It may seem ludicrous upon first glance to omit Matt Ryan, the reigning NFL MVP, from this list, but it’s Jones who operates as the engine of the Falcons’ offense. Arguably the NFL’s premier wide receiver, Jones will be counted upon again to elevate a team that’s surely reeling from its collapse in Super Bowl LI.
Jones must be accounted for at all times and his presence alone opens up opportunities for Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel to thrive in the open field. Boasting the ability to run past, around, or through cornerbacks, Jones is a unique weapon for the Falcons and is the piece that makes the rest of the system work.
Only a Super Bowl eludes Jones at this juncture of his career, and for the Falcons to capture their first title in franchise history, the superstar wideout will need to be at his best.
When star cornerback Desmond Trufant was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a shoulder ailment last year, Neal took on a larger role in the Falcons’ secondary, belying his rookie status. He’ll be 22 this season, and could take a major jump by developing into a Pro Bowl-caliber safety with an excellent rookie campaign under his belt.
He’s already one of the NFL’s most ferocious open-field hitters, as evidenced by this bone-crushing blow to Saints receiver Willie Snead …
— Rise Up Reader (@RiseUpReader) January 2, 2017