When Matt Ryan joined the Falcons in 2008, he saved the franchise from a sports blackhole.
The Atlanta Falcons selected Matt Ryan with the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. While there are people who aren’t satisfied with the level that Ryan has been playing (this writer doesn’t know why), Ryan was the best and safest pick in the draft that year.
The Atlanta Falcons needed a franchise quarterback and they got one. Had they selected anyone else in 2008, the Falcons wouldn’t have enjoyed the success they have over the last 12 seasons.
The Falcons weren’t going to reach and draft Joe Flacco and if they would have, the team wouldn’t have reached the pinnacles they have under Ryan.
Sure, Flacco won a Super Bowl because he went on a crazy hot streak in the playoffs but the Ravens defense led by two Hall of Famers propelled them into the playoffs in the first place.
Darren McFadden, Glenn Dorsey, Vernon Gholston, Sedrick Ellis, Derrick Harvey and Keith Rivers were the six picks taken immediately after Matt Ryan was selected by Atlanta. Had the Falcons selected one of those guys instead of Ryan, they would have been at the top of the draft the following year.
Matt Ryan was the best quarterback drafted between 2008 and 2011.
After the Micheal Vick debacle, the Falcons had to have a quarterback to lead the franchise. From Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck were all taken between 2008 and 2012, Matt Ryan has been better and lasted longer than all of them. It was not until Russell Wilson was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft that a quarterback is even comparable.
We could sit here and play the ”what if” draft game all day and under no circumstances could the Falcons been able to put together a team like this, lead by a quarterback like Ryan.
All the naysayers who don’t have faith in Ryan as a quarterback should be thankful he’s in Atlanta unless you enjoyed the dark times with Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich as our starting quarterback.