Pro Football Focus recently released their list of the Top 100 players in the NFL for the 2019 season, and three Falcons made it.
Barely cracking the Top 100 is left-tackle Jake Mathews. Mathews has been a staple of the Falcons offensive line through the ups and the downs. He’s never been what I would call elite, but he’s consistently one of the top seven or eight tackles in football, which is still pretty damn good. On top of that, Mathews has started in every game except for one since being drafted in 2014 out of Texas A&M. The Falcons have made several unwise decisions as far as contract extensions go, putting them in an unfortunate situation this offseason and for many more to come, but locking up Mathews for five years was not among them.
Much higher on the list is Grady Jarret at #27. I’m glad there is at least one outlet that recognizes Jarrett’s greatness. Nobody is going to compare to the likes of Aaron Donald, but Jarret should be mentioned in the conversation for the second-best defensive tackle in the game, and that is right where PFF ranked him (Donald was the #1 DT and ranked #2 overall). Like Mathews, the Jarrett extension was necessary, and the Falcons are lucky to have got it done just before the deadline last offseason. If not, he would probably be looking at a contract north of $100 million this year.
No surprise — the highest-rated player on the Falcons was Julio Jones. Jones actually had a down year for his lofty standards, failing to catch for 1,400 yards for the first time since 2013 — when he played in five games. Still, there were only two receivers ranked ahead of him, and they both happen to play in the NFC South. Michael Thomas was ranked 8th, and Chris Godwin narrowly cracked the top-20, ranking 20th. Bias aside, nobody should be debating who the best receiver in the league is. The longevity of Julio Jones’ greatness is unmatched.