The Falcons offense wasn’t exactly one to celebrate this year. In a vacuum their numbers were pretty respectable, especially through the air, but this offense is talented enough to be top five in the NFL across the board and simply were not.
Still, there were players who stood out as being particularly valuable to the offense, and some who essentially kept it afloat for weeks at a time. Here, our staff gives their Falcons Offensive Player of the Year picks. We’re eager to hear yours.
TE Austin Hooper
My overall MVP for the Falcons would be the best wide receiver in the NFL, Julio Jones. In this scenario, my offensive MVP is tight end Austin Hooper. Hooper’s best play this season came in the first 9 games prior to his MCL injury. Up to that point, he was statistically a top-3 tight end and became a trusted outlet for quarterback Matt Ryan. Also this season, Hooper recorded a touchdown in four consecutive games which tied Pro Football Hall of Fame and former Falcons’ great Tony Gonzalez for longest tight end touchdown streak in franchise history. Whether he comes back in 2020 or not, Hooper proved to be the best Falcons’ tight end since Gonzalez retired and a weapon for Matt Ryan. Also, he was selected as a NFC Pro Bowl alternate, which he’s very deserving of in my opinion. – Evan Birchfield
WR Julio Jones
Offensive MVP is tough after the Falcons had a down year in nearly every statistical category. Who wins when the offense never really gets going? Jake Matthews had a great year, short of a few disappointing games. Matt Ryan threw for fewer yards, completed a smaller percentage of his passes, had a smaller yards per attempt, more interceptions, and a smaller QBR and rating. Austin Hooper became one of the top tight ends in the league but he did miss multiple games. Julio Jones gets overlooked because he’s been one of the greatest in both Falcons and NFL history, and putting up nearly 1,400 receiving yards is just expected. I have to tip my cap again to Julio for being the league’s most versatile and dangerous wide receiver. - Matt Chambers
WR Julio Jones
The offense simply doesn’t run as well without Julio Jones, and with Austin Hooper and Calvin Ridley missing significant time and Mohamed Sanu headed to New England in a trade, Julio was more essential than ever. Even if his numbers aren’t quite as eye-popping as they have been in years past, Julio gutted out a shaky year under Dirk Koetter, some poor stretches by Matt Ryan, and the virtually non-existent threat of a ground game to still look like the offense’s very best player and set up a depressing number of Matt Bryant and Younghoe Koo field goals. He also led all position players on offense in snaps, something that hasn’t happened in a while.
Honorable mentions to Jake Matthews and Matt Ryan here. -Dave Choate
LT Jake Matthews
I wanted to go with Julio Jones or Matt Ryan, but the most consistent offensive player this year was the guy who guards the blindside. Undoubtedly, many fans will point to his one or two rough games this season as proof that he’s awful, but Jake was our best offensive lineman by a wide margin. Even with instability at the guard spot next to him, Jake regularly held his own against some notable pass rushers. Julio and Matt are certainly potential options here, but I’d argue Jake was the most consistent and reliable of this bunch in 2019. - David Walker
WR Julio Jones
I don’t think any player on this offense had a fully consistent season where they were dominant from beginning to end, Jones included (he went on a nine-game touchdown drought). However, Julio gets my vote here because of the way he stepped up down the stretch.
Even though he was still the focal point of the offense, Jones ceded more work than he usually does to emerging stars Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper. Just like the steady metronome that he is though, Number 11 stepped back into his workhorse role when Ridley and Hooper battled injuries, and after Mohamed Sanu got traded.
Julio went for 444 receiving yards in the last quarter of the season, leading the Falcons to a 4-0 record. He nearly single handedly beat the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15 with his two touchdown performance.
It’s a testament to how good Julio Jones is when a 1,394 receiving yard season such as this one is considered an off year, when it would be considered a career year for the vast majority of WRs in the NFL. - Adnan Ikic