And here we’d been thinking Thomas Dimitroff was the real brains in Flowery Branch. Silly us. According to Bill Barnwell of the Football Outsiders on ESPN.com, the Falcons own the NFL’s fourth-most indispensable player. (Link requires registration.) And now you’re thinking …
Dimitroff signee Michael Turner? No.
Dimitroff draftee Matt Ryan? Nope.
Color me surprised. I think of Roddy White as a fine wide receiver, but when I think of wideouts I think first of Larry Fitzgerald or Steve Smith or Randy Moss or even — pardon me for mentioning the name, lest ESPN the network do an hour-long special — Terrell Owens. But here’s Barnwell’s list of indispensables, and it’s an eye-opener:
Barnwell makes a compelling case: “No wideout played a bigger part in his team’s success than White. Matt Ryan threw 32.5 percent of his passes in 2008 to White, the highest such percentage for any receiver in football. (Carolina’s Steve Smith was second, at 29.5 percent.) The Falcons added Tony Gonzalez to help ease White’s load in 2009, but it’s not as if Gonzalez made the Kansas City offense go last year. If the Falcons lost White, the effects on their offense would be catastrophic.”
And who drafted White out of UAB in 2005 with the 27th pick in Round 1? Why, Rich McKay, who has since been kicked upstairs to the presidential suite. (The same Rich McKay drafted Jamaal Anderson with the eighth overall pick in 2007, and Anderson has amassed two sacks in two seasons. But I digress.)
So, all together now, let’s assign credit where it’s due: Roddy White is a really good ballplayer, and Rich McKay made a really shrewd pick.
And now you’re asking: Does this mean I’d rather have McKay doing my talent-spotting than Dimitroff? Uh, no.