Sunday, April 10, 2016

Falcons 1st Round Selection Countdown

Site of the 2016 NFL Draft
NFL fans everywhere are counting down the days until the 2016 NFL Schedule is released and of course, the NFL Draft is around the corner as well. As for the state of our Atlanta Falcons, the team is preparing to bring the next key contributor for Dan Quinn's defense and to fill some other needs that our organization have on April 28th. Many NFL Draft experts and mock drafts are projecting the Falcons either to select a linebacker such as Darron Lee from Ohio State, or even an prospect to contribute to Atlanta's defensive line after finishing last in the NFL in sacks recorded with players such as Clemson's defensive end Shaq Lawson, and Sheldon Rankins from Louisville have all been linked as potential players to join the Atlanta Falcons.

Although some notable scouts are linking certain players to the Falcons, what do they really know about the team we love so much? As a Falcons fan, we don't receive the love or respect as most teams around the league from national outlets but that's the way the NFL works, it's a "What Have You Done Lately?" league. 

Vic Beasley- Atlanta's first round selection of the 2015 NFL Draft

As we are approaching the NFL Draft, I'll be discussing a player that the Falcons have drafted by using the days remaining until April 28th. As we continue our countdown, we'll view some of the players who contributed to the Falcons and some players we wish was never selected by our organization but it's always good to look back at history and we could learn a lesson from the past mistakes and also recognize some of the franchise greatest players.

Since there's 18 days left until the NFL Draft, let's view the best selection at #18 in Atlanta Falcons history: 

2002 NFL Draft: 1st Round, 18th Overall-- Running Back T.J. Duckett

Running Back T.J. Duckett #45 of the Atlanta Falcons carries the ball up the middle during the game against the Chicago Bears on September 15, 2002 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The Bears defeated the Falcons 14-13.

As a vital part of the "DVD" trio with Warrick Dunn, Michael Vick, and him (his last name is Duckett if you were looking for the last "D"), Duckett was the power back in the Falcons innovative rushing attack in the early 2000's. A fan-favorite and punishing runner in his own right, Duckett spent an memorable four seasons in Atlanta until he was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2006. Still, Duckett left a lasting legacy to Falcon fans for many years to come. 

Running back T.J. Duckett #45 of the Atlanta Falcons runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers during their NFL game on October 20, 2002 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 30-0. (Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images).

In 2002, he helped lead the Atlanta Falcons second in the league in rushing with more than 2,500 yards with Duckett providing 507 rushing yards on 130 carries. At 6'0, 257 pounds, he punished linebackers and defensive backs on the field and earned valuable playing time from head coach Dan Reeves as the triple-threat rushing attack began that season. Duckett's efforts also helped the Falcons become the first road team in NFL History to win a road playoff game at Lambeau Field 27-7 over the Green Bay Packers. The 2003 regular season was statistically Duckett's best year when he ran for a career-high 197 carries for 779 yards and 11 touchdowns. Although the Falcons went 5-11, Duckett was one of the few bright spots on the team. 

Running back T.J. Duckett #45 of the Atlanta Falcons scores a touchdown in front of safety Kelly Herndon #31 of the Denver Broncos in the second quarter on October 31, 2004 at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Falcons won the game 41-28.
In 2004, Duckett finished the season with 509 yards on 104 carries and 8 rushing touchdowns. One of the biggest moment in Duckett's career was contributing to a record breaking rushing performance in a Divisional Playoff game against the St. Louis Rams, where he scored a touchdown late in the game to help as the Falcons went on to win in dominant fashion 47-17 to advance to their second NFC Championship Game in team history. In the beginning of the 2005 season,  Duckett's production declined and the team had a disappointing 8-8 season. Duckett finished with 380 rushing yards on 121 carries with and scored eight touchdowns.

Running back T.J. Duckett #45 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the St. Louis Rams on September 21, 2008 at Qwest Field in Seattle Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Rams 37-13.
(Sept. 21, 2008 - Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)
 In the start of the 2006 season, Duckett was traded to the Washington Redskins and began to bounce around the league with numerous teams like the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions. No matter where Duckett went, he was always remembered by Falcons fans as the bruising back of the early 2000's that made the legendary trio of  D.V.D. so fun to watch.
Raekwon Gilbert (-@RxGilbert97)

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