Thomas. A lack of touchdowns prevented Julio from being higher on the list, as Jones had just three all season, the fewest since his injury-shortened season in 2013.
Jones did, however, catch at least 80 balls and 1,400 for the fourth consecutive season, the only receiver who has done so over the past four years.
Having five players selected to this list is respectable, but a few Falcons seemed snubbed. Keanu Neal is arguably the best Falcon not on the list, along with the likes of Desmond Trufant, Adrian Clayborn and others
What do you guys think? Should any of the five Falcons selected have been ranked higher or lower? Who was snubbed from the list? Let us know in the comments below.