To hopefully no one’s surprise, quarterback Matt Ryan is the Falcons top-ranked player. Click here to see how this ranking system was devised.
Total Score: 96
Player Grade: 87 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 27 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 27 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 32 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +5
Positional Bonus: +5
The main reason why Matt Ryan manages to top Julio Jones as the Falcons top player is because of the position he plays. The extra points he receives in this ranking system by playing quarterback is enough to top the young receiver as the Falcons top player.
Ryan recently got an extension, the size of that contract is indicative of his ranking. Ryan is not the best quarterback in the league, and probably never will be. But he’s just a notch below those that are, and is a player that I consider among the top tier of NFL quarterbacks. What puts Ryan on that tier is the fact that a team can build an offense entirely around him and be successful with that. There are only a handful of quarterbacks in the league that can be tasked with throwing the ball an excessive amount of times every Sunday, and still expect that team to be a playoff team by the end of the season.
That requires a great amount of skill, which Ryan put on full display in 2012. Ryan doesn’t have a strong arm relative to most starting NFL quarterbacks. There are probably only a handful of quarterbacks that have measurably weaker arms than him. But Ryan more than makes up for it with his ability to play the position from the neck up. He’s on par with elite quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in that regard, or perhaps a half-step below. But considering Ryan has played less than half as long as either of them indicates the special quality within Ryan that the Falcons just paid $103 million to retain.