It’s the offseason, and fun thought exercises are a part of what we do to stave off creeping existential dread. Fun!
Before you say it, yes, I know that so many things could happen over the next five seasons that even trying to do this is foolhardy. Have some fun for once, you sticks in the mud. Let’s see what the record books will look like in 2021, and let us know if you agree or disagree with these predictions.
Every Single Passing Record - Matt Ryan
I mean, duh.
Rushing Attempts - Gerald Riggs
Here’s a fun thought: Freeman could own both the franchise rushing yardage and touchdowns records by the time our five year span is up, but he probably won’t be close to catching Riggs in terms of carries. The workhorse back has 1,587 in his career, while Freeman has just 557 and currently splits carries with a dynamic talent in Tevin Coleman. It could happen—the numbers work if Freeman gets over 200 carries per season—but I’m not currently expecting it to.
Rushing Yardage - Devonta Freeman
I’m taking the Falcons at their word here and assuming that Devonta Freeman will get a nice extension. If he does, and plays at least four more seasons in Atlanta, I expect he’ll wind up surpassing Michael Turner by that fourth year.
This is a little dicey because it assume that Freeman stays, that he enjoys good health, and he puts up around 1,100 yards per season on the ground. None of those things are guaranteed.
Rushing Touchdowns - Michael Turner
Freeman’s been scoring touchdowns at a nice clip and would seem to be on pace to blow by Turner at some point in the next five seasons, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say his touchdown numbers are more likely to dip than his receiving numbers, especially if the Falcons acquire a classic big back at some point in the next few seasons.
Receptions - Julio Jones
He’s currently third on the team’s receptions list, but assuming he reels in 100-plus per year, he’ll be by Roddy by 2020.
Receiving Yards - Julio Jones
Right now, Julio is about 3,200 yards behind Roddy White, who finished his storied Falcons career with 10,863 yards. At his current pace, Julio should break this record in the first month of the 2019 season. He only needs to stay reasonably healthy to be holding this by the time 2021 rolls around, incredibly.
Receiving Touchdowns - Julio Jones
This is sort of the opposite situation with Freeman. Julio has always scored an unusually low number of touchdowns for an elite receiver because of the way teams sell out to stop him and because the Falcons are happy to look for other targets. I think Julio’s got at least one double digit touchdown season in him over the next five seasons, which would basically get him halfway there considering he’s currently only 23 behind Roddy.
Sacks - Vic Beasley
What would it take for Beasley to reach this over the next five seasons? He currently has 19.5 career sacks, so he would need to average roughly 10 per year over the next five to jump past John Abraham, who piled up 68.5 during his time as a Falcon. I think it’ll be close—Beasley’s not going to put up 16 sacks per year, as much as I love him—but I think he can get there if he can just stay healthy and if the Falcons get him a little more help.
Interceptions - Rolland Lawrence
I include this one because it would take a hilarious, gargantuan effort for anyone to surpass Lawrence. One of the best cornerbacks in team history, he played in 118 games for Atlanta and amassed 39 interceptions. Noted interception artist Robert Alford has played in 57 games, or a little less than half that total, and has put up... 9 interceptions. If Alford can suddenly get his average up to six per year, he’ll be able to tie Lawrence, but let’s be honest and say that’s not going to happen.
Every Scoring/Kicking Record - Matt Bryant
Games Played - Mike Kenn
The ironman and should-be Hall of Famer played 251 games as a Falcon, while the closest active player (Jonathan Babineaux) has played in just 185. Matt Ryan should be only the fourth Falcon to break past the 200 game plateau in the next five seasons, but he’s only going to have the opportunity to play in 80 regular season games and has currently played only 142, so forget that noise.