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Falcons Uniform History: #97 is ferocious pass rusher Patrick Kerney

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Oh, how different the Falcons' defense the past two seasons would've looked if it had a pass rusher the caliber of Patrick Kerney.

Atlanta selected Kerney out of Virginia 30th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft, and it didn't take long for the defensive end to live up to his first round status.

In his third year in the league, Kerney posted a career-high and team-leading 12 sacks. The following year in 2002, he led the Falcons in sacks again with 10.5

Two seasons later, the defensive end set a new career-high in sacks with 13, earning himself his first Pro Bowl berth and second-team All-Pro honors.

Other players to don the #97 jersey for Atlanta were transient. Linebacker Cornelius Bennett — a great player who spent most of his career with the Buffalo Bills — spent three seasons on the back of his career with the Falcons. Defensive lineman Jumpy Geathers was also with Atlanta for three years at the end of his career.

Trey Lewis' career was marred by injuries and he only appeared in 18 games in five seasons. James Anderson and Carlton Powell both spent minimal time with the team.