breaking news

Amid frigid temps, Gov. Deal issues emergency declaration

Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

PFF ranks the Falcons' roster the NFL's second-worst


"I feel confident this is the man to lead the NFL's second-worst roster." (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

This time last year, Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus assessed the 32 NFL rosters and, in a post for ESPN Insider, ranked the Atlanta Falcons' assemblage of talent the league's 30th-best . (Or third-worst, depending on your perspective.)

That was then. Here's now: Same writer, same format and an even worse rating for the local franchise. The Falcons, per Monson of PFF via ESPN Insider, have the NFL's 31st-best/second-worst roster . And a Merry Christmas to us all.

According to Monson, the Falcons' top five players are Julio Jones, Desmond Trufant, Matt Ryan and -- believe it or not -- two offensive linemen, neither of whom is Jake Matthews, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft. (Monson identifies Jon Asamoah and Ryan Schraeder as Nos. 4 and 5 among Falcons.) But wait. It gets worse.

Matthews is listed -- alongside the likes of defensive end Tyson Jackson and fullback Patrick DeMarco -- as a Starter Who Should Be Upgraded. I understand that PFF can go only on its data, and in Matthews' case that data spans a rookie year in which he was hampered by a foot injury, but still: That seems a bit rough.

Enough quibbling. This roster ranking doesn't include rookies, so Vic Beasley doesn't figure, but the greater point remains: Even as the Falcons have two excellent players on offense and a rising star in Trufant, this would appear -- according to PFF, and not only according to PFF -- a roster that's thin in its midsection.

Writes Monson: "There's a worrying lack of quality elsewhere on the roster -- particularly on defense."

Which isn't to say that a rise from 6-10 to the top of the woeful NFC South can be dismissed out of hand. As noted, Football Outsiders -- another analytic web site -- projects the Falcons to go 10-6 . If Dan Quinn gets 10 wins out of the league's second-worst roster, should he not be coach of the year?


Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.