Atlanta Falcons: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

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Ray Buchanan, Atlanta Falcons
Ray Buchanan, Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Erik Perel /Allsport /

44. . CB. (1997-03). Ray Buchanan. 9. player

Ray Buchanan was a former third-round pick out of Louisville by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1993 NFL Draft. He spent his first four seasons with the Colts before hitting free agency in 1997. Buchanan would go on to sign with the Falcons, where he would play both the longest stint of his career, as well as having his most successful one.

Buchanan was a fan favorite in Atlanta, as he always had a knack for getting his hands on the ball. He had 30 of his career 47 interceptions while with the Falcons, including seven in his Pro Bowl season with the team in 1998.

Playing alongside Eugene Robinson, Atlanta boasted one of the best secondaries in the NFL that season. Atlanta came out of nowhere and went 14-2 en route to its first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. However, The Dirty Birds came up short in the big game versus the Denver Broncos down in Miami.

Buchanan played with the Falcons through the awful 2003 NFL season. While it took a few years to get back to the NFC playoffs, Buchanan was there for the rise of the Michael Vick experience in 2002. While he was past his prime as a professional at that point, he still made 46 combined tackles, had 12 passes defended and picked off two interceptions that campaign.

After seven years with the Falcons, Buchanan would play his last NFL season as a member of the 2004 Oakland Raiders before retiring at the age of 33. He tried to move to free safety from cornerback, but wasn’t the same coverage player Atlanta grew to love over the late 1990s and early 2000s.

During his time in Atlanta, Buchanan had 411 combined tackles (370 solo, 41 assists), 77 passes defended, 30 interceptions, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and a quarterback sack in 107 career games with the team.

Although he may not have been the best cornerback during his prime, Buchanan was certainly solid during his seven years with the Falcons. They could always count on him to make a big play, as well as play with the swagger that helped cultivate The Dirty Birds.