NFL writer Danny Kelly over at The Ringer has thrown a pretty big honor in the direction of the Falcons receiving corps.
He calls it the best in the NFL, ahead of teams like Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Houston.
WR Julio Jones, WR Mohamed Sanu, WR Calvin Ridley, TE Austin Hooper, TE Logan Paulsen, WR Justin Hardy, WR Marvin Hall, TE Eric Saubert
Julio Jones anchors this group as an unguardable, unbelievably explosive downfield playmaker. His 411 catches and 6,317 receiving yards over the past four seasons trails only Brown, and while one knock on his game might be the relative lack of touchdowns—he’s scored 23 times in that stretch, which ranks 21st—few players come equipped with the combination of size, speed, hands, and body control that Jones possesses. The eighth-year pro caught 88 passes for 1,444 yards and three scores last year, and there’s no reason to believe his run of consistently dominant play is anywhere close to ending.
What separates Atlanta from the pack, though, is the depth of talent behind their superstar leader. Sanu (126 catches, 1,356 yards, and nine touchdowns the past two seasons) is a physical and versatile no. 2. Rookie first-rounder Ridley should utilize his strong route-running skills and knack for picking up chunks of yards after the catch as the team’s third option early on. At tight end, Hooper (49 catches, 526 yards, three touchdowns) is an ascending talent with breakout potential, and he’s bolstered at that spot by veteran Paulsen and rookie fifth-rounder Saubert. Add in fourth-year receiver Hardy and the speedy Hall, and the Falcons have the deepest, most complete pass-catching corps in the league.
Kelly knows his stuff, so it’s a bit exciting to see him throw this kind of love Atlanta’s way. We all know what Julio can do, but it’s the praise for the other guys that gets you giddy.
Indeed, Atlanta has incredible depth at the position at the moment, and with Saubert having a nice offseason, and Hall loaded with potential, there might be some startling depth at spots you wouldn’t normally expect to see any. Hey, rookie WR Russell Gage could factor in here, too, and Kelly didn’t even mention terrifying pass-catching RBs like Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The team has no shortage of options at the moment, which has to make Matt Ryan quite a happy camper.
We’ll see if OC Steve Sarkisian can get this group going in a big way in 2018.
The potential is clearly there for the seizing.