We are down to the top three in our countdown taking a look at the best players on the 2012 Atlanta Falcons roster. So far we’ve featured Tyson Clabo (#10), Michael Turner (#9), Asante Samuel (#8), Tony Gonzalez (#7), Brent Grimes (#6), Julio Jones (#5) and Sean Weatherspoon (#4). The next man on the list represents the present and the future of the Falcons defense.
Three Giants can’t keep Abraham off of Eli
The number three player on our list almost wasn’t a Falcon this year. John Abraham tested the free agent market but ultimately decide to come back to Atlanta. Abraham is a four-time pro bowler and a two time first-team all-pro. Over his career he’s amassed 112 career regular season sacks with 53.5 coming in his first six years with the Jets and 58.5 coming in his six years with the Falcons. Abraham is getting up there in years but it’s clear that he is still an elite pass rusher. Over the last two years he’s had 22.5 sacks and last year his 9.5 sacks ranked him 18th in the league and he also ranked 6th in the league with four forced fumbles. Here is what the guys had to say about the Predator:
Eric: The Falcons wouldn’t have re-signed him if they had anyone else who could rush the passer consistently…but they don’t. If John Abraham can turn the clock back 5-7 years, this will be a tremendous season. If he can’t, they’re likely facing the same problems with their ability to slow down passing attacks.
Joe: The Falcons’ lone legitimate pass rushing threat at defensive end. That fact alone puts Abraham on the list. Notwithstanding, Abraham, when healthy, is still a major threat and big-time playmaker for the Falcons. At this point in his career his game-changing consistency has fallen off, but he can still kill opponents’ drives.
Matt: Big Abe has been my favorite Falcon for years, and continues to show the ability to take over an entire game. Despite just turning 34, can still get to the quarterback far better than anyone on the roster, and remains the most important player on defense.
Mike: The predator is a double digit sack artist, he may be old, but he gets the job done.
Zach: Not only has Abe been a consistent pass rushing threat in his time in Atlanta he’s kept up his sack numbers even though he has gotten older. Right now if he plays the entire contract he signed he could finish with over 120 sacks, which are HOF numbers in my opinion.