FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The NFL Network is currently unveiling its list of the top 100 players from the 2017 season – voted on by the players, themselves – and the first Falcons player was named in the countdown on Monday evening.
Running back Devonta Freeman appeared at No. 70 on the list, marking the third season in a row he's been named among the top 100 players in the NFL. Freeman was No. 41 in the 2017 list and No. 50 in 2016 – the countdowns are based on the season prior to their unveiling.
On the broadcast Monday night, Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels discussed Freeman's running style, comparing him to a popular video game character known for his speed. "He's like Sonic," Daniels said. "You ever play Sonic? I've played Sonic plenty of times. Maybe it's the dreads, maybe it's that his feet actually do the little circular motion as he's running. 'Where's Freeman? Oh, there he goes,' through a [tiny] gap. Super fast, super shifty. He definitely reminds me of Sonic."
Despite battling injuries in 2017, Freeman put that speed and agility to good use on the field. Freeman carried the ball 196 times for 865 yards and seven touchdowns while also catching 36 passes for 317 yards and another score. It marked the third straight season that Freeman eclipsed 1,000 total yards for the Falcons.
Freeman was the first Falcons player named in the countdown, but it's unlikely he'll be the last. The Falcons had four players make the top 100 last season, including Matt Ryan and Julio Jones who were inside the top 10. The NFL Network will continue unveiling 10 players on the list each Monday night at 8 p.m. ET over the coming weeks.