All this talk about the Atlanta Falcons and the draft is fun and all, but what about the players that are already on the roster. Couldn't they be the solution to some of the problems or maybe they could change the mentality?
Every team has its players that are easily recognized or known by the entire nation. In Atlanta they are Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, and John Abraham. These, of course, are all stars who deserve national attention, but what about the lesser known players.
Well, here are five Atlanta Falcon players who I believe will change the Atlanta Falcons and some even with the potential of becoming all stars themselves.
Jonathan Babineaux, Defensive Tackle:
Babineaux was one of the most important players on the Falcons defense last season and yet was almost never talked about. Babineaux although a smaller defensive tackle (6-2 284) was able to be quite effective last year with 16 starts, 39 tackles and three-and-a-half sacks.
Now these stats are not eye popping, but that is why he is not an all star. He, however, is quite consistent and vital to the defensive line rotation that the Falcons love to run.
You see the Falcons rotate defensive lineman on a case by case basis. The one thing that all of the line ups have in common is Babineaux.
Some of you will say that why do you think he will be an all star? He is 27 years old if he hasn't already become one the odds are against him.
Well no. This will be his fifth season in the league but only his second year as a full time starter.
I believe that Babineaux will be one of the best defensive tackles in the NFC next year. I could see him posting 40+ tackles and as many as 10 sacks next season. So watch out.
Chauncey Davis, Defensive End:
Davis is another defensive lineman that could help fix the Falcons pass rush. Davis, like Babineaux, is a very underrated player who serves a big role on the defense. Davis is a relatively big defensive end weighing in at 274 pounds and standing six foot two.
Davis has now been with the Falcons for four years. During those four year Davis did not miss one game and all though he only has started 19 he still made an impact.
I believe that the Falcons will start Davis this season over Jamaal Anderson. This is because even though Davis only started one game over the last two years he recorded a combined six sacks, while Anderson started 31 games with only two sacks.
If Davis gets the starting job this year I believe that three parties will benefit from it. First will be Davis himself who will get to reach his full potential after all he is only 26.
Second will be Anderson. With Anderson moving to the second unit the Falcons would be able to move him all over the field and see where he fits in.
Then, last but not least, the team itself would improve. The team could have the pass rush they want.
I could see Davis next season if he starts or not breaking double digit sacks. His techniques have been polished and well he is just getting ready to make a statement.
Michael Jenkins, Wide Receiver:
A young—Yes, still young. I know I was surprised to learn he's only 26—talented receiver who is blossoming before our eyes. Last season Jenkins put up career numbers for receiving yards with 777 yards. This was then 200 yards higher then his former career high.
Jenkins has showed flashes his whole career, but last season was different. He showed that he is a true NFL receiver.
Now don't get me wrong I am not saying Jenkins will be a number one at least not this season, but what I am saying is that Jenkins could be an extremely good number two.
The reason for him developing into a number two is as much his improvement as it is Roddy White developing into a Pro Bowler. Jenkins will see a lot more single coverages, because of all the attention that White requires.
Jenkins could easily break the 1,000 yard mark next year. Especially, because of the development of Matt Ryan.
Jerious Norwood, Running Back/Kick Returner:
Probably the most well known player on this list. Norwood has made a name for himself on the team and even the league as a big play maker.
Last season Norwood compiled 489 rushing yards, 338 receiving yards, and 1,311 kick return yards. Even though that was a career low in rushing yards it showed us that he has the ability to run between the tackles.
Now, that Mike Mularkey has had a year with the team he can formulate some new schemes for certain players. One of those players will be Norwood, so we can expect that not only will Norwood get back to his 07 rushing average (6.0) and truly start making plays.
Last season Michael Turner carried the ball 376 times which is way to many times for a running back. So we can all expect Norwood to get at least 60 or so of those carries which means there is a chance the Falcons could get two 1,000 yard backs.
Now I know that will not happen, but I do believe Norwood is about to have the best season of his career.
Chevis Jackson, Corner Back:
There have been a lot of arguments about the Falcon's corners lately, and well, I am getting a little sick of it.
I do not believe that they will take a corner and Jackson is one of the major reasons why.
Jackson last season showed flashes of becoming a true play maker in the secondary. With limited playing time he amassed 31 tackles and and interception that he returned 95 yards for a touchdown he also started one game, which just so happened to be their best defensive game all year (Oakland 24-0).
Jackson was basically trained to play in the NFL, after all he went to LSU. Next season I could see Jackson beating out Grimes for the second cornerback and even if he doesn't he will be able to dominate in the slot corner position. Three to five interceptions would not surprise me, neither would one or two more then that.
Those are the five Falcons that I believe will not only be better next season, but could be all stars in the future. I am sure you have picks for either you team or the Falcons and I would love to hear them.