Falcons greatest draft of all time

I came across this today, I figured I'd share with the class...

No. 21: Falcons' best draft class

Favre is bittersweet top pick for Falcons

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ESPN Stats and Information has ranked all NFL players drafted in the modern draft (1967-2008) based on their performance during their NFL careers, regardless of how they fared with the team that drafted them. Insider will count down each team's best draft class (seeded 1-32), then conduct a tournament to determine the best class of all time.



For a short explanation of the ranking system, click here, or, for a more detailed rundown of how the system was developed, click here.







Reviewing the Atlanta Falcons' drafts is difficult. On one hand, they drafted two of the NFL's greatest players according to ESPN Stats and Information's ranking system. On the other, those two players didn't stick around for their whole careers, and their other drafts don't stand out as much. Drafting one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, then trading him, puts the Falcons in an elite (or not-so-elite) class, depending on how one looks at it.



QB Brett Favre (Round 2, 33rd overall, Southern Mississippi): The third player taken by the Falcons in the 1991 draft, Favre threw four passes in his rookie season and never challenged QB Chris Miller. Favre was in then-coach Jerry Glanville's doghouse, apparently due to Favre's "libertine life pattern," as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Glanville reportedly once said on the sideline that there would have to be a plane crash for him to put Favre into the game. Favre was traded for a first-round pick in 1992. Said Falcons vice president Ken Herock at the time: "We traded a good prospect, but a player who might not have played for us several years, for what could turn into a guy who helps us right away."



Many Packers fans groaned at the trade. But Favre went on to become a three-time MVP, 10-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game. In return for Favre, the Falcons eventually drafted RB Tony Smith, who played just three seasons in the NFL.



Atlanta Falcons 1991 Draft Class

Players who scored on our ranking system are marked in bold.

Round Overall Position Player College
1 3 DB Bruce Pickens Nebraska
1 13 WR Mike Pritchard Colorado
2 33 QB Brett Favre Southern Mississippi
4 87 DL Moe Gardner Illinois
5 114 LB James Goode Oklahoma
6 145 RB Erric Pegram North Texas
7 172 DB Brian Mitchell BYU
7 186 OL Mark Tucker USC
8 199 TE Randy Austin UCLA
9 226 DL Ernie Logan East Carolina
10 256 WR Walter Sutton S.W. Minnesota
10 258 OL Pete Lucas Wisc.-Stevens Point
11 283 DL Joe Sims Nebraska
112 310 RB Bob Christian Northwestern





Category No.
Hall of Famers drafted 0
MVPs 3
Off. players of the year 1
Def. players of the year 1
All-Pro first team 21
All-Pro second team 32
Pro Bowl selections 98
Off. rookies of the year 1
Def. rookies of the year 3

1989: "Prime Time" hits Atlanta. Defensive back Deion Sanders was a 10-time All-Pro (six first-team and four second-team selections) and defensive player of the year in 1994. He excelled as a returner as well. Sanders was known as one of the greatest defensive backs to go the other way with the football. After five seasons with the Falcons, he parted ways with the team and signed a one-year contract with the 49ers in Sept. 1994. Sanders helped the 49ers win their fifth Super Bowl title. The Cowboys signed Sanders to a long-term deal in 1995. Sanders helped lead the Cowboys to their third Super Bowl title in four seasons. His 1,331 career return yards are the second most in NFL history, as are his nine touchdown returns. His average of 25.1 yards per interception return is an NFL record.



Best picks: Brett Favre (1991) was simply a three-time MVP and Super Bowl champion. Deion Sanders (1989) was an eight-time Pro Bowler, defensive POY and two-time Super Bowl champion. Claude Humphrey (1968) was named defensive ROY and went to six Pro Bowls in 11 seasons with Falcons. George Kunz (1969) was a premier OL who went to eight Pro Bowls and was named to the All-Pro first team once and second team three times.





Rank Player Position Draft Year Points
1. Brett Favre QB 1991 75
2. Deion Sanders CB 1989 64
3. Claude Humphrey DL 1968 32
4. George Kunz OL 1969 29
5. Mike Kenn OL 1978 27
6. Bill Fralic OL 1985 19
7. Keith Brooking LB 1998 17
8. Jeff Van Note LB 1969 16
9t. Lincoln Kennedy OL 1993 14
9t. William Andrews RB 1979 14


Note on Rankings

We ranked players based on the following criteria: Hall of Fame induction, MVP awards, All-Pro first-team selections, All-Pro second-team selections, Pro Bowls, offensive and defensive player of the year and rookie of the year awards, and membership on a Super Bowl-winning or -losing team. A player scores on our ranking system when he earns at least one of those honors. For a deeper explanation, click here.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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