No matter how cynical we may be about the NFL media and their relationship with the Atlanta Falcons, we like to feel the team is being appreciated. That's why this article put a spring in my step yesterday.
Essentially, NFL.com took a look at the last decade of draft classes and chose the five best. They settled on the Atlanta Falcons as #5, and here's part of the write-up.
Of course, securing a franchise quarterback will boost the profile of any draft class, and that's what happened for Atlanta. Ryan helped stabilize the game's most important position following the suspension of the team's former starting quarterback, Michael Vick. From 2008 through 2012, theFalcons reached the playoffs four times and won their division title three times. That is an unprecedented run of success for a franchise such as the Falcons.
Before injuries derailed his career, Baker -- who was released by the team on Monday -- was a regular starter on the offensive line. Douglas posted a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2013. Lofton, who signed with the Saints in 2012, has started every game in his seven-year career. DeCoud earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2012 after intercepting six passes. Biermann has 21 career sacks.
I'm not going to argue this chiefly because I like the praise, but he's got a point. You'll recall Allen Strk looked at the team's draft classes under Thomas Dimitroff and found 2008 to be the most robust one, and even though several of these players are no longer on the Falcons, it was still a remarkable haul for a team that needed a quick rebuild. Ryan remains one of the league's better cornerbacks, Biermann is hanging around and contributing and everyone else on the list above carved out a nice little NFL career. It was chiefly a transformative class thanks to Ryan, but this remains Dimitroff's most effective class.
We'll have to hope the 2014 and 2015 draft classes can deliver in the same fashion.