From 2010 to 2019, the Falcons offense has been a consistently good and sometimes great unit. They’ve had remarkable stability at several key positions and some remarkable instability at others. Let’s take a look at the guys who rank as the best at each position over the last 10 seasons for Atlanta.
Quarterback: Matt Ryan
About as easy a selection as there is, unless you’re convinced that Matt Schaub never quite got the opportunity he deserved. Over the last 10 seasons Ryan has broken nearly every Falcons franchise record, turned in an MVP season in 2016 and has moved into the top-10 in several all-time NFL records. At his current pace, he will likely retire in the top-5 of several categories and should get strong consideration for the Hall of Fame one day.
Wide Receivers: Julio Jones, Roddy White
Matt Ryan’s success has been bolstered by having some exceptional receiving talent around him. For the first several years of his career, no one had better chemistry with Ryan than Roddy White. He was a regular 1000 yard receiver and one of the most competitive players to ever wear the red and black. He went to 4 Pro-Bowls with Atlanta and was an All-Pro in 2010.
Julio Jones may retire as one of the greatest receivers to ever play. He holds the all-time record for most average yards per game and passed Jerry Rice for the fewest games to get to 12,000 yards. With 7 Pro-Bowls and 4 All-Pro recognitions, the league has constantly recognized him as one of the best.
Tight End: Tony Gonzalez
While Austin Hooper has developed nicely over the past several seasons, it’s going to be hard to supplant a first-ballot Hall of Famer widely considered to be one of the greatest to ever play the position. Tony G was a model of consistency and reliability in his time in Atlanta and the trust Matt Ryan had in him may never be replicated. His ability to catch anything and everything that came near him was a sight to behold.
Running Back: Michael Turner
While Devonta Freeman had two very strong season (2015, 2016), it was Michael Turner who powered this offense from 2010 to 2012. One of the best free-agent signings in Atlanta history, Turner went to 2 Pro-Bowls and also had 2 All-Pro nominations in his time with the Falcons.
Fullback: Patrick DiMarco
Ovie Mughelli deserves a nod here as well, but DiMarco had more time with the team in the past decade and he turned in an exceptional run with the team in 2015 and 2016. He was a well-rounded player who could block, catch and was an exceptional special-teams player as well.
Left tackle: Jake Matthews
Considering some of the guys who have played at left tackle over the last decade (Sam Baker, Lamar Holmes), fans should be incredibly grateful that this guy is anchoring the blind side for Matt Ryan. He has improved every year he’s been in the league and is easily one of the 10 best left tackles in the NFL today.
Left guard: Justin Blalock
It’s easy to forget that for a long stretch, Justin Blalock was one of our best interior offensive linemen. He was not a flashy or overpowering player, but he was steady and reliable presence who didn’t make a lot of mistakes.
Center: Alex Mack
While Todd McClure had some very good years with Atlanta from 2010 to 2012, Mack has been an All-Pro at the position from 2016 to 2018 and has easily been one of the best centers in the league over the last decade. He came in and helped stabilize an offensive line that was rotating through guys like Mike Person and James Stone at center. Along with Turner, he has to be considered one of the best free agent signings the team has ever made.
Right guard: Chris Chester
I wanted to go with Harvey Dahl, but his only season with the team this decade was in 2010. Instead, we’ll go with the veteran who played solidly at the position during one of the best offensive stretches for the team.
Right tackle: Ryan Schraeder
Tyson Clabo deserves recognition for being a solid starter at the position at the beginning of the decade, but Schraeder turned in a few more solid seasons. He was a solid pass blocker and was nasty in the running game. At his peak, Schraeder was ranked as one of the best right tackles in the league by PFF and was a steady presence on that side of the line for several years.
What are your thoughts on our selections for the Falcons All-decade team for the offense?