Getting ready to head out to Turner Field for the second game of the Braves-Phillies series. But first, a little something on the Falcons: They’re poised to break out.
Well, that’s sort of the sense you get after reading this story by NFL.com’s Pat Kirwan. He lists his t0p 20 players primed to have breakout seasons in 2010. So what’s so noteworthy about that? Just that three of the 20 players are on the Falcons’ roster.
Here are the three, followed by Kirwan’s analysis:
♦ Kroy Biermann, defensive end: “The 2008 fifth-round pick from Montana had five sacks a year ago and is capable of a 10-sack campaign with his nonstop motor. Is he headed for a career path like Kyle Vanden Bosch? Oh by the way, he can kickoff when need be.
♦ Thomas DeCoud, safety: “Had a conversation with DeCoud this week and this cool, calm athlete is ready for the big time. In 2009, his first season as a starter, he had 68 tackles, seven passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Still, he feels he has plenty of work to do.”
♦ Curtis Lofton, linebacker: “Curtis has probably been overlooked a bit. He had 94 tackles as a rookie and came back last season with 133. Ask anyone who follows the Falcons and they will tell you he’s already a star.”
All three players were in general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s first draft class in 2008: Lofton in the second round, DeCoud in the third and Biermann in the fifth.
Now, none of this guarantees anything. But I think it’s significant that 17 teams didn’t have even one player on the list — including the Falcons’ three NFC South Division brothers, New Orleans, Carolina and Tampa Bay — and only three other teams had as many as two (Arizona, Miami and Indianapolis). No other team had three.
Kirwan also has some credentials. He coached high school and college football. He was an NFL scout. So he’s not just some hack writing a blog like me. (Beat you to the punch, didn’t I?)
I agree with the three players Kirwan selected. Biermann especially doesn’t get talked about enough. He’s a guy who can really impact the pass rush. One other player that deserved consideration is wide receiver and punt returned Harry Douglas, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. Douglas was singled out by ESPN’s NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas as a potential key to the 2010 season, which was referenced here last week. For more on that, here’s the link.
So, does that make you feel a little better about the 2010 season?