You could be forgiven for staring at the Falcons' all-time roster and thinking most of the best players are defensive backs. You could be forgiven primarily because that is accurate.
Such is the case with #37, which brings us an obvious #1 candidate in the form of yet another defensive back. His runner-up is a man who put together one hell of a career as a special teamer in Atlanta, paving the way for guys like Allen Rossum and Eric Weems. The winner is Kenny Johnson, who mixed pretty decent punt and kick return acumen with a strong run as one of the team's cornerbacks in the early-to-mid 80's.
For his six-and-a-half season run in Atlanta, Johnson picked 16 passes, forced seven fumbles, authored a couple of sacks and started sixteen games in all but one season. He also returned 37 punts for an average of about 10 yards per, plus another 31 kicks for a pretty mediocre average of 20 yards per. In short, Johnson did it all, and performed at a pretty high level throughout his time with the Falcons.
His runner-up was Elbert Shelley, who was listed as a defensive back but was in reality one of the team's core special teamers for a decade. He managed two sacks and one interception on defense during that span, but he was primarily known for his ability as a gunner, which earned him four Pro Bowl berths and three All-Pro selections. Shelley was a truly phenomenal player in his sphere, but given the relative impact of specials teams versus a man who started and played at a high level for the Falcons for six years on defense and chipped in on special teams, he doesn't quit win out at #37.
Your thoughts on #37?