Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel is a defensive coordinator’s worst nightmare. You’re probably familiar with the numbers, but let’s review: He racked up 579 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns in 2016. He led the NFL in yards after catch (8.1) in 2016. Franchise quarterback Matt Ryan’s 148.1 passer rating on throws to Gabriel in 2016 led the league. Stop drooling at your earliest convenience.
Gabriel’s body of work in 2016 earned him a second round tender. He signed that tender on April 22nd. I’m sure he wanted a multi-year deal and more money, because he’s earned it. But for a former undrafted free agent that somehow found himself in the Cleveland Browns scrap heap last off-season, it’s got to feel like redemption.
Did I mention that he’s fast? In fact, according to ESPN’s Matt Bowen, he’s one of the NFL’s fastest players.
9. Taylor Gabriel, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Track times: N/A | 40 time: 4.27
Gabriel has video game ability in space and the top-end speed to split the middle of the field wide open. Check out this touchdown versus the Cardinals on the quick screen pass (watch). He just bounces through the traffic, finds a crease and then hits the gas pedal. See ya. With Gabriel's combination of 4.2 speed, vision and the ability to slip tacklers in space, he's a quick-strike weapon for the Atlanta offense.
Bowen ranked Julio Jones 12th. Basically defensive backs forced to face the Falcons keep their retirement paperwork on hand, just in case.