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The best single seasons in Falcons history, defense edition

This would provide the core of an outstanding defense for Atlanta, we think.

Sporting News Archive Photo by Albert Dickson/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

The best single seasons per position in Falcons history were heavily skewed toward the present for the offense, which makes sense. Atlanta’s offense has consistently been pretty good to great over the last decade-plus, and Jamal Anderson’s memorable 1998 season at RB was as far back as voters were willing to go.

Defense is a bit of a different animal, though, as the Falcons haven’t had many good defense in the Mike Smith and Dan Quinn eras. Does that mean the results skew more toward the distant past?

A little bit, as we actually have one man on this list who played before the 1990s. See if you can guess who.

DE: 2008 John Abraham

Abe got an easy 70% of the vote for a season where he absolutely destroyed everyone, setting the franchise mark for sacks in the process. The runners-up were a stellar 1976 season by Claude Humphrey and Vic Beasley’s 2016, neither of which came close to what Abe managed in maybe the best season we’ll ever see from a Falcons end.

DT: 2019 Grady Jarrett

Recency bias? Yes. Deserved? Also yes. Jarrett is a phenomenal player and already one of the best defensive tackles in team history, and his 2019 was a great year in the midst of an awful first half and subsequent revival for Atlanta. He took home 44% of the vote because the great Rod Coleman’s 10.5 sack 2005 (26%) and Travis Hall’s 1997 (17%) are up there, if not at least superficially more impressive.

LB: 1967 Tommy Nobis

Multiple people wrote that Joel Williams should have been on the list for this position given his eye-popping 16 unofficial sacks, but I didn’t include him because as best I can determine, the eye-popping stats in a part-time role didn’t equal one of the best seasons ever. Flame me if you must.

Nobis (40%) edged out Tuggle (36%) for a season that looks cartoonishly great on on paper. Nobis vs. Tuggle is a great debate, but Mr. Falcon takes this round.

CB: 1991 Deion Sanders

I knew from the moment I wrote Sanders’ name down that he would be the pick, given his excellence that season and Atlanta’s collective, abiding love for him. But it was closer than anticipated, as his 39% of the vote wasn’t that far ahead of 2010 Brent Grimes (22%) or 1988 Scott Case (20%). The big takeaway here should be that the Falcons have had some great corners over the years, though none have been quite as great or as flashy as Primetime.

S: 2012 William Moore

This one was a tough one, as David Walker noted in his writeup. Scott Case’s 1988 wasn’t eligible because he was primarily a corner that year, and out of the candidates nominated, Willy Mo’s 2012 was probably the most logical choice. He pulled down 30% of the vote, followed by 2012 Thomas DeCoud (23%), 1981 Tom Pridemore (my choice, 16%), and other (at 13%). Moore’s career was ultimately derailed by injuries, like so many Falcons over the last couple of decades, but he was legitimately great at times.

What do you think of this list?