What if the Atlanta Falcons didn’t draft Roddy White?

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons drafted record-setting wide receiver Roddy White out of UAB in 2005 with the 27th overall pick. But what would have happened had they gone another direction?

When the Atlanta Falcons chose to take Roddy White with the No. 27 pick out of UAB in 2005, the pick was met with some skepticism by fans and the media. After all, there were some bigger names the Falcons brass had overlooked. Who was this Roddy guy?

As it turned out for Atlanta, the pick ended up being one of the best in team history and one of the best in the NFL during the 2000s. White ended up becoming the franchise record holder for receiving yards, catches, and receiving touchdowns during his 11 years in Atlanta. The Falcons legend is being inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

But what if the Falcons hadn’t recognized some serious potential in White and took another look at their draft board? Who might they have picked? Here are a few recognizable names the Falcons left on the board to ponder.

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Heath Miller – Tight End, Virginia: Miller would have been a decent pick, perhaps, but the Falcons were in the midst of the Alge Crumpler years in 2005. Tight end wasn’t even a direction the team was looking. As it turned out, the Steelers No. 30 overall pick would go on to have a longer and more successful career than Crumpler, but at the time there was no immediate need there for Atlanta.

Logan Mankins – Guard, Fresno State: Who takes a guard out of Fresno State with the last pick of the first round? Bill Belichick, that’s who. Looking back, it would have been quite advantageous to have the brick wall known as Logan Mankins protecting Matt Ryan rather than Tom Brady. Atlanta missed out on this one, but so did a lot of other teams.

Reggie Brown – Wide Receiver, Georgia: Many fans felt when the Falcons picked Roddy White that they had once again overlooked the Georgia Bulldogs for a potentially great draft pick. Turns out the complainers were wrong (again). This one was better off left on the board. The Eagles No. 35 overall pick only lasted five seasons in Philadelphia, and had plenty of ups and downs.

Mark Bradley – Wide Receiver, Oklahoma: Bradley was another name many thought the Falcons made a mistake passing up in favor of Roddy White. During his senior year at Oklahoma, Bradley was a favorite big-play target for quarterback Jason White, averaging a gaudy 21.3 yards per reception. That number didn’t translate into NFL success, with him playing only five seasons with middling results as the 39th overall pick by Chicago.

J.J. Arrington – Running Back, California: This was a name that was floated around a lot by Falcons draft prognosticators prior to the pick. Arrington had a huge senior year at Cal, and a big upside showing as either a running back or slot receiver. Many felt he was the steal of the draft when Arizona nabbed him with the No. 44 pick. Turns out his 1,347 career all-purpose yards with the Cardinals were his version of highway robbery.

Related Story. Top 5 QB/WR Combos in Falcons History. light

So, looking back, Falcons legend Roddy White turned out to be probably the best option for the Falcons as their No. 27 overall pick. The rest of the picks (other than Jonathan Babineaux in the second round)…not so much.