Four of the Falcons are in the Pro Bowl, even if they needed some dropouts to get there, and all four figure to be great players for Atlanta again in 2016. Just how good will they be?
David Schiele at Pro Football Spot ran down some of the Falcons players who might make the Pro Bowl next year, which is a worthwhile read, and it will whet your whistle for the discussion ahead. Here's my best guess at the production each of these players can expect next year.
He put up 136 receptions, 1,871 yards, and eight touchdowns in 2015, numbers he may never equal again. If the Falcons add talent at receiver and/or tight end, and if the passing game in general takes a step forward, Jones shouldn't be the complete focal point he was last year. Will he be good for 100+ receptions, 1,500 yards, and a bunch of touchdowns?
Yes. Yes he will.
Freeman had one of the hottest stretches in the NFL early in the year before things tapered off late, so it's tough to get a feeling for just how well he'll perform in 2016. My guess is that he'll continue to be a major part of the passing game, he'll cede some carries to Tevin Coleman, and on balance he'll be tremendous. Put him down for 800 yards , 4.2 yards per carry, and double digit scores, plus 500 yards through the air.
A handful of carries, a dozen receptions, and some bone-jarring blocks. That's what DiMarco delivered this past season, and that's what he should deliver again.
Trufant is one of the league's best cornerbacks, and it's fair to say he didn't have his best season in 2015. If the Falcons' defense improves as I hope it will, Trufant should be a Pro Bowl caliber player again.
Maybe I'm a ridiculous optimist, but I see all of these players being capable of making it back to the Pro Bowl next year. Given what a popularity contest and crapshoot that game is, whether they get there matters less than whether they play like they deserve to.