Alex Mack is entering year four with the Falcons and has already climbed up to No. 2 on this all-time list. He might play the unglamorous position of center, but don’t even think for a second that his free agent signing wasn’t worth every penny. Atlanta was able to sign a perennial Pro Bowler to solidify its awful offensive interior.
Mack was originally a first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns out of Cal in the 2009 NFL Draft. he was a three-time Pro Bowler in Cleveland and made his first All-Pro Second-Team in 2013. However, the losing was getting old and Mack was eventually going to have to leave Northeast Ohio if he ever wanted to sniff the NFL playoffs.
Atlanta signed him to a five-year deal worth $45 million heading into the 2016 NFL season. Mack had worked with former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan while in. Cleveland. So he had a great knowledge of the zone blocking scheme he would run under head coach Dan Quinn in Atlanta.
In his first year with the Falcons, Atlanta won the NFC South and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Mack made it on the Pro Bowl roster for the fourth time, as well as earned a spot on the All-Pro Second Team for the second time. Atlanta would collapse in the second half versus the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, but Mack wasn’t going to let a slip in his production happened in 2017.
He earned a fifth Pro Bowl nod and a third All-Pro Second-Team honor in 2017, as Atlanta got back into the NFC playoffs as a Wild Card team. They beat Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams on the road in the NFC Wild Card round before falling on the last play on the road versus the eventual Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles the following week.
Though Atlanta went 7-9 in 2018, Mack earned his sixth Pro Bowl nod, possibly forcing his way into serious Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration. Mack has never missed a start for the Falcons in three years.
This includes the Super Bowl, where he played on a broken leg like Terrell Owens and Jack Youngblood did before him. All three outstanding players didn’t get to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in those seasons. That being said, Owens and Youngblood have busts in Canton. Maybe Mack joins them one day?
Overall, Mack has been one of the best free agent acquisitions league-wide in the last five years. Atlanta had an absolutely miserable time replacing Todd McClure after the 2012 NFL season. For three years from 2013 to 2015, Atlanta was absolutely rancid at center.
Mack not only dissipated the stench, but improved the level of play of his Falcons teammates around him. At 33 years old, Mack is on the precipice of becoming a Hall of Fame player. Does he have enough time to get it done? A few more Pro Bowls and another deep playoff run could tip the scales in his favor.