Despite the frustrating 2015 season, the Falcons did have some bright spots, including having several players represent the team in the 2015 Pro-Bowl. Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, Patrick DiMarco and Desmond Trufant all participated, with it being the first nomination for Freeman, DiMarco and Trufant. For this upcoming season, who has the potential - if we're being realistic - to make the Pro-Bowl in 2016?
Considering he was first-team All-Pro in 2015, and arguably the best receiver in the league, it's more than reasonable to think Julio can get yet another nomination for the Pro-Bowl. If he stays healthy and even remotely performs the way he has the last couple of seasons, he'll be a virtual lock to make the Pro-Bowl again.
Freeman will have some stiff competition entering the year, but his versatility not only as a runner, but as a good receiver, could give him the raw numbers from scrimmage that will put him in the conversation again. There may be a drop-off from his 2015 season with Tevin Coleman pushing for more snaps, but Freeman is a feisty competitor who has already gotten to the Pro-Bowl once, and will likely want to do so again.
One of the more surprising players to emerge for the Falcons last year, DiMarco seemed like a perfect fit for what the Falcons wanted to do. He is a very good blocking back who was often able to spring our RBs free for larger gains on the second level. Given the lack of quality fullbacks in the league, DiMarco doesn't have a ton of competition. If he can repeat his 2015 performance, he's got a good shot of going back for the second straight year.
The newest Falcon to this list is no stranger to the Pro-Bowl, seeing as he's been 3 times since 2010, including in 2015. Mack has a great reputation around the league, getting noticed even though he had spent his time on a team lacking in star power. The hope is that he can shine bright again in the wide-zone blocking scheme that Kyle Shanahan runs, and if so, he could easily be in the running for his fourth Pro-Bowl nomination.
Matt Ryan has been to 3 Pro-Bowls in his 8 seasons in the league, so it's not unreasonable to think he can get in. However, Ryan had a down year in 2015 and will need to have a substantial bounce-back to get the attention of voters yet again. Ryan Schraeder is arguably one of the better right tackles in the league, but he's still relatively unknown outside of Atlanta. It is also notoriously hard for right tackles to make the squad, but he's a quality player that deserves consideration. Finally, Jake Matthews has the potential, but may still be another year or two away before he can climb into the conversation as one of the top left tackles in the league - and that's only if he can continue to improve like he did between years one and two.
What do you think of these players? Did I miss any names or include too many?