As we hit the home stretch of our uniform history series, we hit on the number of one of the best Falcons offensive lineman to have played. Sure, there have been others that have worn the number 79 over the years - guys like Carlton Dabney and Barry Stokes - but they are mere footnotes compared to the top guy on this list. Before we get to Bill, let's take a quick look at a couple of other notable names who have worn 79.
From 1972 to 1975, Walker donned the 79 for the Falcons as a defensive tackle. He would play for four years in Atlanta, starting in 7 total games. He came to the birds at the tail end of his career and was really more of a journeyman in his time in the league.
Between 1976 and 1984, Yeates - a DE/DT taken in the 4th round of the 1973 draft by Buffalo - would wear the number for the Falcons on his way to a 9 year run with the team in which he started 83 games. While his 7 career sacks are nothing to write home about, he managed to sustain a long career in the NFL, if not a necessarily notable one.
From 1985 to 1992, Fralic was one of the best offensive lineman in football. The offensive guard was drafted 2nd overall in the first round of the 1985 draft by the Falcons and became an immediate starter as a rookie. Over the next 8 years, he would start in 115 games and would build the reputation of being an absolute mauler as a run blocker.
In his time with the Falcons, he would make four straight Pro Bowls (1986-1989), be named first team All Pro in 86 and 87, 2nd team All Pro in 1988 and was named to the NFL 1980s All Decade Team by the voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's somewhat of a surprise that the other 3 OGs in that All Decade team are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and yet Fralic isn't.
Bill Fralic is clearly the greatest Falcon to wear the #79. What are your thoughts on the classic mauler?