In this series of sponsored posts, we'll be looking at the ten worst and ten best Atlanta Falcons draft picks of all time. Let's move on to the best. Today's choice is former running back Jamal Anderson.
You can make a reasonable argument that Jamal Anderson was not the running back that William Andrews was. I'll accept that. Either way, Anderson was still a damn good one, and the Falcons got him for what could be charitably described as a song.
Drafted with the ninth pick in the seventh round out of Utah, Anderson didn't immediately impress. The first two seasons he got very limited snaps, but he busted out in 1996 at age 24, putting up 1,055 yards, five touchdowns and a 4.5 yards per carry average on 232 carries.
The 410 carries he endured in the magical 1998 Super Bowl season—which resulted in a crazy 1,846 yards and 14 touchdowns—helped birth the legend of the curse of 400. A serious injury in 1999 cost him nearly the entire season, and he had one more good year in 2000 before hanging it up after the 2001 season. Had he stayed healthy, it's reasonable to argue that Anderson would've flirted with 10,000 yards for his career. Alas.
The workhorse back still came away with 5,336 yards and 34 touchdowns for his career, with an average of 4.0 yards per carry. He was also one of the few Falcons who didn't embarrass himself in the 1998 Super Bowl, piling up 96 yards. When you consider that he was a seventh round pick, he was one of the most tremendous draft day selections the Falcons have ever had. Which is sort of the point of this list, in case you had forgotten.
Oh, and he was one of the primary practitioners of the Dirty Bird. That's worth a few points.
Man, it's hard not to come away depressed by how many Falcons running back has their careers shortened by injuries, isn't it? Feel free to debate Anderson's #6 slot on this list, and check out our sponsored message after the jump.
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