Five Falcons rated among top 99 in NFL

Writing at Fox, Peter Schrager ranked his top 99 players in the NFL on Thursday, a list that includes five Falcons and 42 players on teams who appear on the Falcons’ 2009 schedule.
Schrager said that in compiling his list he didn’t take a “fantasy football” approach, in other words it isn’t statistic-heavy, but instead asked three questions: 1) which player would I rather have on my team; 2) which player would make the most impact on my team?; and 3) which player will be the best player in 2009, specifically?
Also on the list are two former local stars — Champ Bailey of Georgia and the Denver Broncos at No. 32 and Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech and the Detroit Lions at No. 83.
The top-rated player is quarterback Peyton Manning of Indianapolis.
The five Falcons are running back Michael Turner (No. 38), quarterback Matt Ryan (43), tight end Tony Gonzalez (47), wide receiver Roddy White (56) and defensive end John Abraham (92).
Turner ranks fourth among running backs behind Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson and DeAngelo Williams. Interestingly, in Schrager’s comment on Turner, he points out that “The Burner” broke out of L.T.’s shadow and had a better season than his former teammate, but Tomlinson ranks higher than Turner.
Gonzalez is the top-rated tight end (Schrager thinks Tony G. “could be in for his best year yet.”). White ranks ninth among wide receivers (behind Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith of Carolina, Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin, Wes Welker and Terrell Owens). Ryan ranks 11th among quarterbacks (behind Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler).
Schrager said Ryan will not only avoid the “sophomore slump” but will exceed already high expectations this season. As for Abraham, Schrager calls him “one of the more under-appreciated players of his generation” and “the top defensive player for Mike Smith’s gangbusters Atlanta D.”
What do you think? Are those Falcons players ranked too low, or too high? Is any other Falcon worthy of the list? And how about this for a thought, which Falcons are ready for a breakthrough season in ‘09 that could catapult them into a list of the top players in the NFL?

20 comments Add your comment


June 11th, 2009
6:04 pm

ummmm…. who cares,,,,


June 11th, 2009
6:09 pm

I think Turner should be ranked higher than all the other RB’s with the exception of AP…and how is ELI MANNING even in the top 20 he’s garbage if that team had a decent QB they would be 14-2, 15-1 or 16-0 every year…


June 11th, 2009
6:34 pm

Roddy should be ranked higher, I would rather have him than TO or Moss at this point in their careers.


June 11th, 2009
7:18 pm

Alex, I agree. I’m a die hard Falcons season ticket holder and this was a waste of internet space. Let’s just get to Sept 13th and lets get going to the post season.


June 11th, 2009
7:23 pm

And I should care what Peter Schrager thinks because….?


June 11th, 2009
9:09 pm

Jcg: Eli Manning is a Super Bowl winning QB. That’s a credential most other active QBs don’t have.

BT: I agree. If Schrager indeed followed his formula instead of looking at stats I think he would’ve taken Roddy White. Granted, Roddy has only recently emerged as a top target and TO is second all time in TDs. But I’d also take the younger and better behaved White over TO.

I think Ryan should be higher. I think he’s better than Romo and Cutler, who are both underachievers in my opinion.

I’m happy we got Gonzales but at this stage in his career I’d prefer to have Antonio Gates.


June 12th, 2009
2:29 am

Just because Eli Manning was the starting QB on the Super Bowl Champs giants doesn’t give a reason for him to be on this list. ahead of Kurt Warner. If thats the case for him, none of the running backs should be in the tops. I think Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler are not better than Warner.

Dawg hatin' Jacket

June 12th, 2009
5:48 am

I’ll take Matt Ryan over Tony Romo, Carson Palmer, and Eli Manning any day.

Nat Turner

June 12th, 2009
8:00 am

I think Roddy is rated about right. I still think he drops too many catchable balls. Hopefully that won’t be the case this year.


June 12th, 2009
8:34 am

How is Jay Cutler ranked higher than Matty Ice? What has Cry Baby Cutler done in his career??


June 12th, 2009
8:54 am

I’m just ready for the season to start! Can’t wait! Lets go Falcons!!!!

Jeff P.

June 12th, 2009
9:08 am

Is our kicker on there? Never any love for the kicker.

David Wood

June 12th, 2009
10:00 am

With the exception of the second Carolina game, Turner rolled up his yards against bad teams, and disappeared against good ones. Let’s see him do it in a big game before we rank him so high.

jay black

June 12th, 2009
10:02 am

Michael Turner is better than DeAngelo Williams. Also Ryan, White, and Abraham should be higher.

jay black

June 12th, 2009
10:03 am

So should Calvin Johnson. And Deangelo Hall better not be on that list anywhere! (lol).

Greg from Marietta

June 12th, 2009
10:12 am

In a way I agree with Alex. These ranking are just one guy’s opinion and even though it may be considered flattery to be included on his list of 99 it doesn’t mean a thing. What really counts is the coming season and how the players perform on the football field (and off). It would have been more meaningful if he had just said that these are the guys that he sees as the 99 best players and listed them in alphabetical order and not tried to rank them.


June 12th, 2009
10:21 am


“Roddy should be ranked higher, I would rather have him than TO or Moss at this point in their careers.”

Do you realize what GARBAGE you just wrote? Do you need a psychological examination? TO and Randy Moss are LIGHTYEARS ahead of RW. As a matter of fact, Moss is the BEST receiver in the league RIGHT NOW.

If I had RM on my team in “crunch time”, I’ll bet everything that he would catch the ball in the end to seal the game–RW would CHOKE.

You must not follow or know anything about football–You probably only follow the Falcons….JEESE!


June 12th, 2009
3:00 pm

that list is a joke i can’t wait until this up coming season the Falcons might go 7-9 and that’s because the NFL is a watered down league ….anybody can come out of no where and go to the Super Bowl… what happened to the good ole days when you actually had a team to truely hate


June 12th, 2009
3:10 pm

As far as the Roddy White over Moss that’s just plain stupid. I told people a couple of years ago that Peyton Manning racking up video game #’s was a product of having at least 2 Hall of Fame quality receivers on his team I said that Brady would put up those #’s with Moss and look what happened.

plan c

June 13th, 2009
9:10 am

Roddy White is a good receiver, but that’s all. He will now catch his share of balls now that he has a QB that drops back and times the routes rather than run in circles and head for the sidelines. Notice how much better White is now that Vick is gone. Don’t compare White to Fitzgerald. He’s nowhere near the athlete. Go Falcons!!!