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 center Jeff Van Note.
As it turns out, all that really separated Mike Kenn and Jeff Van Note were draft position.
You can argue that Kenn was the superior player, an argument I wouldn't fight too hard against. But what you can't argue is that Van Note deserves to be recognized for an amazing career that saw him play 18 years with the Falcons, make the Pro Bowl five times and have his number retired by the Dirty Birds.
Unlike Kenn, Van Note didn't come to the NFL as a highly touted first round pick. He was drafted in the 11th round with the 262nd pick back in 1969, in those days when the draft stretched into eternity. Van Note played minor league football for one year before Norm Van Brocklin challenged him to stack furniture and move to center, which he did despite having little experience there. Such was the crazy power of Van Brocklin.
How good was Van Note in his new role? Good enough to be considered one of the greatest centers ever. Exceedingly durable compared to everyone except Mike Kenn, Van Note missed only four games in his long career, starting almost all of them past 1969. He had brilliant footwork and incredible toughness, and like Kenn, it's a crying shame he hasn't gotten a look by the Hall of Fame to this point.
If that doesn't impress you, consider that his middle name was Aloysius. I love it.
Couple his draft position with his play and you've got an NFL great, and someone who certainly deserves the third position on our august list. Give a round of applause to the great Van Note and hit the jump for our sponsored message.
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