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 first overall pick Tommy Nobis.
Think of the enormous pressure on the Atlanta Falcons of 1966. This was a team with the first overall pick, just striking out as a franchise, knowing that a whiff would be infamous forever. It's remarkable when a team manages to succeed when confronted with that kind of a conundrum.
Yet the Falcons did, and it was all because they were smart enough to draft Tommy Nobis.
One of the great college linebackers of all time, Nobis was 6'2", 240 pounds of raw pain. The quotes about Nobis are legendary in and of themselves, ranging from Larry Csonka's famous "I'd rather play against Dick Butkus than Nobis," to NORM VAN BROCKLIN'S proclamation while pointing to Nobis' locker that "there's where our football team dresses." He was a goliath in a time when the Falcons had little to celebrate.
Nobis made his mark immediately, piling up an insane 294 tackles as a rookie. Stats are spotty from this era, as I noted in the Claude Humphrey post, but Nobis was by any measure a great player. He was a huge tackler, a hard hitter and a great pass rusher in a time when not every linebacker possessed even one of those qualities.
Nobis has never stopped serving the Falcons—he's currently high up in the team's corporate development division—and his "Mr. Falcon" nickname is richly deserved. I told you it was a crying shame that guys like Mike Kenn, Jeff Van Note and Claude Humphrey didn't make the Hall of Fame. It's a downright travesty that Nobis hasn't. He's one of the best players of all-time, and had the Falcons managed to build a good team around him during those dark days, we wouldn't even have to argue his case.
So whether you're looking at him as a draft pick, through the lens of this list or as the greatest Falcon ever, it's clear that Tommy Nobis is #1.
Discuss and check out our sponsored post, after the jump.
Are You Smarter Than The Experts?
Correctly predict the first 32 picks of the 2011 NFL Draft and you’ll win $10,000,000!
BEST ROUND EVER IN PRIMETIME
Enter at facebook.com/BudLight
Here We Go
Enjoy Responsibly ©2011 Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Bud Light® Beer, St. Louis, MO. ©2011 NFL Properties LLC. All NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. No Purchase Necessary. Contest open to U.S. residents (except CA) 21+. Contest begins 12AM CDT on 4/1 and ends 5:59:59PM CDT on 4/28. See Official Rules for complete details. Void where prohibited.