FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons have added two more stars to Pro Football Focus' list of the top 101 players from the 2017 season.
Recapping the 2017 season, PFF is counting down its list of the top 101 players based solely on their play during this season. They also make a point to say in their list of criteria that although quarterbacks are inherently the most valuable position in football, they are going with an "all positions are created equal mantra" and that they evaluate performance relative to what is expected at each player's position.
Center Alex Mack (No. 49) and linebacker Deion Jones (No. 35) – both named to the Pro Bowl this year – join defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (No. 84) and quarterback Matt Ryan (No. 58) as the Falcons to be named to PFF's list so far, which has revealed all but its top 25 players from 2017.
Alex Mack PFF RANK: 49
Mack has started every single game for the Falcons since signing with Atlanta as a free agent in 2016, including battling through a broken leg to play in the Super Bowl. He's been named to the Pro Bowl in each season and has continued to assert himself as one of the best centers in the NFL. Here is what PFF had to say about their selection of Mack, who is making his third appearance in their top 101:
"Over the past couple of seasons, a trio of centers has emerged in the NFL as the best at the position and since his move to the Atlanta Falcons, Alex Mack has been able to establish himself as one of that trio. Mack was one of the best run-blockers in the game this season at the heart of the Falcons rushing attack and allowed just 15 total pressures across the season."
Deion Jones PFF RANK: 35
Jones enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, his second in the NFL. The speedy middle linebacker was all over the field for the Falcons and came through with several big plays over the course of the year. Jones led the team in combined tackles for the second year in a row, racking up 138 stops, 10 tackles for a loss, nine passes defensed, three interceptions and one sack. Here is what PFF had to say about Jones' first appearance on their list:
"Continuing his form from his rookie season, Atlanta's Deion Jones has developed into arguably the game's best coverage linebacker. Jones had the best coverage grade among linebackers, and it showed up in all the biggest games of Atlanta's season with Jones making key plays to secure wins against division foes New Orleans and Carolina late in the year. Jones has outstanding athleticism and range but also instincts and the ability to play in space and lock down receivers like few linebackers can."
The final set of names will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 8.