The Associated Press released their 2016 All-Pro Team and included three key Atlanta Falcons players. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Vic Beasley Jr. made the cut this year, all due to their immense efforts on the field.
Vic Beasley Jr. was a sacking-machine this season, leading the league with 15.5, a stat that puts him second on the franchise’s single-season sack list. He sits one behind John Abraham, who set the record at 16.5 in 2008. Beasley Jr. also had 39 combined tackles on the year. The Falcons are by no means known for their defensive play, but Beasley Jr. helped ignite big plays by forcing fumbles (he had six) and putting consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Julio Jones continues to produce for the Atlanta Falcons. Performances like the one he had against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 were enough to earn him the All-Pro selection. In that game, Jones had 300 yards receiving on 12 receptions, nearly breaking the NFL single-game receiving record. He also closed the season with 1409 receiving yards. Jones may not have found the end zone much this season, but helped the offense move down the field quickly (and in style) earning him his second consecutive All-Pro selection.
Falcons’ fans will be happy to know that Matt Ryan made the cut, finally receiving some well-deserved recognition after a stellar 2016 season. Ryan’s name has been floating around the MVP discussion for some time now, but it isn't 100% clear who will take home that honor this season. It should come as no surprise that Ryan was given the All-Pro selection, and it bodes well for his MVP candidacy. On the season, he has thrown for just under 5000 yards and 38 touchdowns. What's even more remarkable is that Julio Jones, Ryan’s number one receiver, only accounts for 6 of them. Ryan also set a new NFL record, passing to 13 different receivers for touchdowns. His ability to get the ball into any of his receiver’s hands to make big plays, and lead the NFL’s highest-scoring offense is a feat that should be praised, as he is undeniably having the best season of his nine-year career.
It would not be surprising to see Matt Ryan walk away as the 2016 MVP, as the voters responsible for selecting the All-Pro team also vote on MVP, but that's a conversation for another day.