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How many Falcons franchise greats are currently on the team?

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A lot, which is great news for this team.

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons are in the midst of one of the great epochs in franchise history. They’ve been to two NFC Conference Championships and a Super Bowl in the last five seasons, and while there was a three year playoff drought between those two, this team is absurdly talented and looking to take another step forward in 2017. The sky’s the limit, truly.

A lot of that is being keyed by the great players the Falcons currently have, at least some of whom are one day going to be considered and honored as Falcons legends in the same way Michael Vick and Roddy White recently were. Who are those players today?

A handful of these are obvious. Matt Ryan is the best quarterback in franchise history by a wide margin that continues to grow the longer he plays. Julio Jones is one of the best receivers ever if he keeps this pace going for a few more seasons. And Vic Beasley isn’t going to have to play in Atlanta very long before he looks like one of the best pass rushers in team history, as low of a bar as it is.

I’d throw the following names in the hat. Buckle up, it’s a fairly long list.

  • Matt Ryan
  • Devonta Freeman
  • Julio Jones
  • Vic Beasley
  • Grady Jarrett
  • Deion Jones
  • Desmond Trufant
  • Robert Alford
  • Keanu Neal
  • Matt Bryant
  • Matt Bosher

There’s an awful lot of projection involved with some of the younger players here, and I’m sure many of you will quibble with the idea that Alford should be considered a franchise great, but if he plays out his contract in Atlanta, chances are he’ll be recognized as one of the better cornerbacks in team history. Bryant is a slam dunk answer here, and Bosher is a legend in his own right.

That list makes clear just how many terrific players the Falcons have right now, and considering their past, all of them should be considered real contenders for true greatness if they haven’t already reached that point. You have to feel good about that.