Stop me if you've heard this one before: Someone put together a list of the top 100 players in the NFL, and three Falcons made the list.
CBS Sports analyst Pete Prisco is the latest to craft a list, and I mention it because it's pretty emblematic of these kinds of lists, as well as where the Falcons' players tend to be listed. Here's each brief write-up.
18. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: He bounced back from an injury in 2013 to have an impressive season. He caught 104 passes for 1,593 yards and a 15.3 average. His touchdown number was low at six, but the troubles on the line didn't help there.
48. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: Playing behind a bad line, on a bad team, he threw for 4,694 yards and 28 touchdown passes. There were times he took a physical pounding and just kept on making throws, showing off his toughness.
63. Desmond Trufant, CB, Atlanta Falcons: It's too bad he played on an awful defense last season because he played well. He is the best defender on that bad unit. He needs some pass-rush help up front to really take the next step.
No surprises here, eh?
Every top 100 list of NFL players seems to include Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Desmond Trufant, and that seems right. Those are easily the three best players on the team as of right now, they stand tall among their peers and Jones and Trufant may not have even reached their true peaks just yet. I'm hoping Jake Matthews, Ra'Shede Hageman and Vic Beasley will join them soon, of course, but I'm not going to get ahead of myself.
The good news is that the Falcons have one of the more dynamic quarterback-wide receiver duos in the NFL, and one of the best young cornerbacks in the game. That's not going to get you to where you need to be, but if they build this thing intelligently, it's a nice little start. From a recognition perspective, it's the best this team is going to do until they start winning games in 2015, preferably in bunches.