Everyone knew a running back would come from somewhere to join the Falcons next season and while the name Steven Jackson was rumored to Atlanta softly as free agency began on Tuesday; it wasn't until he agreed to terms with the Falcons on Thursday afternoon that Jackson-to-Atlanta became a reality. With the Jackson addition, the Falcons offense becomes even more dangerous, returning all the key pieces from last year's top-10 offense.
Jackson is a known commodity and he brings his physical running style to Atlanta to pair up with third-year back Jacquizz Rodgers to create a Falcons backfield grown in the Pacific Northwest. Both Rodgers and Jackson played college ball at Oregon State and while Jackson bigger than Rodgers at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, they both have the ability to dual backs, catching and running out of the backfield.
During the past three seasons Jackson has averaged 42 catches and 345 receiving yards to go with all the running he does. In 2006, Jackson was the St. Louis offense, rushing for a career high 1,528 yards with 13 touchdowns and caught 90 passes for 806 yards and three touchdowns. His receiving totals led all NFL running backs and his 436 touches on offense that season ranks as the 11th-most in league history. Since he became the Rams' starter in '05 his 388 catches for 3,135 yards leads all NFL running backs. He's one of only 14 backs in league history to total 10,000 rushing yards and 3,000 receiving yards.
With Rodgers in the rotation, a back that caught 53 passes for 402 yards last season, Jackson will likely handle the role of runner in the offense, though their skill sets are similar and pose potential scheme troubles for opposing defenses. Jackson rushed for 1,042 yards and four TDs last year, giving him eight consecutive seasons with 1,000 rushing yards, the longest streak in the league and one of just six running backs in NFL history to accomplish at least eight straight seasons with those totals. Last season put Jackson over the 10,000-yard plateau in his career, just the 27th player in league history to do so.
The two-time All Pro leads the NFL in scrimmage yards (11,234) since 2005 and while he turns 30 just before training camp begins this year, According to stats tracked by ProFootballFocus.com. Jackson was one of ten running backs in the league last year to earn a positive grade in all four of their measurable categories: overall, running, receiving and blocking. His 693 yards after contact was ranked eighth in the league among running backs.